Have You Stopped Seeing Results? Here’s What To Do When you Hit a Fitness Plateau
Bodies are amazingly good at resisting change. That’s why we often see a fitness plateau. You lose all this weight and fat when you first start a fitness routine. Or maybe you gain muscle and strength. And then suddenly, it stops.
If you are into physics, you know that bodies at rest like to stay at rest, and bodies in motion like to stay in motion. The same is true for human bodies. Your body adjusts to the new exercise you are doing, and soon enough your metabolism returns to the baseline your body is used to.
How Can You Tell If You’ve Hit a Fitness Plateau?
It’s easy to tell if you’ve hit a plateau. You stop seeing results. No matter what your goals are. Plus the exercise you once struggled with now suddenly seems easy. Seriously. Running a mile or doing 20 push-ups doesn’t seem as hard as it once did.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight, shave inches, change your shape, lift more weight, or add muscle. Your body adjusts to your routine and it stops changing.
What Can You Do To Get Out of a Rut?
From a fitness perspective, you have to shake things up. You also have to be sure you have the other important components of your health and fitness dialed in.
Here are our best fitness plateau-busting secrets:
Get enough calories
This can be especially tough for women. At the start of a new fitness regimen, women often work out a ton, but they don’t eat nearly enough. This causes their bodies go into starvation mode to conserve energy. Which means not losing weight. It can also cause you to lose muscle mass, which you definitely don’t want. The whole point is to build muscle and lose fat.
Plus, if you’re trying to build muscle, you’re out of luck if you don’t get enough protein and other nutrients. Muscle is what burns calories, anyway, so eating enough to build muscle puts you on the right track to up your fitness level and lose the right kind of weight.
Don’t skip meals
Counterintuitive, right? But if you skip meals, your body increases stress hormones, which slows metabolism to conserve calories. Evolution made the rules, and this was our way of surviving famine. With regular meals, your body knows it can count on food at predictable intervals, so it can increase your metabolism and let go of that extra fat.
Get enough sleep
Almost everyone knows this and barely anyone actually does it. Our bodies need sleep like they need oxygen. Getting enough zzzz’s helps your immune system plus it helps with concentration and mood.
The opposite is true, too. Low sleep leads to all sorts of bad health outcomes, including heart disease and stroke. Plus without enough sleep, you don’t get enough recovery time to build and repair muscles.
Low sleep messes with your fitness routine, too. When you are starved for sleep, you add stress chemicals to your body, which slows your metabolism, wasting all that effort you put in at the gym. It also messes up your fitness routine, because you don’t have the energy to kick ass during your workout.
Yes, here’s where giving 110% comes in. If running a mile is easy, run a mile and a half, to beat that fitness plateau. If you’re aiming for 10 pull-ups, do 14. People tend to want to quit, but going until you can’t any more is the secret to staying out of a rut. Add a little bit more each week, don’t just get used to your routine and stop. If you need help or motivation, check in with a buddy or spouse. A personal trainer can help, too.
Track Your Progress
Write down your reps and your progress. Keep a food diary, so you know what you consume. Weigh and measure yourself, check your body fat, and take photos every couple of weeks. That way you can track, you don’t have to remember, and you can’t cheat … (like you’ll know when it’s time to up your reps.)
Remember, when you keep upping the ante, it helps avoid hitting a fitness plateau.
Change Up Your Workout
If you are in a rut, change up your routine. Move from aerobic exercise to strength training to building endurance. Keep your body guessing and changing so it doesn’t get too used to any one exercise. Check out our Regymen classes, too. It’s a special series designed to change up your routine in a class setting so you keep seeing results without having to do it yourself or work with a trainer. Although that can be a huge help, too.
Notice and celebrate those successes! That’s how you stay motivated and ahead of the fitness plateau. Plus who would argue with a little pedicure or spa date from time to time? We all deserve treats, especially when we are working hard to get fit, lose weight, and improve our health and wellness!