Plateaus. What are they and why do they happen?
If you have been on your fitness journey for some time, chances are you have experienced a plateau or two at some point or another. A plateau is a state of little or no change following a period of activity of progress. So why do they happen?
Yes, doing the same workout with the same exercises, repetitions, resistance, and rate will eventually result in becoming accustomed to that workout, and therefore not making any more advances, but there are other reasons that cause plateaus. Plateaus are a normal part of training, and it is how you react to them that matters.
The answer isn’t always lift more or more cardio. This approach can lead to overtraining, which often results in injury, fatigue, and de-motivation. To make sure your training produces results, check out these top tips;
- Firstly, make sure your training program is aligned with your fitness goals. If you’re looking to build up your strength, be sure your training focuses on that. There can be a downside to adding in days of cardio just because you think you need to. Considering asking an exercise professional to look over your training program or create one for you. Also, ensure you are tracking your workouts along the way. Remember, if you are not assessing, you are guessing.
- Pushing yourself to your max without fuelling correctly can cause you to plateau, or even go backwards with your progress. Insufficient fuel means not only are your muscles not getting enough energy to rebuild, but when you don’t eat enough your body will hold onto fat, or even regain fat in the effort to protect your heart and body organs. Reevaluate your nutrition plan and make sure it aligns with your training.
- Unfortunately, busy lifestyles all too often result in us reducing sleep to find more time. Remember, sleep is a necessity, not a luxury! Not getting at least 7 hours a night puts the body in a state of stress, which can cause belly fat gain. Sleep is also vital to allow your muscles to recover, so that they can grow and become stronger. Often, taking just a week off from exercise can help you to bust a plateau.
- We all know it’s good to drink water, and when you exercise you need more than the average person. The most common cause of failure during workouts is not being fully hydrated so be sure to hydrate before, during, and after training.