Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Powering Through Plateaus

It's that time of year. Those who started, and have stuck with, their new year's resolution are starting to get frustrated - they are hitting what's commonly referred to as the plateau and are on the verge of giving up. 

We all know that seeing results can be motivating, but if your progress has come to a halt but you haven't quite hit your goal yet don't quit. Getting back on track can be as easy as making a tiny tweak to your routine. 

Ask yourself the following questions and get back on road to success.

Are you getting enough rest?

Recovery and adequate rest is just as important as exercise and fitness. If you aren’t getting the rest you need your body simply can’t function properly. 7-8 hours of rest per night and at least one full day of rest from exercise is recommended to see the most improvement in reaching your fitness-related goals.

Adequate rest also reduces the risk of injury or overtraining.

Are you stuck in a routine?

Change happens outside of your comfort zone. Your body needs a challenging stimulus to improve. When you do the same class, route, pace or activity every day your body is going to adapt.   

Weight lifters – You might be resistant, but add a walk on an inclined treadmill for 15-20 minutes before your lifting session or on off days. Moderate cardiovascular activity is good for your heart, can increase metabolism and may improve recovery ability. It can also lead to an increase in lean muscle mass. Other change agents:  Use dumbbells for your bench press instead of barbell or change your repetition count and weight.

These small changes can make a big difference in training.

Cardio addicts – You’ve found, and relish, that “runners high” or you breeze through your 50-mile bike ride with ease. Use a timer to incorporate intervals, changing between sprints and your standard pace. Reevaluating and adjusting your cardio can be simple, but the most important thing to remember is to be sure you are adding in strength training. 

Strength training will build lean muscle mass so your body becomes even more of a calorie-burning machine. If you don't like to hit the weight floor, hop in a group fitness class or press play on a strength training video at home.

Class regulars – try something new ! We know you love your regular schedule and your accountability partners, but change might be in order – at least for a short period. If you are taking two body sculpting classes each week maybe you swap one out for a bootcamp or yoga class.
It’s all about comradery, right? Invite one of your fitness friends to make the change with you – sometimes it’s easier in pairs.

Are you eating the right amount of healthy foods?
You may think you eat perfect, but when we increase exercise frequency or intensity two things tend to happen: 1) hunger increases and 2) we overestimate calorie burn.

It is important to look at your nutrition habits and caloric intake to make sure they are appropriate for your body weight and activity level. You can find out your caloric needs by using this calculator: http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy_living_tools_content.aspx?id=4
{HINT: Most people with a sedentary job and planned exercise should use the 2nd Activity Level from the Left}

If you aren’t logging your food, start now. You may find that you are right on track. But you might also realize that you are grazing more than you thought or that you aren’t getting enough vegetables or whole grains.

As you evaluate your current process use the above to identify areas of change. Best of luck as you continue on your successful fitness journey!

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