Let me throw a scenario at you and see if you can relate. You finally started training consistently. Whether you are training competitively, or you just started back in the gym, or even started on a weight loss regime. You start off and everything is going smoothly. You are starting to see results come each and every workout that you hit. You are feeling great and you have all the motivation in the world. Then the results get slower. And slower. And slower. And eventually you can’t get results to save your life. You try different things but end up just getting frustrated because you aren’t seeing the results that you once did so you give up. You, my friend, have hit a plateau. A plateau is where your body adapts to the present situation and stops producing results. But you are in luck! There are ways to overcome plateaus in training each and every time you have them come into your training program. And I am going to show you how to over come them. But first thing is first:
Why Do Plateaus Happen In Training?
Before I tell you how to overcome these flat lining areas of you training, I think is important to explain the science behind why these happen. Whether you are training for a marathon, wanting to change your physical appearance, or trying to drop some weight, plateaus happen for the same reason across the body. You see, your body is smart. Extremely smart. Your body is build to protect you. There are so many build in protections in your body it is mind boggling! A plateau is one such protection. When you start adding a stress to your body (working out for example) your body goes into a mode of adaptation to try to counteract the new stress that has been imposed on it. It grows, shrinks, gets stronger, gets weaker, stores fat, ETC. It does whatever it needs in order to ensure that stress goes away as quickly as possible. Once it feels the stress is no longer imposed on the body, it goes back to a state of equilibrium. All the body wants is equilibrium. It wants to feel like it is safe and sound in its little box. Once your body catches up with the stress, the stress no longer has an effect on the body. The results just simply stopped being product. You plateau. This happens in weight loss, running, strength training, keg tosses, whatever you do. Eventually, your body will adapt the stress and no longer produce the results.
How To Overcome Training Plateaus?
Now that you know how training plateaus happen, how do you think you overcome? Impose a new stress. If you keep your body having to adjust to a new stress, your body will continue to try to adapt and that will produce continued results. I don’t care what type of training you are doing, this will work! Let’s look at a common example: strength training.
So many people run into this issue at the gym. The start hitting the gym and start working out like everyone else. And they start seeing results. The body doesn’t like the stress so it does whatever it can do to adapt, mostly growing bigger or stronger. But eventually, it catches up with the next stress and stops producing results. Most people don’t know what to do when this happens. They try different machines, which works a little, or try lifting more weights, which works a little as well. But most people just get baffled and end up quitting. In strength training, one way to continue to get results is to start to manipulate the different variables of training. These include the following:
- Exercise Selection
Tweaking a few of these in your work will, for the most part, keep your body guessing on what is coming and start adapting again. For example, if you are use to doing 2 sets of 10 on a bench press, eventually your body is going to get use to that. Sure, you can increase the weight and that will do it. But what if you decreased the weight, did more reps and a higher intensity? Your body won’t know what hit it and you will get results.
Let’s take another example that isn’t directly related to training, but most people can relate to: weight loss. Most people hit a diet and exercise program in the same time period because,well – that is what they were taught. Weight loss is the same thing. If you start eating healthy, your body isn’t going to know what is going on and is going to do what it needs to do in order to get rid of the stress, most likely in the form of losing weight. However, it eventually is going to realize what is going on, readjust your metabolism and the weight will stop coming off. Most people quit here, and gain the weight back. If you keep your body guessing, you will continue to lose weight. Adjusting the variables of weight loss is a bit hard than those of exercise. But it is possible. If you eat the same thing day in and day out, try mixing it up with different foods. Hopefully, you are adding some exercise with your weight loss regiment. If that is the case, adjust those variables at the same time.
Take Away Message: Keep your body adapting is the key to overcoming training plateaus. Such in life, never stay in the same place. Grow, move, try new things, try new way of the old way of what you are you use to. Remember, you are either progressing or regressing in life. There is no standing still.
If you have encounter a plateau and you need some specific advice on your situation, leave a comment below and I will address it (more than likely, someone else is having the same issue!). If you want to send it in private, shoot me an email and I will address it privately.
To Your Health –