4 Ways to Break Through a Workout Plateau
You know that feeling when you’ve been working out for several weeks or months, and you’ve really gotten into a groove? You’re gaining strength, feeling more energetic, watching your body shape come closer to the ideal picture in your mind … but then, you hit a wall. You’re still doing all the same things that worked before, but you’ve stopped losing weight and you’re not making any progress in strength or stamina. You may even feel weaker and less energetic! That’s the dreaded plateau.
Why do you plateau?
When you first started working out, you forced your body to work harder than it was used to working. In response, it lost fat, built muscle and adapted to the increased energy requirements. But then it got used to that new same old routine, and it didn’t have to change anymore.
How can you break through your plateau?
There are a few things you can do to kickstart the next phase of your workout.
Change up your routine (and do so every few weeks). This can be as simple as changing up the order of your sets, the type of exercise, the intensity of your workout, or even working out for different lengths of time on different days.
Avoid overtraining. If you constantly push yourself to the max from the first second of your workout to the last, without plenty of rest afterwards, then your muscle tissue may start to break down. Your body has to repair and rebuild! If you love super intense workouts, then consider working in one full week of rest after every four weeks of exercise.
Avoid undertraining. Maybe walking two miles per hour on a treadmill was enough to get your heart pumping and your sweat flowing when you first joined the gym, but you may need to up your game if you’re still strolling along at the same speed several months later.
Watch what you eat. Less isn’t always better when it comes to eating for fitness. Make sure you’re getting enough calories to support your workout goals, with the right balance of protein, carbs, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. And drink plenty of water!