Plateaus can be frustrating. You are working hard for a few weeks or months, the results stall, and you don’t know why. Several factors may contribute to a workout plateau, and here are five ways to overcome them.
What is a Workout Plateau?
A plateau is when your body gets used to the stress you put it through with physical activity. A plateau can happen to anyone regardless of experience. When we exercise, the goal is to push our body outside of its comfort zone. Therefore, you see changes. However, your body is always trying to get back to a state of steadiness, so during a plateau, your body has adapted to the workout.
How to Know When You Hit a Plateau
You know you’ve hit a plateau when you don’t feel fully into the workout and are just going through the motions. In addition, use the sense of a plateau to tell you when you’ve made progress. Now it’s time to change the goal post. See below for tips on how to push past your plateau.
1. Change Your Routine
If you do the same thing day in and day out, your body will no longer produce changes. One study showed that varying a routine was more effective in seeing results in strength than doing the same thing repeatedly. Try adding a different exercise mode to your activity that keeps your body guessing. For example, someone who only does weight training may want to add a yoga day to recruit different muscle groups. In addition, if you are someone who does long-distance running, add in weight training to help improve your endurance.
2. Increase the Intensity
Make your workouts more challenging. Your body is always trying to return to a state of homeostasis, so when we exercise, the body wants to acclimate to that activity. If you do not see results, up the intensity of your workouts. This can include increasing the weight you use, moving from steady-state cardio to high-intensity interval training, or setting a new time goal for a run. Whatever you have to do (safely) to get out of your comfort zone, do it!
3. Change Your Workout Order
Along with intensity, change the order of the exercises or workouts you do. It’s easy to get into a weekly routine that you feel comfortable with. It might be easy for you to comply with, but eventually, you may stop seeing results. For example, you may start your week with leg day and end it with back day. Switch the order of your routine. Change the focus into cycles. You might do a strength focus for eight weeks, then switch to an endurance focus.
4. Check Your Nutrition
Nutrition is a primary factor for stalled results. Whether you want to get stronger, gain, or lose weight, you need the proper nutrition. Properly fuel before and after a workout for the best results. In addition, you could be following the plan perfectly, and your body becomes accustomed to your diet. Have a professional go over your eating goals to ensure you are doing everything you need to be successful. You can even register for low-cost nutrition guidance apps that help you eat for your goals.
5. Get More Rest
We often overlook how vital rest is for our workout needs. Plateaus may result from overtraining, and our body needs a break. Taking a week off may be everything you need to get back on track. In contrast, make sure you are receiving adequate amounts of sleep. When we sleep enough hours, it gives our bodies the reset it requires from the day. This will help us reduce stress from sleep deprivation and therefore help us improve in our workouts.