Have your ever wondered why positive results are reaped fast and furious when you first start following a workout plan?
Noticeable changes motivate you to stick to the plan. After a few weeks, though, you hit a slow point in progress then, WHAM!, you just can’t make any more gains. That is, if you have been sticking to the same plan without changing it up.
Muscles Have Memory Cells!
Our bodies are adaptable geniuses with muscles that become efficient to tasks in a relatively short period of time. This is why you’ll plateau with any workout plan you try. An imperative component to successful workout regimens is to change. Keep your muscles guessing.
If you keep doing the same exercises without mixing things up, your smart muscles will adapt and find a way to perform the activity in an annoyingly efficient way. Annoying because efficiency means less calorie burn doing the very same activity that initially obtained noticeable results.
Don’t Get Discouraged!
Be smarter than your muscles! Unless being stuck in idle seeing little progress makes you happy, DO NOT settle into a routine longer than 4 weeks.
4 weeks? Yes, 4 weeks. You should be changing up your exercise routine every 4 weeks. It doesn’t matter if you are following a strength training plan, cardio workout regimen, or a nice mix of both. If you don’t change, positive gains will poop out around 4 weeks.
Examples to Avoid Plateauing
- Incorporate new exercises: You may choose an exercise that works the same muscle group, just in a different way. For example, instead of seated rows, change to a standing row with feet staggered.
- Changes to strength training plans could simply be increase the weight. Note: Increase in weight will mean less reps. You might also add another set to the routine.
- Change cardio training by varying the intensity. Have a day where you go longer at an easier pace and another day where you go all out in effort for a shorter training time (with proper warm up and cool down unless you want to take on an injury!)
- Don’t forget diet: A strategy to helping with weight loss or weight gain goals depending on what you personally hope to achieve is to change up your diet. Your body being the adaptable machine that it is will also adapt to a consistent diet regimen. So, if you desire to lose weight, have some days that are lighter on calories than others, but don’t go to extremes. Are you on the opposite spectrum and seek weight gain? Add in healthy fats like nuts, peanut butter, or avocados to meals or include extra snack times. Just don’t get stuck eating at the same time and roughly the same thing day after day. Your body will go efficient on you and achieving desired results will be difficult.
- Last but not least, sometimes you just need some good old rest. Take a week off. Do light activity. There is nothing wrong with walking, in fact, there are benefits to be gained from a nice stroll.