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How to Overcome a Fitness Plateau

Are you feeling stuck in your fitness journey? Have you winded down to where you no longer see progress despite your consistent efforts? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You may be experiencing what we call a fitness plateau. 

The good news is that there are ways to overcome it and continue making progress toward your fitness goals. In this blog post, we’ll explore some effective strategies for breaking through a workout plateau and reaching new levels of strength, endurance, and overall fitness. So, let’s get started and reignite your journey to fitness!

What is a Fitness Plateau?

Fitness Plateau

A fitness plateau is a point in your fitness journey where you seem to have hit a wall, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to make any progress. It’s a period where your body has adapted to the exercises and routine you’ve been doing, and your progress has slowed down or even come to a halt.

It can be quite frustrating, especially if you’ve been putting in a lot of effort and not seeing any results.

There are several types of workout plateaus, and they can occur in different aspects of fitness.

Strength gain and muscle growth plateaus are when you’ve been lifting weights or doing strength training for a while but you’re no longer seeing any improvement in your strength and muscles. It can happen because your muscles have adapted to the workouts and weights you’ve been lifting, so you burn fewer calories and build less muscle.

You need to challenge them in a new way like going for more weight to continue seeing progress in gaining strength and building muscle mass.

The more common weight loss plateau is when you’ve been trying to lose body weight, but you’ve hit a certain point where you’re no longer seeing any progress, or worst, you gain weight instead. It can happen because your body adapts to the diet and the same exercise routine you’ve been following, and you need to make some changes to continue to lose weight.

What Causes a Fitness Plateau?

Fitness Plateau

There are a few different factors that can contribute to a fitness plateau. Here are some of the most common causes:

Lack of variety in your workout routine: If you’ve been doing the same exercises and routines for a long time, your body may have adapted to them, and you’re no longer challenging your muscles in new ways. This can lead to a plateau in strength gain or muscle growth.

Overtraining: Overtraining can be counterproductive and a workout plateau occurs most probably. Our body needs time to rest and recover after a workout, especially if you’re doing strength training or high-intensity exercises. If you’re not giving your body enough time to recover, you may not see progress or even regress in your fitness level.

Poor nutrition: Your diet plays a crucial role in your fitness journey. If you’re not eating enough protein or consuming too many calories, you may not see progress in muscle growth or weight loss.

Lack of sleep: Your body needs adequate bedtime to recover and repair itself after a workout. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may experience fatigue, slower recovery, and a lack of progress in your fitness.

How Can You Tell If You’ve Hit Fitness Plateau?

Fitness Plateau

Wondering if you’re in the stage of a fitness plateau? Here are the tell-tale signs:

You’re not seeing any progress: If you’ve been working out consistently and following a healthy diet, but you’re not seeing any improvements in your strength, muscle growth, or weight loss, it could be a sign that you’ve hit a fitness plateau.

You’re not feeling challenged: If your fitness routine feels too easy, you’re not feeling sore or fatigued after your workouts, or simply put, you’re not feeling challenged, it could be a sign that your body has adapted to the regular workouts you’re doing.

Your motivation is waning: If you’re feeling unmotivated or bored with your routine, it could be a sign that you’ve hit a plateau and need to switch things up.

Ways to Break Through Fitness Plateau 

Overcome Fitness Plateau

Hitting a fitness plateau can be a frustrating experience, whether you’re trying to gain strength, build muscle, or lose weight. The good news is that there are many ways to overcome a plateau and reach your fitness target. Here are some great tips:

Try a New Workout Program

If you’ve been doing the same workout routine for the first few weeks or months, your body may have adapted to it. To stimulate new muscle growth and strength gains, try a new exercise program.

If you always use machines, give free weights or a stability ball a shot or add more weight. Try push-ups if you normally use a bench press for chest exercises. Look for varied exercises that emphasize different muscle groups or incorporate different types of workouts.

Change Your Training Volume and Intensity

If you’ve been doing the same number of sets and reps with the same weight for a while, it may be time to change things up through progressive overload. Try to increase or decrease the number of sets by adding more reps, or changing your lifts with a heavier weight.

You can also try changing the rest periods between sets, the tempo of your lifts and weight lifting, and overall training efforts.

Incorporate High-intensity Interval Training

HIIT is a type of cardio exercise that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. This type of training can help you break through a weight loss plateau by increasing your calorie burn and metabolism.

Incorporate Active Recovery

Active recovery involves doing low-intensity exercise or mobility work to help your muscles recover and prevent injury. Incorporating active recovery into your routine can help you break through a plateau by allowing you to rebuild muscle and recover more efficiently while having adequate rest from intense activities.

Try a New Sport or Activity

Trying a new sport or activity can help you challenge your body in new ways and break through a plateau. Look for a sport or other activities or workouts like plyometric or resistance training, which is found by sports medicine to have various physical and mental benefits. Also, try to lift weights that emphasize different muscle groups or require different types of movements.

Focus on Your Form

Proper form is essential for building strength and muscle and preventing injury. If you’ve been focusing on lifting heavier weights or adding more repetitions, try reducing the weight and focusing on perfecting your form.

This can help you break through a plateau by improving your mind-muscle connection and helping you recruit more muscle fibers.

Change Your Diet

If you’ve been following the same diet plan for a while, your body may have adapted to it. Try changing your macronutrient ratios (protein, carbs, and fat), reducing your calorie intake, or increasing your protein intake.

You can also try incorporating more whole, nutrient-dense foods or enough calories into your diet if you’re more physically active. Also best to consult experts in nutrition and public health to recommend a better meal plan.

Get More Sleep

Sleep is essential for muscle recovery and growth. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can hinder your progress. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and try to establish a consistent sleep schedule. As a result of this, your muscles eventually grow and get stronger. 

Use a Personal Trainer or Coach

Hiring a personal trainer or coach can be an effective way to overcome a fitness plateau. A qualified professional can help you identify weaknesses, adjust your training program, and provide you with new workouts or techniques to help you break through a plateau.

Change Your Training Environment

Changing your training environment can help provide new challenges and stimuli for your body. For example, if you’re one of the avid gym goers, try training outside or in a different gym. This can help break through a plateau by keeping your body guessing and constantly adapting to new environments.

How Long Does a Gym Plateau Last?

The duration of a gym plateau can vary from person to person, and it depends on several factors, such as the cause of the plateau, the workout intensity and consistency, your diet, rest, and recovery, and your overall fitness level.

In some cases, a workout plateau may last only a few weeks, while in others, it may take a few months to overcome. However, with consistent effort, dedication, and smart training strategies, most people can break through a workout plateau.

Will a Weight Loss Plateau Go Away On Its Own?

In some cases, a weight loss plateau may go away on its own, especially if you continue to follow a healthy diet and exercise routine. However, it’s important to note that weight loss plateaus can be frustrating and discouraging, and they may indicate that you need to make some adjustments.

Final Note

It’s essential to understand that hitting a plateau is a normal part of any fitness journey as time passes, and it happens to everyone. What’s important is to stay motivated, focused, and consistent. Look on the bright side and feel better about having reached a certain progress, you’ve shed far more weight than before, and your clothes fit better.

But if you want to break through a fitness plateau, you’ll need a combination of effort, experimentation, and dedication. By incorporating the strategies and workout plan mentioned earlier, you can overcome your plateau and continue to make progress toward your goals of a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.