Ways to break the dreaded ‘Plateau’
Everyone gets them; beginners and experts alike, we all reach that horribly frustrating and thankless point that is known in the industry as ‘The Plateau’.
It starts with seeing less and less progress, less weight loss, or muscle gain, less of an ability to up our sets, our weights, our reps; it’s disheartening at best and at worst, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and causes far too many people to give up on their goals.
What is the Plateau, and why does it happen?
Plateaus are what happen when, despite all our best efforts, we simply don’t seem to be seeing the same progress we have been for the past few months or weeks. They happen to just about everyone at some point, whether your trying to lose weight or tone up, build muscle or run that extra mile.
It happens for one of two reasons; either we’ve secretly begun to slack on either our diet or regime, and maybe just not realised, or simply because our bodies actually like change, and we find that we haven’t ‘mixed it up’ in a while, therefore we’ve adjusted and are actually in our new ‘comfort zone’.
Break your plateau with exercise
Do you remember when you started working out? The pain afterwards? The aches and stiffness that would sometimes last days after a particularly heavy workout? Those were good days.
Have you noticed that you don’t experience that aching any more? Particularly the next day? Your body has adjusted to your routine; it simply finds it too easy now. This is a good thing, it means we can move onto bigger and better things.
For plenty of people it means saying good-bye (at least for now) to a favoured regime or particular set-up they actually enjoy.
Breaking a Plateau is far more about mind of matter than anything else. Once you’re willing to let go of doing something you’ve got used to doing, you can start something new and experience that glorious progress all over again.
So, where do you start? Take a good look at your routine; when was the last time you really changed it up? It’s time to make a change. Change your reps, change your sets, even if it means dropping some weight in order to hit that higher count, change something and push through the plateau.
Break the Plateau with Supplements
If you’ve been avoiding supplements in order to ‘do it naturally’, now might be the time to start. If you’re already using supplements, you may need take a look at what you’re using and try something new; some supplements simply don’t work for some people.
Let’s start with the basics;
- Protein – Are you getting enough? Are you supplementing at the right time? Experts recommend the average person needs up to 0.7grams of Protein per lb of body weight per day.
- Have you gained mass and not up’ed your Protein intake? You should also be taking a Protein supplement (such as a shake) in the hour after you’ve hit the gym, this is the time your muscles will make the most use of it.
- Pre-workout supplements – These are excellent if you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to push through the Plateau. They will give you the boost you need and allow you to push a little harder.
- Fat-Burners – If you’re trying to lose weight, a fat-burner will help your body melt excess fat long after you’ve left the gym. Natural fat-burners can be an excellent choice if you’ve found your weight loss has hit a brick wall, they can help you shift an extra 3-5lbs a week, if you get hold of a good quality one that works.
- Creatine – If it’s mass you’re after, Creatine is a good way to go. Contrary to what a lot of people think, Creatine is perfectly safe when taken correctly and has been subject to countless clinical trials over the years. It will boost your energy and endurance during a workout, and enhance protein synthesis within the muscle tissues so you build lean muscle much faster.
Change just one thing at a time
Getting your weight loss or bodybuilding back on track can be done, however just remember to change one thing at a time and track your progress over the next few days or over a week.
Usually hitting weights at a higher intensity, or if your dieting, reducing your calories that little bit further will do the trick. Just remember no pain no gain!