So you’ve been training for a while, doing the same things, and it feels like it’s getting easier. Fantastic, right? You’re getting fitter, and stronger, and that’s wonderful. You stick to your old faithful workouts because it feels comfortable, and follow the same schedule. You may not even realise it – you’re so used to this routine that it’s second nature – but after a while, you start to realise that your body isn’t responding to exercise the way it used to.
Does this sound familiar?
The human body is an incredible machine – it evolves and adapts to the stresses (exercise) places upon it. So after a while, doing the same thing stops progress, because it just doesn’t stress your body the same way that it used to. Your body has adapted!
The reason for today’s blog is to go through a couple of reasons why you might be putting in the time into your exercise, but plateauing in your results. Which one most relates to you?
- You’re working out at the same intensity
You like your routine because it’s comfortable. It’s like going through the motions, you’re exercising, but it doesn’t push any boundaries. This is fantastic for skills, but not so great for progress.
Try a program plan that is designed to include variety of intensities, durations, movement patterns, and rest times. Change it up every couple of weeks by adjusting your rep count, your rest time, or your order of exercises.
Don’t let your body get bored.
- You run the same familiar route
This is for you runners out there. You may love to run the same track, it’s probably close to home and you like knowing where you are going. If you’re running to lose weight, you may need to change it up a little bit. This might mean increasing your kms, turning your steady paced run into a sprint interval, or adding some extra days of weights. It could also mean setting yourself a time goal, and pushing yourself to cover a certain distance within that time, or adding an extra hill into that run.
Change is the key.
- You finish your workout in less time
It’s super exciting that you’re finishing faster. This means you’re getting fitter! But it also means that it is getting easier, and that it doesn’t challenge you the way it did before. You need to push your threshold to see improvements, which unfortunately means those comfortable runs need to be accompanied with runs that are pushing you out of your comfort zone.
- You spend 2+ hours in the gym EVERY DAY
Commitment to fitness! You spend so long in the gym, that when you tell people, everyone is wowed and impressed with your dedication. Surely because exercise is good, that more exercise is better??
Overtraining can be detrimental to your progress. Rest and recovery play huge roles in fitness and this is when you get the changes and adaptations to your body. It’s when your body builds itself back together. If you aren’t giving yourself the time to repair, you won’t see progress.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep, and fit at least 1-2 rest days into your training schedule.
- You were recently injured
Being injured sucks – especially when this prevents you from exercising. Because of this, many return to exercise too early, before allowing their body to heal itself. This can set you back significantly. It increases your risk of injuring yourself again, or create muscle imbalances because of your body trying to overcompensate and protect your injury.
Form and technique are the most important part of exercising. If you’re not able to maintain your form, you may need to take some time off, and/or see a medical professional or training to help you work your way back from injury safely.
So which one of these sounds like you? Is there a couple?
Hopefully these can really help you reframe your state of mind about training, and kickstart the process of plateau into progress.