All the gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts could at least agree conjointly that there undeniably comes a phase in an individual fitness journey, where nothing works and no progress could be felt despite doing all the right things. Tune in and find your way out of this loop-hole.
What is a Fitness Plateau?
A fitness plateau is a phase in a respective fitness journey where one is unable to see any kind of positive/desirable results despite doing all the things right. For example, there is a woman who is exercising as recommended by her trainer, eating healthy food as prescribed by her dietician, in short, doing all the things right but still seem to hit an edge or a plateau. It has been months and she seems to lose confidence and self-esteem.
Well, hitting a plateau is a kind of a sign so instead of considering it as a red alarm one needs to understand the reason behind that. We usually hit fitness plateaus when our body gets accustomed to a certain workout or diet plan. Have you heard of the term drug tolerance? Well, it is a medical term and it is used when someone keeps taking the same drug (by drug I mean any medicine, not marijuana), in the same dose, for an extended period. Well, the constant use of drugs gets the body accustomed to its exposure and finally, the effect of the drug reduces or we can say we hit a drug plateau. So, what is the solution for a drug plateau? Well, medical professionals either increase the dose of the drug or change the drug entirely. Similarly, here is what we can do to overcome a fitness plateau. We can either increase the intensity of the workouts or switch our diets.
Ways to Break the Plateau:
Here are some scientifically-acclaimed ways to break a fitness plateau:
1) Re-Determine your Goals:
Whether you’ve hit a weight loss plateau or a workout one, to break the plateau, you need to re-furnish your goals. You have most likely hit the plateau because of losing track of the earlier goal. Maybe, your body has gone accustomed to the previous workout or diet plan so switching paths could be your way of breaking this horrid fitness plateau. No matter what is your reason for hitting a fitness plateau, a little change of track could never hurt.
2) Increase Intensity or Frequency of your Exercise:
As I said above; when your body gets accustomed to a certain dose or intensity, the only way out is by enhancing the intensity or frequency of that specific workout. Let me highlight the difference between the workout intensity and frequency. Intensity refers to the difficulty level of a workout while frequency refers to how often we perform something. For example, A guy is said to do five pushups on day one of his training, 10 pushups on day two of his training, then 15, 20, 25, and so on. So, here we are increasing the frequency of the pushups. Similarly, if we first say a guy to benchpress while wearing a 2lb bag and then a bag weighing 4lbs, so here we are increasing the intensity of the workout. So by increasing the frequency and intensity of an exercise, a workout plateau could be shattered.
3) Add Protein to your Diet:
We hit a weight loss plateau when we aren’t able to lose weight despite doing it all right. One valid reason for a weight loss plateau could be decreased metabolic rate. Metabolism is the process of breaking down food to provide energy and carry out all bodily functions (including fat burning). So if due to some reason your metabolic rate has decreased or ceased, a weight loss plateau is supposed to hit. One way to handle this situation could be adequate consumption of protein. Protein increases metabolism more than any other macromolecule. Start your day with an egg and start consuming healthy proteins to break off this horrid weight plateau.
4) Add a De-load Week into your Routine:
A de-load week is a week in which you train lighter and let your body reset so that you can put a stop to the workout plateau and get your usual progress back. Sometimes, loosening up a bit is the answer. Pulling yourself further sure is what gets you results but to undo a workout plateau, one needs to step back and give one body some space. Don’t stop training, just tone down the intensity or frequency of your daily workout for a week, every 12 weeks.
5) Have a Re-Feed Day Once a Month:
The process of fat burning requires several hormones and metabolic enzymes. These hormones are synthesized from the carbs and fats we consume. However, when someone cuts down on carbs and fats, over a period of weeks and months it gets hard for the body to carry out essential functions that were previously performed with the help of those hormones. Hence, it is important to have a cheat day, once in a while to replenish the hormones. On your cheat day you want to make sure that you are NOT in a calorie deficit. In order for your body to reset and hormone levels to optimize you must eat around or above maintainance calories. Make sure you include some high-carb and high-fat food on your cheat day. This cheat day would help break off your weight loss plateau and get you back on track.
Whenever our body stops responding to some external stimulus it is probably a sign. Keenly hear out all those signs and take action to sort stuff out. A healthy diet and exercise should be complemented with a positive attitude. Positivity and success go hand in hand. So, stay positive and keep working on yourself for yourself.