Since the age of eighteen I have always been into my fitness and wellbeing and over the years I have experienced one or two ‘plateau’ moments within my fitness regimes. At times, even when my training had not changed at all, I stopped getting fitter and leaner and could no longer see progression. Immediately I knew I’d reached a ‘plateau’.
Everyone who trains will come across a training ‘plateau’ at some point. These can happen for a variety of reasons such as failing to carry out the programme that has been set to you, by a well-respected PT. If you are setting your own training goals and fail to change your exercise programme, or the training variables at the right time, you will stop seeing results. You need to keep your body, a machine that is extremely complex and highly adaptive, guessing all the time. A good rule of thumb, I have as a PT, is not to stick to the same programme and to change it up every 3-6 weeks.
So when you stop seeing results, what can you do to reset your fitness?
Below are a few ideas to get you started, as it can be a very frustrating time when you are on a mission to get fitter. Try to incorporate the following:
- Increase the intensity of your training regime
- Change the order of your exercises
- Create more time for ‘rest’. Rest days are vital for progression
- Enhance your nutrition – research what would be better for you to eat to stop the ‘plateau’ occurring due to a dietary failing.
If you have tried all the above and you’ve still not made any progress in the gym for a week or more and you’ve been getting enough sleep for you, eating correctly, applying progressive overload principles to your training and keeping it consistent, then you have definitely hit a workout plateau. In this instance, many gym junkies would try to rectify it by decreasing their calories, cutting out carbs, increasing their cardio or simply by choosing to ‘give up’.
When I have hit workout ‘plateau’ in the past, it was important that I did not do those things but instead, after following the bullet points above and getting no response, I would then choose to manipulate my rep range, rotate the exercises in my plan and to use micro loading (this allows for a smoother progression, but it is still enough to apply progressive overload to stimulate both strength and muscle gains). On any fitness Journey, workout plateaus are to be expected, so please try all my tactics mentioned above to help your body to restart building strength and muscle again.