It’s happened to all of us, after making great strides in weight loss or muscle gain we suddenly hit a wall. What once worked to get you leaner and stronger no longer has the desired effect. Reaching the dreaded plateau. The time when doubt, and even worry starts to set in that all your exercise efforts will be for not. This is when many people give up and discontinue working out all together.
The good news is there is nothing to fear! The body is a very smart machine, and will adapt to the external stress placed upon it. Activities that once were hard become easier and so the body does not have to work as hard to complete that activity. This usually happens in about 4-6 weeks. The body demands progression to produce change. To avoid plateauing and the way to ensure continued gains is to simply change your workouts. This can be done a number of ways; change the order of exercises, change the amount of weight lifted (heavier or lighter), change the rep range (fewer reps for increased weight, and more reps for decreased weight), doing cardio before after or during your workout, increase the intensity of the workout, or change the duration of the exercise. Or a combination of all of the above. Keeping the body guessing will challenge it in new ways, and will ensure continued progress to your desire goals. It will also keep your workouts fun and ever-changing, avoiding the monotony of doing the same thing over and over.
Do not be afraid of change, it is actually the best thing you can do for yourself. If you feel unsure of how to change or where to start, hire a trainer for a few sessions. Pay attention and take notes of how your workouts change from day-to-day. A good trainer will take time to teach you how to do the exercises properly and will explain how to push yourself even further. Plateaus happen to everyone, do not think you are alone. They say variety is the spice of life. Take heed of that saying when it comes to your workouts and reach new levels of excellence.
Jason is Owner and Head Trainer at J Nichols Fitness located in Charleston, SC. If you would like to contact Jason email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more fitness related tips visit jnicholsfitness.com.