We all love seeing progress when we’re working hard at the gym and eating the right foods. Who doesn’t want to see how many inches you’ve lost or how much better your jeans fit? But sometimes you seem to be doing everything right and not seeing anything change. It can be one of the most frustrating things ever, and can leave you feeling unmotivated and just wanting to give up.
I know, because I’ve been there!
When you start out on your health and fitness journey, you typically begin to see results right away. That’s because you are doing things with your body that it isn’t used to. However, over time, your new fit and healthy lifestyle becomes a routine. Your body may become accustomed to this new way of living, the exercises you do and the food you eat. So no matter how diligent you are about your routine, your body may eventually not change that much as a result!
When you’re hitting the wall in terms of weight loss or muscle definition, don’t despair. Here are the key steps that have helped me smash through a plateau and keep seeing those awesome results.
If you feel your body has reached a plateau and you’re still looking for some additional changes, here are some of the things you can try to do to break through:
- Don’t use weight as the only measure of progress
Sometimes we think we have reached a plateau because the number on the scale isn’t going down any more. I can’t emphasize enough how much you shouldn’t determine your body’s progress by your scale, as I recently wrote on my blog. In fact, sometimes putting on weight can be a sign of progress – as long as it’s muscle, not fat! I’ve gone up 10 pounds since last year and I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I always encourage my clients to measure results by how they look in photos, by their body measurements and by the way clothes fit. This is going to give you a much better indication of progress than the number on the scale.
- Change your workout routine
Your body will get used to any type of exercise. If you are continuously doing the same thing, day in and day out, your body won’t respond the way it did when you first started. It’s important to keep your workouts changing on a constant basis.
That is why I design the program for my clients the way that I do. As soon as a client’s body adapts to the exercise routine, I change the intensity or type of exercise. When you add variation to your own exercise routine, not only will you find you’re capable of increasingly complex and challenging moves, it will help you naturally break through plateaus and boost your motivation.
- Up your weights
So many women get scared of increasing the amount of weight they incorporate into their weight training because they think it will build bigger muscles. I can assure you that this isn’t the case.
If you want to sculpt and tone, but are having a hard time feeling the effects like you did when you began weight training, it’s time to move to some heavier weights.
You’ll know you’re ready for a weight increase if your results are flat or if you realize the ones you’re lifting aren’t challenging you the way they used to!
- Change your diet
If you have been dieting for a long time, there’s a good chance your metabolism has slowed down to match your intake. If you want to break through a plateau, not only is it important to change your exercise routine, it’s just as important to change the way you eat. And don’t worry, I’m not talking about eating even less than you already do!
When I’ve hit a plateau, I like to try dietary changes including “carb cycling,” where I create a schedule of days each week when I consume different amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods. So, for example, if you’ve been eating a low carb diet for a long time, the carb cycling plan would introduce one day a week that includes a lot more carbohydrates than your body might be used to.
Some people call it a “cheat day,” but you should make sure that even your high-carb meals ideally include high-nutrition complex carbs like fruits and whole grains instead of an entire pizza and cake to wash it down! The idea of carb cycling is to reset your hormones and metabolism so your body doesn’t get stuck in stasis, bot gorging yourself on unhealthy sweets and treats.
Are you in the middle of a plateau? I’d love to hear how these tips for breaking through work for you!