Plateau Busters

Plateau Busters

Plateauing is one of the most discouraging things that can happen when you are trying to improve your physique. The feeling of pushing to get better but not getting anywhere can be a huge confidence kicker. When you have hit a period where you are not improving at all it is important to do two things: 1) Evaluate yourself honestly. Look at everything from daily habits, training regime, diet, etc. If you are plateauing then you will need to change something that you are doing. 2) DO NOT GIVE UP! That is the worst thing that you could possibly do and should not even be a distant thought. Here are some things that cause people to plateau and how you can get over them:

 

Workouts are Lacking Effort

Although you are showing up and doing your full workout you may not be putting your full effort into them. How can you expect to get to the next level if you do not push to do so? There are a couple factors that could be influencing this lack of motivation. These include: the time of day that you workout. Working out at times when you are exhausted will result in you not putting your full effort into your workout. Another factor is that you may be bored of your routine. A routine that does not excite you will not motivate you to workout. With the absence of this excitement will cause your efforts in your workout to fade as well.

 

How to counter this:

  • If you try to workout after an exhausting and stressful day of work you are not going to get the most out of your workout. Instead try working out in the mornings or at another time that you will have more energy.
  • A workout buddy will help to motivate you to work harder during your workouts. As I have said in the post “Gym Buddies” having someone workout with you will be more enjoyable and will help you to give it your all in your workout.
  • Change the gym you go to. You may be sick of the same atmosphere, machines and people. Attending a new gym brings with it a new scenery, people and workout equipment. This will help to break you out of your gym boredom and get you motivated to power through your workout.
  • Remember why you started! Sleep walking through your workouts will not help you reach your goals. You started for a reason keep that reason in mind and workout like you mean it!

 

Not Changing your Routine

When you workout you are creating tiny tears in your muscles. During rest the body naturally repairs these tears in the muscles and makes them stronger to adapt to the workload that you are putting your muscles under. When you consistently do the same workout routine your muscles will have adapted to this workload and it will no longer challenge them, nor will it cause these tears. Without these tears, your muscles will not build at the same rate as they did. In order to build your muscles at a faster rate you must change your workout routine once in a while so that your muscles are forced to adapt to this new workload that you are putting them under.

 

How to counter this:

  • Change the speed that you are performing your reps. Slowing down or speeding up your reps engages your muscles in different ways than if you were to perform the exercise at a comfortable speed. Slow reps (IE 3 seconds up and three seconds down) create more blood flow and tension in your muscles thus allowing for growth. Fast reps (IE less than one second on the way up) activate your fast twitch muscle fibers, which produce the greatest muscle force and have the most potential for growth.
  • Get a personal trainer. A personal trainer will most likely know more about this subject than you and will thus help you to get out of this rut more effectively than you could on your own.

 

Overtraining

It is possible that by going at your workouts too hard and too often you could end up with the opposite of the results that you wanted. Overtraining occurs when you put your body through too many stressful workouts without giving yourself ample time to recover. During recovery time your body is repairing the micro tears in your muscles to make them stronger. Without this rest period your body will not be able to repair your muscles and thus your muscles will not get any stronger. Overtraining can lead to many other negative side effects such as injury, inability to sleep and a lack of motivation.

How to counter this:

  • Take rest days
  • Be aware of the signs of overtraining
  • If you feel injured (sore joints, sore knees, or other stinging pains that are not soreness) then take the day off

 

Diet

You are what you eat. Your diet plays a large part in the development of your physique. If you are not getting the nutrients that your body requires then your muscles will stay stagnant or even worse, regress. Having a balanced diet plays an integral part in looking and feeling strong and energized.

How to counter this:

  • Eat more natural foods, IE fruits and vegetables. Fruits and Vegetables are packed with nutrients and are low calories. They are an essential part of helping you hit your fitness goals. As the godfather of fitness Jack LaLanne used to say “If man made it, don’t eat it”. Think about this before you eating something. The more natural it is the better it is.
  • Avoid eating out. Restaurants want their food to taste good and in order to do that they are going to sacrifice health. Salt, sugar, and oil can easily turn any healthy food item into junk food so that it tastes good.

 

If you feel like you have plateaued then reevaluate these aspects and see where you could make changes for the better. Remember that training smarter is always better than simply training harder. Next workout use these tips to be the best version of you!