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What can I do to get past a fitness plateau?

Robert DeVito
Fitness
One strategy at a time
When you begin a workout regimen, the changes are significant. The body works hard to figure out how to adapt to these “new, unaccustomed” stimuli and you burn significant energy performing the work AND adjusting to the work. Our body is great at conserving and storing energy. Adaptation is a disadvantage to improving fitness levels.
 
Drink water
Increasing the amount of water you drink will aid in appetite control, improve workout performance, enhance recovery and occupy you so you do not eat as much food. Strive for .5 - 1.0 oz. per pound of bodyweight.
 
Increase workout intensity
Track the weights that you are using and strive to add repetitions with the same weight or to increase the amount of weight being lifted. Not only is this mentally challenging, but you are forcing the body to adapt to a new stimulus. Be sure to strength train 3-4 times per week. Maintaining muscle tissue aids in keeping your metabolism high and creates an athletic appearance.
 
Increase daily activity
Most people confuse busy and active.  We tend not to move nearly as much as we think we do.  Getting out for a daily walk or any other type of activity for 20-40 minutes will keep you active and allow your body to feel better, which would enhance your planned strength workouts. Add mobility and stability work daily to ensure joint and muscle health.
 
Improve food quality

Similar to movement, most people dramatically over-estimate how well they eat. Track your daily quality carbohydrate intake and/or vegetable servings, track your protein intake and track your non-nutritive food intake to see where improvements can be made.
Strive for .5 - 1.0 grams per lb. of bodyweight for protein. 
 
Sleep
Add an hour to your sleep cycle.  We live in a rapid and busy society. Sleep is essential to recovery and will have you feeling refreshed and energetic, enabling you to be more active and train harder during workouts.
 
Meet with a Coach
If the above strategies do not have a positive impact, then meet with a professional coach to problem solve and improve your knowledge base in nutrition and weight training. Their expertise will surely help you save time and improve results.
Continually doing the same type of exercise can lead to what's called a fitness plateau, where you won't continue to realize the same gains from your investment of time (and sweat). One way to outfox the fitness plateau is to cross train. This doesn't mean you need to develop or learn complex routines, but you do need a variety of activities. Here are a few examples of cross-training strategies:
  • Run and done: If you’re a dedicated runner, ride a bike or take some yoga classes in place of your regular run.
  • Be class conscious: If you only do Zumba, try a different group exercise class to change it up.
  • Stretch yourself: If yoga is all you do, consider going for a swim each week, or play some tennis.
  • Don’t “weight” to change: If you never venture out of the weight room in a gym, consider training for a 5K run.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.