Fighting a fitness plateau?
What is a plateau — other than an area of relatively level high ground?
Or a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress?
A plateau is frustration.
From a fitness point of view, it is the point when we need to change the workout or the routine.
We stop adapting to something that challenged us when we first started doing it.
We get more efficient at the activity and we get stronger.
It may be tempting to keep doing the activity that first delivered results, thinking that is the magic workout that produced the change we were seeking.
But, if nothing happens, it’s time to break through the plateau with a new routine that will challenge our muscles, heart and lungs in a different way.
Don’t be afraid to approach a piece of equipment in the gym that you may not have touched before.
If you don’t know how to adjust it, ask the gym staff to help you.
Make small changes rather than huge ones, so you can get out of bed the next day and get up and down the stairs.
If you do cardiovascular activity and no weight training, add some weight training.
If you just do weights, add some cardio.
Our bodies are built to adapt. It’s an amazing process.
I’m discovering nutrition is similar.
I fall into my routines. I eat the same foods and maintain similar calorie deficits.
And, because I have one of those “I’m a survivor” metabolisms, my body figures out what I’m trying to do and it becomes more efficient.
It functions on less and waits for the day when I throw up my hands in disgust and give it the calories it’s been patiently waiting for.
This state of little or no change — this plateau — is annoying.
I’m determined not to let my annoying metabolism win again, so it’s time to shock my system.
I’m toying with “no wheat” or the cursed “no sugar” but they both sound pretty frightening as I realize how many things in life (especially things I enjoy) have wheat and sugar in them.
I’m standing on the edge of this black hole, hesitating to say, “I’ll do it,” because it looks pretty scary and final.
I feel like I need to do some research. There are so many foods that hide wheat and sugar and I’d hate to bite into something only to freeze guiltily and start searching for the ingredients list.
I’ve always been an “everything in moderation” person, but I have to say this plateau stretches on for as far as the eye can see in all directions and I just may have to do something drastic to break this efficiency streak my body is currently holding tightly to.
It’s a pretty big step.
Deep breath. Jump.
Shawn Wenger is a BCRPA-registered personal trainer and weight-training and group-fitness instructor. She runs Fitness For Mortals. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information.