Fitness Plateaus And How to Handle Them
Many of us work out regularly. It can be gratifying to see the results of one’s hard work. However, those of us who have been at it for a long time recognize the disheartening moment when you realize that you’ve been working hard to improve your condition only to find that your body is no longer changing in a positive way.
Maybe you have been working on cardio routines and gauging weight loss. Increasing your speed and effort has been paying off. Steadily, you’ve been losing five pounds a month or so…then suddenly, a couple pounds, then one day, you’ve actually GAINED weight!
Or, you’re working on increasing the amount of weight you can lift…until one day, you top out and can’t seem to get past the last highest weight.
There are many stories and feel free to add your own. Fitness plateaus happen in every area of athletic performance work. The common thread is that they DO happen, regardless of your area of interest or practice.
So now what? Starting back at the bottom hardly seems to be a good option. And how frustrating is it when you have been working toward a specific goal, only to have it seem to be unattainable?
We first have to recognize the problem for what it is. No, you’re not subconsciously easing up on yourself, nor are you not working hard enough.
The human body is an amazing ecosystem. The ways that we adapt to the things that happen to it, whether deliberate or accidental, is nothing short of miraculous at times. Because of its adaptability, our body is keenly attuned to the routines that we adhere to – and respond accordingly.
What this ultimately means is that a change in routine will often provide the stimulus for our body to re-set itself, if you will, and adjust its response.
It is overly simplistic to suggest we can “trick” our bodies. However, if we can re-adjust our focus, then over time, making progress becomes less difficult.
What a Pro Says
Stephen Pedone, one of our sponsored professional athletes, had this to say about hitting a wall:
“For me, long periods of training time without nearby goals can cause my training to become stale and monotonous. When training becomes a chore, or I have hit a plateau in my fitness, I go back to the basics and just go ride my bike for fun and enjoyment with no structure and plan. Then I begin to re-implement training but I try to shake up my workouts by using different bikes, going different places, and doing different types of workouts. This can usually break the staleness and help me find my motivation again.”
Stephen brings home a point that is worth repeating. Motivation stagnates when things aren’t changed and moved around.
Treat your body and your fitness like the unique creature it is. Change up your workouts, challenge yourself safely and reap the benefits!