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When people first venture into working out and eating healthy, they often see its positive effects right away. But then, after some time of following a set regimen, their progress seems to flatline and come to a complete halt. Does this sound familiar to you?
You might be one of those health enthusiasts who are wondering why you have stopped seeing significant results even after you have properly executed all your go-to exercises and sticking to your healthy, low calorie meals.
Here’s the thing—you are not alone in this. It only means that you have hit a training plateau.
Hitting plateaus are a fairly common occurrence for people of all fitness levels. It happens when your body has already acclimated to exercise routines or eating habits you have adapted for a considerable amount of time. Workouts that used to challenge you become easier to complete. When this happens, you might stop seeing progress.
When you seem to have hit a wall during your training, do not lose the motivation. Plateaus are just a minor setback that could easily be remedied in a number of ways.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), those who are doing strength training should do between one to three sets of eight to twelve repetitions. You will notice that it gets easier as you press on. When that happens, ACSM recommends increasing the weight at five to ten percent and observing how many reps you can accomplish for the first two weeks. You can try doing 8 reps at first. When you get to 8 reps while doing the proper form, you can increase the reps to 10. When you get to the third and fourth week, the suggested increase in weight is 20 percent.
Another thing you can try as you progress with your weight training is to either add or subtract weight from workout to workout and adjusting your reps accordingly. For example, you can do 6 pounds with 10 reps for starters, and then try 3 pounds for 12 repetitions.
One of the most common culprits for hitting a training plateau is not knowing how to mix up your workouts. Eventually, as mentioned earlier, your body will adapt to the exercises you do consistently, so you must continuously vary your workouts.
Maybe you have been completely focused on weight training lately. You can mix it up with some other exercises to keep it interesting. Try enhancing your aerobic workout with an indoor rower to modify your routine. You can head over to Indoor Sport Services to check their top-of-the-line indoor rowers.
Seeing changes in your body requires that it be challenged at regular intervals. If you are following a cardio routine that goes on for ten to fifteen minutes, try cutting it to two to five minutes, but with higher intensity.
You can run on a treadmill for shorter bursts of time, instead of mindlessly walking with a slower pace while spacing out for 20 minutes straight.
Set objectives and align your workouts accordingly. Perhaps you are now able to run a 3k comfortably for 20 minutes. You can shoot for a shorter run time of 15 minutes, but do it slowly and surely. Also, it is absolutely vital that you set new goals once in a while to sustain your interest in staying fit.
Split your training to up to four parts, or “blocks.” Each part will be focused on different goals. For example, block one is all about building strength. Your second block is for endurance with cardiovascular exercises, and so on. Make sure that each block progressively builds into stages with varying volumes and intensities.
Doing this will also allow you to recover from workouts and help prevent injuries. Have a system for monitoring your progress so that you can reset your goals as necessary.
“Progressive overload” means you can gradually increase both the intensity as well as length of your routines when applicable. It could be through doing more repetitions, allotting shorter rest periods, or moving up to a higher weight category. This will ensure that your body is continuously challenged, so you could see results consistently.
Be mindful of what you are eating. Meal planning is a must to be able to track your food and nutrition intake. Sometimes, the food you consume could be the reason why you are not seeing the results you want. There are muscle building diets, and fat burning foods that will aid with weight loss. Moreover, you can prepare energy-packed meals to help you power through specific kinds of workouts.
Stay away from processed foods loaded with preservatives, and stick to nutritious, whole foods. Keep a food diary so you can have a better perspective on the way you eat, and how your overall diet affects your fitness goals.
It’s not just about putting in the work in “workout.” Achieving your fitness goals also requires that you get enough rest. Hormones that trigger hunger go haywire when you lack sleep, so make it a habit to meet between seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Good sleep also gives you the energy needed to perform your exercises correctly, so you can maximize its benefits.
Another reason for experiencing plateaus is pushing yourself a bit too much during training, which might break down your muscle tissue. Overtraining can cause uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, as well as joint pain. It can also increase your susceptibility to flu or colds.
There is definitely no shame in asking for help when you need it. You can benefit from hiring a professional trainer for just a set period so that you could gain new techniques and ideas that you could apply yourself when the sessions end.
Remember to be vigilant when it comes to the way you approach your workouts and diet. Observe how your body responds to the tweaks you make along the way to ensure that you are reaping the benefits of your efforts. Find physical activities that suit your lifestyle, and you enjoy doing so that you can sustain them.
If you are feeling a little stuck, maybe you can organize a fun, indoor workout activity with your friends to help jumpstart your fitness journey. See Indoor Sport Services’ diverse range of fitness equipment available for hire to help you make the most out of your workouts.