Training Plateaus and How to Break Through Them
Everyone experiences a plateau at some point in their lives. Reaching a plateau usually comes from doing the same thing over a long period of time. This can apply to nutrition habits and workout routines. Changing up the routine is the key to keep good progress moving forward.
Bad nutrition habits can be tough to change, and once that change does happen, seeing a plateau can be daunting on the mindset. The mind must stay strong, as all change begins there. Changing nutrition plans can be relatively simple. Using different seasonings is one way to bring some life into a stale nutrition program, along with changing up how things are prepared. For example, if chicken is a staple in the diet and is usually prepared by pan searing it, try baking or boiling it for a change. Crock pots can also be your best friend, as they make meats deliciously tender. Also, try different combinations with food. Instead of eating turkey with some sides, try preparing some turkey chili that has a concoction of your favorite vegetables and brown rice. You can continue to eat the good quality lean meats that you always have, just switch up the way it’s prepared and it will taste quite different! Keep it simple, move forward, see what you like, and switch it up as you need to so that you can stay on track. Also, once goals have been met, you may need to reevaluate the amounts of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) you are taking in. As you get leaner and put on more muscle mass, your metabolism will rise. If you’ve made good progress in the past and it has stopped coming, you may need to eat more in order to keep up with your metabolism. Be careful not to eat too little as your body can go into starvation mode and keep unwanted fat on the body. This could be what is causing the plateau as you progress toward your goals.
The workout plan may also be the reason for a plateau. As you work out consistently, your body will adapt to the routine. If the same routine is being followed for an extended period of time, then little to no results will come. This is the basis behind muscle confusion. Try to switch up the workout routine every four to six weeks so that you can keep your body adapting. Once you find that workouts are getting easier and you’re getting minimal soreness to none, then it may be time to change it up. What’s nice about changing up workout plans is that there are so many ways to do it. You can change the split, for example if you were doing three full body workouts per week, try switching to an upper and lower split two times per week. This way will provide new workouts in different order which will provide something new for the body to adapt to, and more work will be done since you are now working out four times per week instead of three. You can also keep the split the same and change the exercises and rep ranges. For example, the rep range for hypertrophy is 8-12 reps. If you were doing 12 reps each time, try going heavier and aim for only 8-10 reps when you change up your routine. New weight, more frequency, and different rep ranges are all great ways to switch up a routine that has started to reap little benefits. You want the body to fully adapt before changing up the routine, and this usually takes four to six weeks to happen. Be consistent with the workouts, adapt to them, and then change them up so that the body can continue to adapt and grow.
Break through plateaus by switching up the routine. Change is very good for the body as long as it has enough time to adapt in between the changes. Changing nutrition habits and keeping up with the body as it grows will ensure that you are reaping the most benefits possible out of your program. Changing the workout routine will help the body grow without a doubt. Keep changing it up, adapt, and maintain your progress for the long term. Happy Goal Reaching!
Jerome is a leading success coach and personal trainer at Horizon Personal Training in CT. He has helped 100’s of people become inspired to transform their lives! Jerome is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and is on track to graduate from CCSU majoring in exercise science in only 1 more semester. To learn more about Jerome, please go to www.horizonpersonaltraining.com