Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How To Break Through a Plateau

Whether we like it or not, we are all likely to hit a plateau in our training or find ourselves just coasting instead of having a  serious goal or plan. This actually isn't a bad thing, it gives you time to kind of relax a bit (as still as you're making an effort to get to the gym and eat well) while not losing too much progress. This is where I've found myself the last couple of months-- still training pretty hard and eating pretty well but not going above and beyond to excel at either, so I decided starting this week it was time to kick it up a notch. B and I are implementing circuit training into our routine 3-4x per week and then 2 heavier lifting days where we focus on muscles we want to grow (glutes for me chest for him). Additionally we will do cardio on 2-3 of our circuit days since those workouts tend to be a bit shorter. I will admit, these last two circuit days in the gym have been HARD, like verge of puking, heart pounding out of our chests, dizzy, hard but we have pushed through and are definitely liking it so far! We are going to do this for the next 4 weeks and then re-evaluate what we want to do when September rolls around. 

Here are a few tips to refer back to when you're in a plateau or just want to change things up: 

1. Change your style of training. If you have been training for strength, move into higher reps for a while. If you haven't done cardio, try adding in circuit training or active rests to your lifting schedule. It's easy to get comfortable with a certain style of training and it can be hard to force yourself to do something you may not like as much, but if you really want to make some changes sometimes its necessary. 

2. Manipulate cardio. There are so many ways to get your cardio in, and if you're someone that has been doing 30 minutes of steady state cardio for the last 6 months its probably time to switch it up. HIIT it is great for fat burning; I like doing 20 second all out I might die before 20 seconds is up and then recovering for the rest of the minute (40 seconds). Repeat this 15 times. You can also do tabatas, hiking, circuits, bleachers, swimming, biking etc. 

3. Pay closer attention to nutrition. If you've just been coasting through your nutrition and eating 'mostly' healthy try cracking down on yourself a bit. Get out the ol' My Fitness Pal app and start taking a closer look at your macros and what you're actually eating. If you've been a bit more lax with more processed foods, condiments etc. cut those out for a while and see if you can tell a difference in your physique. 

4. Make sure you haven't been overtraining. Sometimes when people hit plateaus it's because their bodies have just had too much for too long. If you've been training heavy and hard for 12+ weeks it may be time to take a break. Taking 5-7 days away from the gym can really make a big difference mentally and physically, and don't worry, you won't regress in just 5-7 days I promise!! 


  1. Can you post an example of one of your circuit trainings?

    1. Hi Donna,

      We are starting out with more total body stuff and then will move into body part specific training. Here's what we did today:
      Lat pulldown
      Shoulder press
      leg extensions
      mountain climbers
      30 second sprint on the stairs


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