Everyone loves that feeling you get when you can see all of your hard work paying off. Maybe it’s a new PB. Perhaps it’s improved body composition. Maybe it’s simply getting through every day pain-free with loads of energy. In any form, progress feels good. Reeeal good!
But what about the times when you feel like you’re doing everything right, yet nothing is changing? It is so frustrating and can leave you feeling incredibly unmotivated, wanting to reach straight for the nearest donut – because what’s the point, right?! We’ve all been there.
Let’s reframe. Instead of getting cranky and giving up, consider a plateau as a simple message from your body that it’s time for change. As the saying goes: if nothing changes, nothing changes! So let’s take a look at 4 things that you can do to break away from the plateau and into fun, new territory:
1. Mix it up
Your body is a very clever machine and will quickly adjust to any type of exercise that you do continuously over a period of time. There are SO many different ways in which we can move and strengthen our body, so why limit yourself to just one? Move through all planes; challenge all energy systems; mix up your numbers. Don’t be afraid to experiment kids. Have a little fun!
2. Monitor progression
(No, I’m not referring to your scales – throw those things out for all I care!)
It doesn’t matter what your program looks like; if you’re not progressing, you’re not progressing! Whether you’re increasing weight, adding reps, or increasing time under tension; monitoring progressive overload is a non-negotiable when it comes to results. Performance goals are a great way to keep you motivated and focussed on something other than the mirror.
SIDE NOTE: sometimes regression is a necessary route to progression. The quality of your training is absolutely NOT defined by how much weight you put on the bar or how quickly you can pump out a rep. Perfect the simple things first, and progress from there.
3. Reconsider your food
What’s on your plate? How much is on your plate? No matter which camp you’re in – paleo, vegan, fasting or otherwise – energy balance matters.
- Are your portions in check?
- Are you factoring in liquid calories?
- Are your weekends undoing your progress for the week?
Nutrition is individual and needs to be tailored to you. Consider speaking to a coach if you’re feeling lost; stay away from mass produced nutrition plans, and always (always!) beware of Dr Google.
4. Prioritise downtime
When you’re chronically stressed, cortisol will end up too high, or too low, or sometimes bouncing back and fourth between the two. In any case the result is not fun for you and looks a little bit like sleepless nights, fatigue, poor digestion and immune function, and often that dreaded (super stubborn!) spare tyre around the belly. More is not always better. You’re only as good as your recovery, team. Make it a priority!
Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. One small change at a time can make all the difference, sweet things! Keep going!