A fitness plateau and a diet plateau are not always the same things. The plateau is a term used to describe an evening or leveling off in activity on the scale or in the results from our efforts.
As an example, the diet plateau is a time when you are eating according to the plan, but no longer losing or gaining weight – you are holding steady. The fitness plateau, however, is when your progress hits a sort of “flat line”. this could mean that your exercise routine was letting you lose weight or go faster for longer periods of time, or even hitting a target heart rate, and then…flat line.
No progress in any direction. And though you might feel a sense of frustration or panic, it is good to remember that everyone – from world champion athletes to beginning dieters hit a plateau.
The key is to know just how to bump yourself up and over the hurdle that is holding you on this flat line. We are going to look at fitness plateaus and what you can do to overcome them.
It is actually very easy and requires you to:
- Assess the intensity of all cardio workouts;
- Find ways of increasing the intensity – this might mean working to increase the sprinting period of your high intensity intervals or decreasing the resting times. Whatever ways you can use to increase the amount of energy expended during cardio will help get you off the plateau;
- Begin increasing your strength training – this could mean just adding a few simple barbell squats, bench presses, or other lifting exercises. This builds muscle and really improves calorie burning capability;
- Consider the after burn – this means assessing your workouts and looking for any ways that you can to increase overall impact – for instance you might boost the weight you are lifting or consider adding something to your cardio routine; and
- Mix it up – don’t stick with a set routine. Do different cardio each day, do different sets and circuits of strength training. Challenging the muscles and the body is going to reignite the metabolism and help you get off the plateau.
Never give up when you are close to goals or starting to feel good changes. The plateaus come and go and you can use our tips to get off of them and back on your way to fitness, strength, and weight loss.