Becoming more fit can be a lot of fun, and it transforms many people. Getting fit usually involves setting goals and following a routine, and people often focus on one to three activities such as walking, lifting weights, using an elliptical trainer, swimming, or biking. You may be doing great, and then things get frustrating when a fitness plateau occurs. ZOZOFIT is here to help you work through it.
What Is a Fitness Plateau?
In other words, what is a plateau in fitness? You may be experiencing one when you notice your gains aren’t coming as easily. In fact, you seem stuck at a certain point of fitness, whether your goal is related to losing weight, building muscle, or boosting your endurance.
These plateaus can be extremely frustrating and discouraging. They can have causes such as repetitive workouts, a lack of progressive intensity, and inadequate rest and recovery time. Fortunately, it can be fairly easy to overcome a plateau.
Repetitive workouts and a lack of progressive intensity cause plateaus because your body is now used to the stress and movements of your workout and isn't being challenged anymore. Inadequate recovery times can cause a plateau because fatigued muscles do not perform as well.
Nutritional imbalances contribute to some plateaus as well. Your body needs the proper fuel (essential nutrients) to repair and build muscle.
How Do You Overcome a Fitness Plateau?
Variety is usually the answer to a fitness plateau. Here are some tips on adding spice to your workouts and other plateau-busting methods.
1. Figure Out the Cause of the Plateau
Much of the time, doing the same things in the same ways is behind a plateau. However, it’s worth taking a few minutes to figure out if your plateau has another cause, such as inadequate recovery time.
2. Diversify Your Workouts
You have many options when it comes to jazzing up these workout routines.
- Check out new exercises or activities. If you usually walk, try swimming or biking.
- Mix cardio (running, swimming, biking) with strength training (resistance and weightlifting) and flexibility routines (Pilates and yoga).
- Change the order in which you do things in your workout. This could challenge your muscles in new ways. If you typically start with cardio and then do strength training, try strength training first.
- Add one or two new elements to a workout. You could switch them with other elements or leave everything intact, just with the new additions.
- Try a variation of what you’ve been doing. For instance, pause the traditional squats for a while in favor of box jumps, sumo squats, or Bulgarian split squats. They'll target your leg muscles differently.
3. Increase the Intensity and/or Duration of Your Workouts
Increased intensity or duration could be just the thing to bust your fitness plateau. For example, you could lift heavier weights, make your cardio sessions longer, or introduce high-intensity interval training to your routine. If you hike, you could try steeper inclines or wear a weighted vest.
4. Work Out Somewhere New
Your mind might need some stimulation to kickstart your body. If you usually work out at the gym, try an outdoor setting for a week. For instance, if you hit the gym for weightlifting and treadmill runs, you could still go for the weights but run outside for a week. Similarly, if you hike the same mountains, it may be time to check out a new trail.
5. Take a Class
There are many types of fitness classes, with more being added seemingly every month. The options in your area could include kickboxing, karate, self-defense, yoga, spinning, and much more. Alternatively, you could try an online class, a YouTube class/video, or a virtual reality class.
6. Allow More Recovery Time
Aim for one to three rest days per week to avoid a fitness plateau or to get through one. If you’re an advanced fitness enthusiast, then one day a week should suffice. If you are in the beginner stages, then try exercising every other day and gradually transition to two days in a row at a time.
“Rest day” can be misleading, though. You do not have to stop exercising these days. Rather, take it easier and give the parts of your body that you work out a bit of a break. For instance, if you usually strength train, you could go for a walk.
7. Evaluate Your Diet
Keep a journal of what you're eating, how much, and when. You could be eating larger portions without realizing it or eating more processed foods. Focus on more fresh foods with vitamins and protein.
Cutting your calories might help with a fitness plateau as long as you do not go below 1,200 a day. Make sure you’re eating enough to support your physical activities.
8. Work With a Personal Trainer
Personal trainers can offer motivation, fresh ideas, accountability, and expertise. They can devise a tailored training plan that helps you break through this plateau and avoid future ones.
9. Increase Your Everyday Physical Activity
Little changes can net big results. If you usually take the elevator wherever you go, try the stairs instead. When you drive somewhere, park farther away from the doors. Try biking for some errands instead of driving. Increasing your daily physical activity can stimulate your brain and body, too.
10. Use Different Gear
If you typically use weight machines, try free weights, kettlebells, resistance bands, or stability balls instead. They'll work your muscles in different ways.
11. Periodize Your Workouts
If you perform weightlifting, try fewer reps with heavier weights or more reps with lighter weights. Drop sets can help build your muscle growth and endurance, too (which you can track). If you’re a bicyclist, try adding hills to your workout or train at less intensity for a longer distance.
Tracking Your Progress To Prevent or Bust Through a Fitness Plateau
A fitness plateau does not have to be inevitable or a slog to break through. If you use ZOZOFIT's 3D body scanning technology, you can see your progress at a precise level and that will help keep everyone motivated. It can give you an indicator of whether you are about to plateau so you can switch your routine earlier and maximize efficiency. Check out the ZOZOSUIT today for stress-free tracking.