It’s a common story. You’ve been dedicated to your workout and nutrition plan, but you feel like you’ve hit a wall. You keep exercising, but you’re not seeing the same dramatic changes that you did when you first got into the swing of your routine.
When you “hit a plateau” in your fitness or weight loss goals, it can enough be an indication that you are lacking variety. It’s time to try something different. Hitting a plateau is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve been doing the same routine for too long.
Here are some tips for staying motivated and moving forward, even if it seems like your progress has temporarily stalled.
Change it up
Have you been doing the same Pilates routine as your primary workout for the past 6 months? Or maybe you love the elliptical and ignore other cardio machines?
If you stop seeing results, your body has become too conditioned to doing one set of exercises.
Try taking a class you haven’t tried before – if you usually go for Yoga, try Zumba or Boot Camp instead. Switch to the treadmill or rowing machine for a while, even if the stair climber is your favourite. Or if you’re normally in love with resistance training, switch to free weights for a while.
Another way to spice up your workout is to incorporate more challenging variations of exercises you already do. For example, if you skill level has moved beyond the basic push-up, try intermediate or advanced variations.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – enlist a professional!
If you feel like your progress has stalled, it’s time to consider enlisting a personal trainer!
A trainer will help you work to figure out concrete strategies to fix your fitness routine. Your trainer will help create a new plan, introduce you to new exercises, and give you feedback about how to move forward. It’s also their job to help you keep you motivated so you will meet your goals.
We have over 50 personal trainers on staff between our four locations. Click here to read their bios, and once you’ve found the trainer you’d like to work with, book a consultation.
Give yourself permission to rest
If you feel that you have hit a plateau, doing more of the same thing is not the best plan of action. Overtraining is often a factor when your progress has stalled.
Taking a few days off from intense training, or even a few days off from the gym all together can also be beneficial for helping you to push through the plateau. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up. Instead, you’re giving your body a chance to rest and your muscles a chance to recover.
The recovery time needed between intense workouts will vary from person to person, depending on many factors. Think back to our last point about enlisting a professional – these are the types of questions a personal trainer can help with.
Hang in there & don’t give up
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. O Magazine’s Dr. Katz’s says that when you hit plateau you’re probably still losing weight, but sometimes it’s not enough to register on your scale. 1/3 of a lb. a week may not seem like a lot, but over the course of the year that adds up to 17 lbs.
There’s a common misconception that muscle weights more than fat. This isn’t true: muscle doesn’t actually weigh more than fat, but it is denser, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. Most people don’t lose fat and gain muscle at the same rate, so your weight may probably fluctuate up and down a bit on your way to your goals.
Remember: your weight doesn’t reflect how fit, healthy, or strong you are becoming. Try to care less about the number on the scale and more about how you feel.
Having goals and benchmarks is a great way to track progress, but an active lifestyle is an ongoing journey, not a fixed destination.
If you’re not at your ideal body yet, try to focus on what you have already achieved and how far you’ve come. Plateaus are temporary – know that you will move past this. You will get back on track!