Are you consistently in the gym or live an active lifestyle and feel unsatisfied or unable to reach certain goals? Do you live a healthy lifestyle and consciously make the effort to improve your physical fitness, but feel like you can’t break through a phase, or a rut or a plateau period? A stall on progress can be due to a number of reasons and can also be very confusing! These things happen when the body begins to adjust to the demands your exercise routine requires of it. It can be quite common, you are not alone! I have been in that space a few times, and it required strategic modification to my training and nutrition program.
Three years ago when I connected with Cate, I had hit an all time record in a plateau period for my body. I was working out 5-6 days a week, sometimes hitting morning fasted cardio in addition to my strength training, eating extremely healthy and doing all the right things (or so I thought). The problem was, I couldn’t shed the last 7 pounds to get to my goal weight and my body fat calculation surprised me.
Well turns out…common theme in my life. I was overtraining. Not only that, but I was not training PROPERLY. Just because HIIT workouts, extended cardio and specific weight programming worked for me for years on end, didn’t mean it was going to work forever. The reality is, one size does not fit all, forever. What works for one person, may not work for the other, what worked for you a year ago, may not work for you anymore. Our bodies are constantly changing, evolving, developing new adaptations and in need of a reset.
Cate was able to look at my program from the outside in, erasing my preconceived assumptions on why it was not working and recognize that my lifestyle needed a major shift. We started incorporating MORE rest days, less HITT, more lower impact strength training days and mobility/flexibility modalities (yoga, pilates, stretching, ect.) Of course, this didn’t come without some major resistance LOL. I was so used to the “HIT IT HARD” mentality and due to my fitness background and education, thought I knew what I needed, but I was humbled REAL quick. I started seeing progress RIGHT AWAY. A few months in, I was addicted to this new lifestyle. A year later, on my wedding day, I was 12 pounds down and had turned 7% of pure body fat into muscle.
What should you try when you hit a plateau?
Vary your exercise routine. TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Modify weight, reps, intensity, frequency!
If you think you could be overtraining, REST MORE! Incorporate soft tissue work, stretching, mobility, yoga, hot/cold exposure, anything that can lengthen your muscles and provide relief.
Take a look at your nutrition. TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Maybe you have developed some type of intolerance (we grow into these things!). Start by journaling your food and how you feel after each meal, you can gain a lot of insight just by becoming aware of your bodies physical response (little or big) after you eat certain foods.
Take a break. Take the pressure off and go back to just doing what makes you FEEL good. We as human beings are very intuitive and often know what we need, just by listening to our body. Wake up, move and do whatever makes you FEEL good that day. If its a walk, run, pilates, yoga, strength, or nothing at all, just do it. Once you have let go of the expectation, it can be easier to see the light.
Consult a fitness professional. Even if you are a fitness professional yourself, sometimes it is necessary to have someone from the outside looking in give you some perspective, don’t let your ego get in the way (GUILTY). It’s sometimes easier for someone to understand what is going on by looking from the outside in.
If you are struggling to reach your goals, don’t be discouraged! The beauty of the human body is that we have the POWER to change our outcome. It could mean something small, like adding one extra rest day, or it could mean embarking on a journey to find the right lifestyle balance. Whatever it is, its beautiful and amazing that we get to figure it out and watch our bodies evolve, become resilient and continue to improve! Keep up the good work and enjoy the process!