Have you been working your ass off just to find your progress hit a wall? Despite your best efforts, are you struggling to improve? You can't seem to run faster, lift heavier and workouts feel harder?
You, my friend, have hit a plateau.
This is common but it can be avoided with a structured training plan!
Follow these 6 tips to help you avoid a future plateau.
1. Mix up your training.
Spice up your workouts every 3-5 weeks. Bounce from functional training to body building to allow your muscles to adapt but change frequently enough to avoid a burnout.
Master your form first, then manipulate loading scheme for more intensity. After 3-5 weeks, change the routine.
By keeping workouts new and fresh you'll find your conditioning will improve, endurance will increase and you'll become stronger week after week.
2. Focus on improving small things individually rather than all things at once.
Are you trying to improve your running speed, muscular strength, aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, muscle size, etc? It is too physically demanding to progress each skill at once.
Strategize your training by breaking up goals and targeting just one at a time.
3. Re-evaluate your goals with each phase of change (3-5 weeks).
With the start of each new training phase, consider where you started and how far you've come. What pivots should you make in order to get you where you want to be?
Making SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) will keep you on the right path and re-evaluating those goals regularly will keep you accountable.
4. Food check! Does your diet support your fitness goals?
Are you trying to lose weight? Gain muscle? Maintain?
If you want to build muscle or get stronger you'll have to eat! It's your fuel after all. You can't perform at 100% effort if you deplete your body.
Like any machine, you can't expect it to work well without the right tools and maintenance.
On the other hand, if your goal is to lose weight, starving yourself is NOT the answer. For example, having intense workouts on 500 calories a day, will only damage your body - mentally and physically.
Body Fat Percentage (BFP) for a strong, well toned man and woman is roughly:
Men: 10 -16%
Women: 17 - 23%
5. Maybe you’ve hit a plateau in the weight room. Can't seem to increase your weight for squats or chest press?
Work on strengthening stabilizer muscles and be blown away at how much stronger you'll become.
Strong stabilizing muscles leads to proper posture and alignment, which means decreased pain and risk of injury, which allows you to lift heavier safely.
Never jump right into a workout cold. Warm-up by activating your stabilizing muscles, focus on form, and ease into it.
Warm-ups will save you from injury and set you up for a successful workout.
Stretch before a lift, roll out your hips, spine and loosen up tight joints before picking up weights. Try resistance band activation exercises to “wake up” major muscle groups.
I guarantee you will notice increased range of motion and better form.
6. Train hard, recover harder.
Rest days are crucial to avoid a plateau. Schedule them into your workout routine BEFORE you experience a physical and mental burnout.
Overtraining your body without proper rest, is not sustainable and actually damages the muscles, stopping them from becoming stronger.
Remember, quality workouts are far better than quantity of hours spent in the gym.
Rest is key!
Avoid a fitness plateau with these 6 simple tips.
Watch your goals become more achievable and if you need more guidance, explore services at alygrayfitness.com to feel more confident in your training routine.