Focus on Fitness: How to get over the plateau
Plateau happens to all of us. From endurance athletes and power lifters to those of us who are trying to lose weight. We get a point in our training where, no matter what we do, we can’t seem to progress. Our first thought is that we’re doing something wrong.
But hitting a plateau is normal.
During a weight loss program, as our weight drops and body composition changes, we may need fewer calories or more physical activity to maintain a lower weight. For a strength training program, we may get to a point where our body does not build muscle fast enough to continue to progress at the same rate that we did in the beginning of our training program.
My personal training clients are always expressing the same concerns. They tell me “I am working out and cutting so many calories, but nothing happens. It is so frustrating.” Or, “I was doing so well for the first six weeks, but now I am stuck.”
Here are some tips on how to break through the plateau:
• Strength train: When you build more muscle, you increase your metabolism. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat.
• Track it: Take note of your diet and workouts in a journal or on an app on your phone. That can keep you accountable on your portion sizes or help you identify small fitness improvements.
• Check your heart rate: Working out with a heart rate monitor keeps you honest. You might find that you need to push yourself a little more.
• Change it up: A personal trainer can help you modify your workout routine to trick your body out of stagnation. Alternatively, take a new class, try a new sport, or join a friend and try their workout.
• Sleep: Are you getting enough? You might be following your diet and getting all your workouts in, but sleep is key for body recovery and stress reduction.
Don’t let plateau discourage you. This could be a good opportunity to re-evaluate your goals and motivation, try something new or seek the guidance of a fitness expert or dietitian.
Keep it up and push through!
Marietta Roberts is the fitness director at Old Town Hot Springs.
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