How to Break Through a Fitness Plateau
It happens to almost every gym–goer and it very frustrating to deal with but definitely not something that will hold you back.
Updated September 3, 2010
Learn how to break out of your plateau.
It is easy to take your progress for granted. Steadily you have been losing weight, shedding inches, gaining muscle and then all of a sudden it just stops. This is called a plateau and occurs when your body becomes accustom to the resistance being placed upon it and no longer needs to work as hard. The body adapts very quickly and a plateau can occur in as little as four weeks if the muscles are not being constantly challenged.
The best way to begin the break through a plateau is to increase the intensity of your resistance training workout as well as changing the exercises you are currently doing to. This also includes adding a variety of different sets into your workouts, such as alternating from straight sets to supersets, circuits, or drop sets to fatigue your muscles in new and exciting ways. Because your body will not be used to these types of activities, you should be able to stimulate your progress in about a week or two.
You could also try changing up your cardio routine to stimulate extreme fat burning – such as high intensity cardiovascular training. This typically includes interval training, a routine which alternates between high intensity and low to moderate intensity rest periods. Try high intensity interval training by running full out for 1 minute followed by a light jog/brisk walk for 2 minutes of recovery and repeating at least six times. HIIT is a great way of invigorating your workout and will help speed up your metabolism for up to 18 hours.
It is also a good idea to comb through your current diet to see if there are any specific food choices that you could change to make a more positive impact on your health. You may want to up your morning chocolate milk or evening hot chocolate for a warm or cold chocolate protein drink. If you are able to make many small changes like this, you will find it easier to break through plateaus without having to do take drastic measures.
Carbohydrate cycling is also another way to stimulate your metabolism and your staled progress to make your body readjust its metabolism speed to offset the increases/decreases that you put forth. Try carb cycling by adding two days of low carb days, 50% less carbs of what you normally eat, and one high carb day, 25% more carbs than normally eaten.
Try a variety of the above steps to break through your plateau and get your weight loss program started again.