A lot of you have written me about “breaking plateus” in fitness. We’ve all been there. One week you totally nailed your food and workouts. You step on that scale and BOOM. No movement. This happened to me when I was about 140 lbs, size 8. Know why I remember it? BECAUSE IT WAS TRAUMATIC. It took WEEKS, I mean WEEKS to figure out what the hell was going on. I cut alcohol, I increased cardio, I tried weights. NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING. If you’re facing a fitness plateau, here are a few things that might be hindering the process:
*You might not be eating correctly: So you’re killing it with salads, fish, lean meats and protein. First off, why? One issue you might be having is you are not eating enough food. When your body starts to feel like it’s starving, it adjusts itself to regulate, meaning it is saying, “Hold on to this fat, because you’re going hungry!” (There’s more science to this, but you get the point) Make sure you are hitting all your macro nutrients. If you don’t know what yours are, there’s a free calculator here. Or maybe you are following your diet, but it is only about 50% clean food. Here’s the thing, IIFYM can only work to a certain point. At some point, maybe the last 4 weeks before a competition, you may have to get pretty “bro.” Oh and did I mention they took away booze? How the hell am I supposed to deal with life NOW?! I’m doing a photo shoot for charity right before Thanksgiving and am about to go on another cut. Goodbye booze, goodbye fun. The suffering is temporary.
Be sure you’re eating the correct foods in the correct amount, at the correct time, and for the love of god, EAT CARBS. They are delicious and without them, it is hard to build muscle. There are some times when it is appropriate to slash carbs, but 99% of the time, it’s not a good time.
*Your workouts aren’t changing: I’ve seen people drop a TON of weight just training on the elliptical or treadmill. They get on and go, and lose more weight than you can imagine. Here’s what eventually happens though; they hit a wall HARD. When your body starts adjusting to your workouts, it’s not working to burn calories. Sometimes it needs a shock to the system. This week, I slowed it down and did Hot Yoga and my poor body went into revolt. But most importantly, I saw changes.
Please don’t be a slave to the elliptical. Another important thing to know about cardio is that it won’t build the muscle up under the fat so it’s important to integrate some type of weight or resistance training into your workouts. Too much cardio=saggy butt.
*You’re not pushing yourself: THIS is the reason I have a trainer. My trainer Tracy makes me do the stuff I don’t want to do. For example, I do NOT like training triceps. Because mine are weak and take forever to change. Tracy makes me do em. I don’t love in studio training because I get distracted, so I have an awesome app where she uploads my workouts. I can do them remotely and I get everything I need. I also try to switch up my cardio by going to classes at Title Boxing Club or Orange Theory. My point is you must make yourself uncomfortable. If you get through a workout and go, “Hey that wasn’t so bad,” it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Also, having an instructor will make you work the parts of your body you don’t like. I have a terrible time with triceps. If it was up to me, I’d train legs all day every day, but I’d look like a weirdo.
*You’re focused on the scale: I know I’ve pointed this out before, but the scale really is just a number. Make sure you have other benchmarks of progress like selfies or taking measurements. You’re going to need this when it gets down to the wire. I’m serious. Battling the scale is a constant struggle for me. Again, I’ve included progress pics to hammer this into your head.
*You’re being unrealistic: Set benchmark goals. Get off instagram, and stop comparing. This is easier said then done for me. *Eats donut and cries over Paige Hathaway’s Instagram* In that second progress picture, I was pretty f*cking happy. I had no goal to compete or to have professional photos taken; I just wanted to wear a damn tank top. You have started this process, so your only competition is YOU. Bodybuilding is an art, it is about consistently and slowly making progress with what works for YOUR body. Embrace your own struggle and own that shit.
Got any other advice for those trying to break the plateau? Drop it below!