What exactly is a “Plateau”? We’ve heard it time and time again. “I think I’ve hit a plateau”.
Well a plateau is when the body stops responding to the fitness you are throwing at it. Your progress slows and you stop seeing results. That sucks right? So why does this happen?
There are a few things that could be going on. First one is no more adaptation. Adaptation happens when the body is under stress such as weight training or endurance training. In the beginning of one’s fitness journey it doesn’t take much stress to create adaptation. As we continue, it gets harder and harder to create enough stress on the system to continue this process because we are becoming faster, stronger, and more fit. Basically the body is used to the same old exercise.
Something else could be happening though. We could be slacking in other areas of health. Sleep, stress, and nutrition play a huge role in continued progress on our fitness journey. It is possible to be monsters in the gym but if we slack in these other areas, this would also bring progress to a halt. When we train we basically sustain micro injuries to the tissues and systems. Quality sleep, Stress management, and proper nutrition aid in recovery which in turn creates the adaptation we are looking for (becoming bigger, leaner, stronger, faster).
How to break through a “Plateau”?
- Change it up- I know change scares a lot of us. If you’ve been doing the same fitness routine for the last 6 months, year, or even 10 years, there probably isn’t much adaptation going on. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Oftentimes we see people mainly focus on strength and endurance. This is fine but there is actually much more to fitness. There are 10 elements of fitness. Strength, Endurance, Flexibility, Stamina, Power, Speed, Balance, Coordination, Accuracy, and agility. If you only focus on strength and endurance you are missing out on 8 very crucial pieces of fitness that could catapult you right through a “plateau. If you are thinking of changing things up, make sure you do your research. Obviously we want you to be safe and avoid injury. If you aren’t sure how to go about doing this safely, get some help. After that very first workout of adding in some different elements you will see and feel the effects real quick. Usually a totally different soreness comes about after you switch things up.
- Focus on recovery- Pay close attention to how much sleep you are getting. We usually need 7-8 QUALITY hours of sleep to recover properly. Harder you train, the more sleep you need. Try to minimize stress. Yes we know this is easier said than done. Try to only focus on the things you can control. There is so much out of our control these days. We may not like it but if we can’t control it, why worry about it. Dial in on that nutrition. Are you eating enough? Are you eating too much? Calories are for weight loss, Macros (proteins, fats, carbs) are for body composition. Eat real food. Meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, no sugar, and little strach (potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats).
If you aren’t sure how to go about doing either of these, invest in someone that does. It will be worth it. Otherwise if you staying stuck in the plateau is basically wasting time and money.
Best of luck to you. Keep grinding, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes.