Do you ever fear the ugly “P” word when it comes to your fitness and nutrition? I’m talking about a plateau. It’s that moment when you’re still working your butt off (as you did on day #1) but seeing no results. It’s being pumped up over a huge weight loss or muscle gain only to be let down with NO further progress! What gives?? Here’s what you need to know about plateaus and how to get that momentum back up again.
What causes a plateau?
Plateaus happen when your routine is well, too routine. Your body needs to see a change in order for progress to happen. So when you do a particular workout or are eating the same healthy foods day in and day out, your body adapts to it. You may see progress at first but without change, progress could disappear. What you need is simply a change. Every 4-6 weeks mix it up a little! And be sure to add in some smaller changes every week. This could be increasing your weights or pushing yourself a little longer in your workouts.
Are you in a plateau?
Sometimes a plateau could be confused with slipping up on your healthy lifestyle. Here are the three things you need to start TRACKING to see if you’ve hit a plateau or if you’ve just been slacking off a little.
- Your meals – Keep a journal or use My Fitness Pal to track exactly what you’re eating and how much of it. Yes, that one bite of cake counts and needs to be recorded.
- Your exercise – Write down every rep, every weight, every time. I also like to jot down how I felt during each workout and how difficult it was for me.
- Your sleep – Sleeping a solid 6-8 hours a night is KEY to a healthy lifestyle. Are you getting enough sleep??
If you are in fact in a plateau, don’t freak out. There are a few ways to move past it..
- The best thing you can do is make a dramatic change. Just do something different! If you focus on cardio, try lifting some weights. If you’re a weight lifter, try out yoga and get your flexibility on. Change can be a good thing, You may fall in love with a new routine.
- You can also set personal records for yourself which will encourage you to push yourself. These goals can be to nail down a handstand or reach a certain number of pull ups. Remember to celebrate every small victory!
- Try tracking your progress without a scale. So many times the scale isn’t an accurate measurement of your progress. For example, when you gain muscle you could add on a couple pounds but that doesn’t mean you gained fat! Instead, measure your progress through photos, how you feel, body fat percent, and body measurements.
- Understand that it’s easier to lose the weight in the beginning of your journey when you have more to lose. It gets much more difficult when you get down to those last few pounds! We also have good weeks and bad weeks. Accept that and don’t get too down on yourself if you have a bad week. Stress can cause a stall in your weight loss so just shake it off and move on.
I’ve found that reaching your fitness goals can be one crazy roller coaster ride. The scale can go up like crazy one day. Your performance can go way down one week. Water weight can make you feel like a beached whale. And since when are you sensitive to cheese?? We can learn so much about our bodies yet at the same time they’re a mystery. When in doubt, mix it up. It’s the only way you’ll find answers.