Perhaps you’ve just started on a low-carb diet and have seen major weight loss, only to have it slow down and eventually start picking back up. Maybe you’ve been training hard for a sport and have recently hit a plateau with almost zero progress made in the past few weeks. Whatever the case may be, it’s never a good feeling to hit a limit and you might be wondering if it’s even possible to overcome it.
Thankfully, even if you think your body is physically incapable of overcoming that plateau, there’s always a way as long as you’re motivated and have the willpower to push on. Whether it’s losing an extra few pounds each week or reaching new levels of strength and agility, we’ve put together this guide on overcoming your workout and weight loss plateaus.
Examining Your Nutrition
First, let’s take a look at your nutrition. The calories and nutrition that you take in will have a massive impact on your body weight and strength. It’s important to take in the right amount of nutrition and also control your calories based on what your end goals are. For instance, someone that wants to build muscle and strength will want to consume more protein. This is one of the reasons why protein supplements are so popular because it’s a lot more effective and quicker to consume than eating mountains of chicken breast.
We suggest taking a look at your nutrition and being truthful about it. If needed, you may want to consider hiring a dietician to have a deeper look at the foods you’re eating and how many calories you’re actually taking in versus the amount of nutrition it’s worth. While it’s fairly easy nowadays to just look at food labels and judge your nutritional intake based on those figures, the reality might be a little different as our bodies can react slightly differently based on what we eat. Our diet may be causing various effects on our bodies and we won’t know the full picture until we receive an examination.
For weight loss, the golden rule is that you have to spend more calories than you take in. Simply existing means you’re burning calories as energy, even if you’re not actively moving. Over the course of a day, you could burn several thousand calories just by being yourself, but the exact value will depend on your weight and activity level. By spending more calories than you take in, you’ll start to lose weight. However, one of the caveats to this is that as you lose weight, your metabolism is also slowing down. This means that the less you weigh, the fewer calories you burn over the course of a day.
This means that you need to gradually continue eating less if you want to lose weight without exercising. If you are exercising, then you need to increase the intensity of your workouts to account for your metabolism. This is one of the most common plateaus to reach; an equilibrium of calories burned and calories consumed. In order to continue progressing with your weight loss, you need to do something different to maintain your net calorie loss.
The reverse is also true for someone that is trying to bulk up. If you’re not consuming enough calories and protein to promote muscle growth, then you’re not going to see much progress and your body will eventually hit an equilibrium if something doesn’t change. To overcome this hurdle, it’s a good idea to track your meals to see how many calories you’re taking in and where you can increase this count to continue bulking up.
Lastly, we should touch on supplements and how they can help with your nutritional requirements. Some supplements can act as meal replacements which can give you a controlled way to lose weight, whereas other supplements like a testosterone booster could potentially give you increased energy and stamina for a better workout. Supplements are usually heavily debated, so we do suggest doing plenty of research and speaking to a specialist before you start taking regular doses of any supplement. When used correctly, they can have a positive impact on your overall nutritional intake.
Examining Your Workouts
If you find that you’re simply not gaining more strength or losing more weight, then it could be caused by a number of reasons related to your workouts. Instead of examining each possibility, we’re going to give you a list of potential issues with your workouts that can cause you to plateau.
You repeat the same exercises every day
Your body will slowly get accustomed to the exercises that you subject it to, meaning that it understands how to be more efficient in conserving energy. In order to shock your body and force it to burn calories and build muscle at an accelerated rate, you need to switch up your exercise routine every two weeks to avoid plateauing.
You’re overworking yourself
Pushing yourself too hard can ultimately cause fatigue and joint pain. This might not seem like a huge issue at first because you’re still putting in effort but do keep in mind that this does reduce the overall quality of your workouts. Overtraining could eventually lead to losing motivation and you might find yourself giving up because the pain is too much to handle. You may even risk injuring yourself which is never a good sign.
You’re not sure where to go with your workouts
Even if you know that you repeat the same exercises every day, there’s usually not much you can do unless you learn new workouts. This can be achieved by trying out different machines, speaking to a trainer or even looking online at articles to learn new and unique workouts to shock your body. A personal trainer can be one of the better options if you prefer in-person assistance.
You’re not motivated to work out
Sometimes, having a friend with you can be a fantastic way to motivate yourself to work out. At other times, you might want to consider listening to some music and having a playlist that pumps you up and gets you in the mood to work out. Alternatively, listening to a podcast or audiobook can be a fun way to keep your workouts interesting.
Your goals are unrealistic
Whether it’s the workout goals you set and never reach or unrealistic long-term expectations, it’s important to dial back on your goals and set smaller ones that are easier to achieve. A good example of this is in the amount of weight you add to something such as a squat or lift. If you continue adding a couple of pounds a week then you’ll eventually reach a point where you cannot build enough strength to successfully keep up with the added weights in your workout. This means that your progression will eventually slow down until your body has time to catch up.
There are also other factors that could affect the quality of your workouts. For instance, getting enough sleep will help your body restore its energy so that you can get a good-quality workout, and more sleep means reduced stress which ultimately helps you perform better at the gym.
This list should serve as a good way to examine your workouts and how you can improve them to overcome your plateaus.
Examining Your Lifestyle
Lastly, it’s important to take a look at your lifestyle to see if anything’s happening that can cause you to plateau. This is a very personal aspect which is why it’s up to you to decide what could be hurting your fitness levels. Perhaps you’re feeling stressed out from work because you have no time to work out, or maybe you’re taking too many cheat days because you’ve recently been going out with friends to parties and clubs.
There’s a lot of self-control involved when it comes to working out and losing weight. This is especially true for losing weight since it can slow down depending on the amount of weight you’ve already lost. When you weigh more, you have more weight to lose which speeds up the weight loss process and gives you the idea that losing weight doesn’t take long. However, as you start to weigh less, you’ll find that shedding pounds becomes even more difficult than before. You might get complacent because you’ve already lost a lot of weight and your lifestyle could reflect this. You might dedicate less time to working out or you could end up eating out more often because of the weight you’ve lost.
There are many lifestyle factors that could affect your fitness plateaus, but since this is an area that is personal to everyone reading, it’s something that you need to discover on your own. Whether it’s dealing with your work-related stress or realizing that you can’t get complacent, it’s important to examine your lifestyle and how it could impact your fitness goals.