One week you are rocking your workouts, feeling fit, looking toned, radiating with confidence and then the next…. your progress all of a sudden stops and you feel like this whole working out thing is pointless.
The dreaded plateau!
It halts our progress and makes us want to give up on our fitness goals altogether.
I mean, why is a plateau even a thing? Why can’t our muscles just not adapt and keep stretching and growing doing the same routine over and over.
Unfortunately life isn’t fair, our bodies don’t work like that and we may have to work a little bit harder all the time.
I have hit many plateaus throughout my fitness journey of like 7 years.
When I first started out on my fitness journey I did nothing but long hours of cardio and the occasional Insanity workout in the school gym. I had no knowledge of weights whatsoever.
So after doing cardio for a while I remember I lost 10 pounds but then after that…. nothing happened and I was a frustrated 17 year old who just wanted to look skinny in her grad dress. (insert eye roll)
Then after I graduated and got into the university life, I started incorporating weights but was scared to lift heavy and look like a bulky man. (eye roll x 10000)
I made some more progress and toned up, but quickly hit another plateau because I was scared to up my weights.
After learning more about lifting weights and that girls who lift heavy do NOT look manly and look strong, confident and powerful, I realized that I needed to keep upping my weight game and switching things up in order to stop hitting plateaus.
Plateaus are extremely common, sometimes hard to avoid and nothing to be ashamed of.
A Plateau is when your body and your muscles become accustomed to the stress we are placing on them through weight training or any other resistance training.
When you first start working out and lifting weights you will see big changes because your body is being put through changes and something it’s not used too.
But after a while your muscles are like “Okay we get it, now what we’re bored?” and no changes will happen anymore.
You have to give your body a reason to change.
I am pretty sure everyone faces a plateau during their fitness journey and its a frequently talked about topic.
So here we are.
I want to give you guys my tips to avoid hitting a plateau so you can implement it into your own fitness routine and hopefully continue about your progress.
Not what you were expecting?
When you are lifting weights, putting stress on your muscles, they grow and change which revvs up your metabolism requiring a higher caloric intake to fuel those growing muscles.
A lot of people think they need to eat less but that actually causes a plateau if your looking to build muscle and get more toned.
If you want to grow that booty….. a girls gotta eat.
- Rest Days
Again, probably something super unexpected but you need to rest in order for your muscles to grow.
Overworking and overtraining is a real thing and when you train every day with no rest days… your body has no chance to build new muscles
You think when your lifting weights at the gym that you are creating newer, bigger muscles then and there but its the opposite.
During your workouts your actually catabolising (breaking down) muscle tissue. Then when you REST and REFUEL (eating enough food) thats there the magic happens and new muscles are created.
- Switch it up!
I love to keep my body guessing and do different things all the time.
My go-to is heavy lifting, but sometimes I’ll do a yoga class or video, pilates, circuits, etc.
Its fun to try different things and it also surprises your body helping you overcome a plateau.
There are a lot of different workouts out there, and they ALL work different kinds of muscles that are not accustomed yet.
- Drop sets
Or if you don’t want to switch up your workout, up the intensity in your weight lifting regimen.
Drop sets are a sure way to set fire to your muscles and work them harder then what there used to.
A drop set is when you add additional reps after already reaching failure.
For example: If your doing shoulder presses with a 15 lb dumbbell, have 5 lb or 10 lb dumbbells ready to go beside you.
So when you finish your 10 reps with the 15 lb and your muscles are burning…. grab those 5 or 10’s right away and rep out a few more.
Set 1: 20 lbs for 8 reps
Dropset 1 : 15 lbs for 6 reps
2 : 10 lbs for 5 reps
3 : 5 lbs for 5 reps
You’ll feel the burn I promise.
Great way to add more intensity into your workouts and get those muscle fibres working again.
A superset is when you perform two exercises (could be for the same muscle group or different) right after one another with no break in between.
For example for my leg days my supersets look like:
Squats, for 10-12 reps
Superset: jump squats until failure.
Reverse lunges, 10 reps each leg
Superset: alternating lunge w/ jump
Just burns out my legs more instead of just doing squats and then lunges. Plus its added cardio.
Or you could increase your weight and do 6-8 reps of the first exercise and then 6-8 on the next right after.
- Choose a new rep range
This in my position should be changed every month or 3 weeks if you are already a fit individual and your body is already accustomed to heavier weights.
If you are still a beginner I wouldn’t worry about changing your rep range if you are still seeing progress with your workouts.
Your body responds to change like I mentioned a few times before in this post already, and switching your rep range will shock your body and spark some change.
If you are doing 3 sets of 10 reps, or 4 x 10 consistently and not seeing changes lately. Switch it up!
Try doing 4 sets of 6 but with a heavier weight or 4 x 12 and push yourself for 2 more reps. Or try pyramiding your sets like 1 x 10, then 1 x 8, then 1 x 6, etc.,
You could also lower your weights a bit and up your reps for a few weeks and see how that changes your body.
The bottom line is you need to switch things up, whether it’s your rep range, adding heavier weights, or trying different workouts.
For your body to change, you need to change your workouts or else it will become accustomed and no progress will happen.
Eating is also SO essential.
You need to be getting the right nutrients AND eating enough calories in order to increase your muscle mass and fuel your workouts.
ALSO don’t implement all of these tips at once.
Don’t overwork yourself and you will be less likely to cause injury.
Try one that makes the most sense with your workout regimen.
If you lift weights, try implementing a superset.
Long distance runner? Try doing speed intervals to increase your mile time.
Yogi? Try and hold a pose for longer, or if your into any one of those things try a whole different workout altogether!
Challenge yourself babes!
I hope this helped and you are able to bust out of that plateau and crush some more goals!