Breaking the Fitness plateau
Ever got that feeling that you have hit a wall in your fitness journey where you are no longer seeing progress like you did a first? Well, it is totally normal and it is referred to as a fitness plateau. Fitness plateaus occur when our bodies adjust to the demands of our workouts. You will start to feel bored and unmotivated. But don't stress - Getting to that fitness plateau means that you have made progress, yay! Since you are probably working toward a goal whether it is weight-loss or toning, a fitness plateau can leave you feeling stuck, and we understand that. The important thing to remember here is that fitness plateaus are our bodies telling us to "kick it up a notch" or "switch things up".
Remember - Just because a workout is starting to become easier and easier for you to do, this does not necessarily mean that you have hit a fitness plateau even if it feels that way. When we start a new form of training, it can take up to eight weeks for our brains and bodies to adapt and learn to complete these routines efficiently. When these neural connections have adapted you will feel like your workouts have become a lot easier. It is not always the case that you have hit a workout plateau as you can still build more muscles and improve your endurance.
Why does this happen?
When you first start getting active and working out, especially if you haven’t been active in a long while or maybe you even just started getting into exercising, you will probably start seeing results very early. However, as time goes by and you have been working out for a while, the results may become a lot less obvious. Many of our clients have experienced this. This is because people don’t always know exactly how to adapt or adjust their exercise routine.
It is a very normal occurrence to fall in a comfort zone with your current fitness plan when it is part of your daily routine. Our bodies are extremely resilient when it comes to the demands we set during a workout and it will automatically adapt over time and you will notice a sudden plateau, even if you are doing everything right. Other overlooked factors for a fitness plateau can include not getting enough sleep, unhealthy living, alcohol and neglecting to drink water.
How can I overcome a fitness plateau?
1. Talk to your trainer
Luckily, your trainer at Fitness Fables has dealt with their fair share of fitness plateaus in clients and know exactly what to do. Although there are many things you can do to overcome it, your trainer knows best. They know what your ultimate fitness goals are, and will be able to give you an accurate and effective solution.
2. Make small changes
The best way to prevent a plateau is to make small changes to your workout routine. Don't wait until you feel like you have hit al wall, start making changes as soon as 4 - 6 weeks into your workout. Small changes can include increasing your workout intensity, the number of reps, weight, sessions and frequency. For example, if you were doing 25 squats, do 30. Or if you were using 5kg weights, start using 6kg weights. Small changes like these are crucial in any workout and can just help you prevent that dreaded plateau.
3. Be content
We get it, once you have tasted the sweetness of amazing results, all you want to do is get more and more results. However, sometimes it is okay to hit a plateau. It might just be that your current workout routine is all you have time for and switching it up is not an option. In this case, we say: " Chill out". Contentment is a great asset in fitness plateaus and will help you maintain what you already have, which is great.
4. Track your progress
To prevent a plateau from sneaking up on you, we recommend tracking your fitness journey. Many people enjoy the luxury of using their smart-watches to track their progress, however, there are many other ways you can record your workouts. You can record each workout including reps done, weights used etc. on your phone after your workout. Another great way is to take progress photos each week to see if you can notice a difference. Finally, you can ask your trainer to assist you in taking a timed fitness challenge every other week, this way you will be able to accurately measure whether you have improved or are about to hit a plateau.
5. Focus on your diet
This one is known as the longest-standing fact in fitness - You are what you eat. Nutrition plays a major role in our fitness and progress. It is highly unlikely that a personal trainer will not accompany your new fitness plan with a diet/meal plan. Making sure you consume the right foods that complement your fitness plan is one of the most important factors when it comes to reaching your goal. Another major factor is drinking enough water. When it comes to performance and recovery before and after a workout, you need to make sure you stay completely hydrated throughout. Even if you are experiencing mild dehydration, it will most definitely affect your motivation and overall mood. If you have ever felt that thirsty feeling in the middle of your workout, it means that you are already dehydrated and you need to focus on drinking a lot more water.
The bottom line is: Fitness plateaus occur when your body gets the same exercise over and over. It might have been challenging at first, but now you have built strength and your body has become more comfortable with what you demand. If you want to stay in the plateau, good for you! Maintaining strength and being content with your fitness journey is a great place to be. But if you want to get out of it, then you need to get out of your comfort zone. Look at your fitness plateaus as opportunities to push yourself further and challenge yourself more!
So, what are you waiting for? Talk to your trainer about your concerns and get busy crushing your goals!