Avoid Workout Plateaus With These 7 Easy Tips
When it comes to getting in shape, everyone wants to burn fat, improve their fitness levels and build some muscle. If you are finding it hard to progress or make any improvements, this article will help with that.
When progress comes to a halt, this is called a plateau. They are common, but they do not have to be — structure your training and nutrition correctly ensures steady progress.
Our bodies are built to adapt and get stronger, we just have to train and nourish them correctly.
So let’s jump into these tips you can implement today.
No More Workout Plateaus
#1 - Know Your Goal
It is important to stay true to your goal. While it is technically possible to burn fat and build muscle at relatively the same time, pick one goal and stick with it.
I’ve always been overweight, but extremely overweight in my adult years. I started to lift weights, I did hours of cardio, and I lost a bit of weight. As the “build strength and muscle” thoughts started to overtake the “lose fat” thoughts, I started getting stronger.
This was at the expense of now gaining weight to get stronger.
The moral of the story is to focus on losing fat through diet, exercise, and lifting weights. Worrying about building muscle while you are trying to lose fat will be hard, slow your overall progress, and can make you turn back to old habits fast.
Know what your goals are and execute them — switching your goals week to week only slows progress.
#2 - Improve One Thing at a Time
Remember how I mentioned to pick a goal and stick with it? The same rule applies here.
People want to improve their speed, power, strength, conditioning, and muscle size. Instead of trying to tackle all of these goals at once, breaking them down into different goals will get you where you want to be.
It’s kind of like trying to pick up the house. You start on one goal but next, you have laundry in the middle of the room, the dishes need to be dried, and your closet is all over your floor. You’ve put a lot of work into it, but it looks like you haven’t done crap.
So focus on one or two areas you’d like to improve and go at it full bore. If you want to build some strength, for example, you could follow a strength or powerlifting program and take some time to maintain your conditioning and endurance with some high-intensity interval training.
#3 - Progressively Overload
Now that you’ve come up with a goal and one to two areas you want to improve in, it’s time to get the most out of your training.
As the weeks progress, your goal is to make your training harder and more intense. You can do this by adding more weight, more reps, and having shorter rest periods. Whatever will push your body further, you’ll need to do it.
This is called progressively overloading — you are slowly increasing the intensities of your workouts. Your body responds to more stimuli, so enjoy the results.
#4 - Eat Better
I’m definitely not trying to tell you what to eat, but I would like you to consider something.
If you started to log your calories and you needed to restrict your calories to 2,000 per day. Wouldn’t you want to get the most nutrition for the calories you get?
hose donuts taste great, but think of all of the nutrition through healthier foods could get you.
When I have cravings or the desire to eat something “bad,” I try to think about how much meat or fruit I could eat instead. If you run to Dunkin’ Donuts, you’re going to eat at least 400 calories in one donut. But who eats just one?
Instead of the 400 calories in a donut, you could have instead eaten:
- About six ounces of 80/20 ground beef
- About nine ounces of chicken breast
- Around 11 ounces of tilapia
People ask me how do I give up certain high-calorie foods and it’s simple — I can eat more healthy food. I’ll take over a half pound of tilapia or a quarter pound of chicken breast over a donut any day.
Find what drives you to eat healthier and run with it.
#5 - Steady Increases Win
When you are progressively overloading, you need to take small and steady increases. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a pair of 2.5-pound plates and leave them in your gym bag. Adding five pounds to the bar every time you go in is a steady way to build your lifts.
Jumping five pounds every week doesn’t sound like much but you can add 20 pounds to that lift in just one month — that’s a lot.
Training at a steady pace allows your body to recover quickly enough but keeps your body adapting to the intensity. This is going to prevent burnout and plateaus.
#6 - Train Hard but Recover Harder
You break down your muscles in the gym, so you have to recover, rebuild them, and nourish your muscles if you want to get bigger.
This is why it really doesn’t matter how extreme you train — if you don’t recover, you won’t get stronger. As you progressively push yourself without allowing proper recovery, you’re going to eventually hit a plateau and push yourself into overtraining.
Pushing yourself that hard without recovering can cause injury from the stress and fatigue.
#7 - Program Deload Weeks
Programming in a deload week allows you to recover and remain fresh. Focusing on the long-term gains will keep you healthy and progressing towards any goal.
Try scheduling a deload week every few weeks. This isn’t going to slow your progress — if anything it will keep it going.
You can still train, just drop your weights down to 30-50% of your normal working weight.