You’ve been putting in the time, effort, and hustle to implement a diet and exercise plan. But, despite your consistency, you might feel frustrated if you aren’t yet seeing the results that you think you should be achieving by now. Often, the weight starts to come off quickly in the beginning. Then, fitness plateaus can start to slow your results.
What should you do when fitness plateaus are leaving you frustrated and unmotivated? Instead of giving up and binge-eating from a fast-food drive-thru, implement a few proven strategies to help you boost your efforts and get past the plateau.
The truth is that fitness plateaus are completely normal – they happen to everyone. Your body will start to adjust to your diet and exercise plan, which means you might need to switch up your strategy in order to keep going with your fitness results.
Why Fitness Plateaus Happen
There are different stages in which fitness plateaus can occur, and it can be helpful to understand these phases so you can adjust your strategy as needed.
When you are new to dieting and working out, the first few weeks of progress can be quite exciting. Since you went from sedentary to consistent movement, you’ll see the results very quickly. It’s fun and exciting to see your hard work paying off, with pants that are looser-fitting and less jiggle in your stomach,
But keep in mind that fitness plateaus can stall your efforts. As your body starts to adjust to these regular workouts, then the natural adaptation will reduce the effectiveness of your results. This phenomenon is sometimes known as “general adaptation syndrome.” Even if you are doing everything right, your body won’t be responding in the same way.
At this point, you need to change your approach. It could be a sign that you need to switch things up or increase the intensity of your workouts. Sometimes, fitness plateaus could also indicate that you aren’t giving yourself enough recovery time between workouts.
Simple Strategies for Overcoming Fitness Plateaus
Just because your progress is slowing, doesn’t mean that you are never going to reach your longer-term fitness goals. There are a few things you can do to overcome these fitness plateaus and start seeing the results that you want to achieve:
- Change Your Exercise Routine: Take a look at the schedule and intensity of your workouts. If you are just passing time on a treadmill, then you will likely notice improved results by adding in other activities such as weight lifting or HIIT training. Make a few simple changes to refresh your workout routine, putting a priority on exercises that target underused muscles. If you are unsure about the ways your fitness routine needs to change, then consider scheduling a few sessions with a personal trainer.
- Increase Strength Training: While cardio is important, don’t underestimate the benefits of strength training to boost your muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass helps to optimize your metabolism. Strength training makes it easier to achieve body recomposition with more muscle and less fat. Strength training not only helps you shed those extra, stubborn pounds, but it also has an impact on your mental health and endurance as well.
- Dial in Your Diet: It’s been said that “abs are made in the kitchen.” Even if you are going hard with your workouts, you might be sabotaging your results by eating the wrong foods. Not only do you need to consider the calories that you are taking in, but also take a close look at the quality of the nutrition you are getting. Meals and snacks should be designed to fuel your workouts. Be sure you are getting a good balance of carbs, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Stick with real ingredients and whole foods, and it will help your body get rid of the excess fat.
- Drink More Water: Another element that can help to optimize your workout results is to ensure that you are staying hydrated. Drink water instead of calorie-filled soda or juice. Hydration has a positive impact on how your muscles are working. Plus, staying hydrated can decrease unnecessary snacking. Sometimes, people mistake thirst for hunger. Instead of grabbing another snack between meals, try drinking a glass of water and then wait for 20 minutes. You will likely find that you are feeling more satisfied – the water will help you get by until the next meal.
- Prioritize Sleep: Finally, make sure you are deliberate about getting quality sleep every night. Your body needs time to recover after workouts. Plus, sleep is the time when your body can rebuild and repair. Keep in mind that it can be harder to manage your schedule and food choices when you are exhausted. If you are feeling overly tired, then there is a higher chance that you will find yourself on the couch with a bag of popcorn instead of putting in your regular workout routine at the gym. Stay ahead of your sleep so you are well rested and ready for your next workout.
Expert Advice for Health and Fitness
One of the hardest things about a fitness plan is trying to implement these new habits on your own. If you are pushing through in an effort to diet and exercise without support, then you might fall off the wagon and end up back in negative patterns again.
One effective solution to stay on track and overcome fitness plateaus is by having a good support network of friends and fitness professionals. Join a local gym where you can meet like-minded people, access personalized training, and have a place that you enjoy for your workout routine. Investing in a gym is a great investment for your overall health and fitness.
If you are looking for a gym to call home and need support in your fitness journey, then Fitness Nation is here to help. We offer quality facilities, a friendly environment, and all of the weights and equipment you need to stay on track with your fitness goals.