discouraged athlete

What is Plateau Effect – And The Best Way To Avoid It

You could be experiencing a plateau if you have been working out for some time and are not seeing any progress. This can happen to anyone, whether you are beginner or more experience one.  You’re constantly running faster, improving your endurance, increasing your loads in the gym, and suddenly your results stop progressing and stagnate. Say hello to the dreaded plateau effect.

Plateau effect can really discourage you from making progress. Those dips and rises are challenging to say the least. However, the plateau effect is a normal and natural part of any fitness journey. While you may see the most progress at the beginning of your training program, this will naturally slow down over time as your body adapts to the challenge. This is something that can happen to any body, and when it does, it can be really demotivating and discouraging not to continue to see progress.

A plateau can easily be avoided by doing one thing: NOT GIVING UP ON YOURSELF!

Being consistent with your workouts, your meals, and your healthy lifestyle while challenging yourself in new ways, is a great way to avoid this nasty thing known as a fitness plateau.

What is a Plateau?

A plateau is known as a phase where you body adapts to your current fitness/eating program and doesn’t obtain any further progress. The problem is, a plateau is actually quite hard to be stuck in, but when it does happen, it can be the most demotivating thing ever.

Think of this:

When you begin a new fitness routine, or change your lifestyle, immediately your body will respond, the weight will begin to drop almost instantly. This is why it’s always known that “the first 10lbs are easy to lose”. This is usually bloating/water weight, and an instant response through good digestion from eating better.

This sudden change of lifestyle and instant progress causes you to become happy, motivated and more confident. Once you begin to see all the hard work that you’re putting into your new lifestyle is working, this is super rewarding and highly motivating.

But after a few weeks, or even months later when you begin to notice that your stomach isn’t getting any leaner, or your weights are going up any more, it becomes discouraging and demotivating, which can lead you to think you’re in a plateau. But are you really? Have you tracked your meals for at least a week to really see what you’ve been eating? Have you planned all your workouts and stuck to them?

Read also: Easy Fitness Hacks That Make Exercise More Simple

Are you really giving it all you can?

When someone changes their lifestyle it is obvious the body will respond right away, but something you have to keep in mind is consistent progress will slow over time unless you adjust your program.

This is when you need to take a good look at what you’re doing, and a great way to see it clearly, is to write it all down.

+ Start a food and exercise journal and begin to write down everything you eat. Every. Single. Bite.

+ Plan your weekly workouts and write them all down, knowing which muscle group you’ll be working, and write out the exercises you want to use.

+ Keep track of your activity level; Are you sitting all night after work? Are you making an effort to do all the small things to be a little more active, even if that means to park as far away from the grocery door as possible? Or to walk two extra blocks with the dog?

After tracking all activities, workouts and meals into your journal for at least a week, spend the time to study it. At this point, if you are doing every thing right (eating at least 80% – 90% clean foods, working out 4-6 times each week and sleeping at least 7 hours every night) then you can consider yourself in a plateau.

If on the other hand, you’re see that you aren’t eating at least 80% clean foods, and you’ve been working out 3 times a week with only 4-6 hours of sleep. You probably aren’t in a plateau, your body just isn’t in the right situation for weight loss or leaning out.

How  to get out of a Plateau

Focus on all the small things. Rather than thinking about that big long-term fitness goal of yours; focus on all the tiny steps that will take you there.

Working out 3 days out of 7 isn’t going to get you the body you want. Is that going to be enough to get you up the stairs without losing your breath? If you are only eating 40% clean foods, you’ll feel bloated along with seeing a bloated belly. Eat each day for health and happiness.

Think small steps.

How to avoid Fitness Plateau

Now, going back to the beginning of this post:

“A plateau is known as a phase where you body adapts to your current
fitness/eating program and doesn’t obtain any further progress.”

This doesn’t only mean for the newbies. Every one who enjoys physical activity and eats healthy, can and do, hit a plateau. This is one of the reasons why you hear me say “avoid a plateau” so much around here.

Pushing yourself to the max during every workout, working on increasing your strength, changing your workout program, adding new exercises into your routine, eating better foods, experiencing different ways of eating (carb backloading, eating low carb, creating cheat days, carb cycling) all of these things WILL help avoid a plateau. Your body has no choice but to respond to the changes that you put it through.

The more your body responds, the less chance you will hit a plateau. So really, when you think of it, there is no “secret” to fitness success. You just need to develop what works for you, and work with it hard!