Fitmark Ambassador Jennifer Robinson explains how to overcome the challenging plateaus we all encounter
With the New Year fitness craze almost behind us and in most of the country the cold cold winter weather is setting in, we may find it a bit harder and harder to get to the gym. Also, aside from that, we may be entering a stage in which there is no weight change and no strength gains. What do you do? First, analyze your workouts. Determine if you are training with the same loads that you were performing back when you were seeing results. You can change the number of sets or reps or even both sets and reps, but the load determines the overall work effort put forth in a particular exercise.
Secondly, review the rest of the activities in your day. Have you changed your nutrition intakes? Work/school/family stress level increase lately? Are you getting adequate sleep?
If you review these topics and determine that your workload has maintained the same and no other major issues have arisen in your life then you have come to a stand still in working towards your goals. You are at a plateau.
A plateau is a point in time in which your training does not continue to produce results. Your body has become accustomed to the training level that you are doing and by continuing to repeat the same program no longer achieve progress.
After recognizing you have reached a plateau to get back on track to achieving your fitness goals the first thing to do is to keep calm and not give up! In review, it may feel like you have been banging your head against a wall but taking actions to overcome your plateau will not only push you to closer to your goals but also introduce you to new training techniques!
Analyze your current training program by writing it down, if you aren’t already, record your cardio and weight training sessions. After a consistent week of training to review, determine new techniques to push harder to surpass your previous training loads.
Some variations for cardio can be: HIIT sessions, outdoor training on real terrain, track/stadium workouts, sprints, Plyometrics, switch up the cardio equipment, Group exercise class such as spin.
Some variation for weight training sessions: Supersets, drop sets, pyramid sets, staggered sets, century sets, or change up your training split.
For the overall program, you can switch training from the morning hours to the evening, or evening to the morning. Winter months have shorter daylight hours as well as lower temperatures which can affect your mood and motivation. You can also switch your cardio from the beginning of your session to the end or vice versa.
Another idea would be to pick up a new form of training such as Judo/Jiu Jitsu, Crossfit, or distance running.
To overcome a plateau change is needed, but overall, change will continue to be a necessity in order to stay on the progress track to succeeding your fitness goals!
Most importantly, stay in the game, recognize the plateau and embrace the chance to switch things up and keep it fresh, exciting, and interesting. After all, it’s fitness and it’s your life!
Fitmark Ambassador 2013
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