You have made a lot of healthy changes in your life. Perhaps you’ve changed your diet, taken steps to reduce stress, and started a consistent workout routine. In the beginning, you reaped the benefits of your efforts quickly and noticeably. But now something has gone wrong. Perhaps the weight loss has stalled or the growth in strength has slowed or even stopped. You’ve hit a fitness plateau.
This is a frustrating time for any health aficionado, especially those that are new to a fit lifestyle. The biggest danger of a fitness plateau is that it can lead to a loss of motivation and cause you to give up on the positive habits you’ve just developed. Don’t lose heart. A plateau is just a message from your body that it has adapted to what you are doing and that something needs to change. If you are experiencing a plateau, here are a few changes you can make to your current routine to get things moving again.
Boost Your Biology
A new fitness regimen asks things of your body that it’s not used to giving. Sometimes depletions in essential elements can occur that need to be corrected for your body to perform at its peak ability. For example, Amino acid supplements help your body rebuild muscle when it depletes its own resources. Look for a quality supplement that gives you several different amino acids to cover all your bases. You definitely want to include branched amino acids such as leucine, valine, and isoleucine.
Creatine is another supplement that can help you shore up your energy resources which could be flagging causing exhaustion and burnout. If you’ve been engaging in a particularly intense workout, you may benefit from a glutamine supplement. Glutamine is used by the body when you work out and your body sometimes needs help restoring it. It will help with post-workout exhaustion and keep you going strong.
Amp It Up
If you are a newbie to working out, you should have made the wise decision to start slow with brief, low-intensity workouts to allow your fitness level to increase naturally without stressing the body. A plateau can indicate that you have simply grown too fit for your current routine and you need to amp it up. For strength training, it could be time to increase your resistance or weight and aim for shorter but more intense intervals. With cardio, you may be ready to increase the pace or duration of your routine. For flexibility, it may be time to go deeper with your yoga and hold the poses longer.
It can also help to increase your motivation. Maybe it’s time to add some challenge for yourself by setting a definitive fitness goal that will keep you accountable. Perhaps you could sign up for a local 5K, or join a fitness group. Accountability is a powerful motivator when you are ready for it.
Dial It Back
Experienced fitness buffs never want to hear this suggestion and it can baffle newbies, but maybe you need to take a little break. If you’ve been going hard in your workout, your body might be too fatigued to get the most out of your routine.
It’s important to note that you don’t want to completely stop moving. This isn’t an excuse to become a couch potato. You want to aim for reducing the intensity of your workout. If you’ve been running, maybe switch to walking for a few days. If you’ve been going hard with an intense HIIT workout, maybe switch to some floor pilates or less intense bodyweight routines for a while.
As annoying as it can be to hit a fitness plateau, you should try to remember that it is often a positive sign that your body has become stronger and is ready to do more. Alternatively, it can also be a signal that your body is a bit depleted and you need to give it some help through supplements and decrease the intensity of your routine for a short time. Either way, a key component of fitness is learning to listen to your body and responding in healthful ways.