Earlier this year, I hit a plateau. I stopped losing weight. (Dun dun dun!) Almost anyone going through a dramatic body transformation will hit a plateau, so don’t you worry. It’s perfectly normal, but it’s necessary for you to break through it if you want to continue your transformation. (Except in my case, it was due to slacking throughout the summer. And boy, did I learn my lesson!) Here’s some helpful info that’s helped me deal with mine and I hope you find it useful, too!
The obvious way to get off your plateau, and what most people will tell you, is to increase your cardio and decrease your daily calorie intake. But there are many things you can do before you make these dramatic changes. Sometimes it’s just a matter of tweaking the little things!
- Discipline – This is really what it comes down to (at least for me.) I haven’t been as disciplined this year as I have been in the past. What I mean by discipline is making sure you never miss a work out, consistent clean eating, drinking large amounts of water (I drink about 5-6L a day), and getting at least 6 hours of sleep every night. Sound impossible? Well, that’s why you need to work hard to discipline yourself because this shit ain’t easy.
- Mind Your Rest Times – This is the very first tip Kris (my fiance) gave me when I told him I hit a plateau. He asked me how long my rest times were in between my sets during my workouts. My answer? Ummm one minute. I think. I don’t really count. I knew right away that was not good enough. Depending on your fitness level and type of workouts that you do, rest periods can be anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 seconds. But the important thing is that you pay attention to it! I started using 30 seconds in between my sets and OMG it’s made such a difference. My workouts are more intense and they honestly feel so amazing. When you manage your rest times efficiently between your sets, your actual weight training also becomes a cardio workout (how freakin’ cool, right?) So make sure you wear your watch (These jelly type of watches work best because they’re simple and I can sweat all over it.)
- Meal Frequency – This one is tough to keep for busy folks like myself. But there is no excuse for missing a meal! Try scheduling your (small) meals into your calendar to eat every 3 hours or so. On super busy and marathon work days, I have an alarm that nudges me to eat a meal. Prepping your meals the night before will also help immensely. Keep up with your groceries and make sure you always have something healthy within arm’s reach. By having healthy food ready at all times, you’re less likely to pig out on impulse fast food meals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to McDonalds just because I was that hungry. And when I’m hungry, I am weak :(
- Change Your Routine – If you’ve been doing the same workouts for awhile, your body will get used to them. I switch workout programs every 12 weeks so that my body doesn’t get used to the same movements. I get my workouts (usually) from BodyBuilding.com. You can also change the time of day when you work out (try working out in the mornings before work instead of after), or change the order in which you perform the exercises. For example, on a legs day if you tend to do leg press – leg extensions – hamstring curls – squats, try changing it up and doing it all in reverse. I promise you will feel a different type of soreness the next day.
- Motivate Yourself – This is one of the hardest things to do when you’ve hit a plateau. It’s so easy to lose hope and feel like shit when things start to go downhill (and I’ve been there). I’ve gone through so many ‘fat days’ when I don’t want to do anything or see anyone because I felt really bad about my progress and it becomes a terrible cycle to be in. How to get out of it? Well, this is what I did: I looked at old photos of myself. It’s easy to get discouraged when you are focusing on how much more you have to do instead of looking back and see how far you’ve come. I went through some folders and found older photos of myself at my heaviest and it was an instant feeling of pride. I wanted to give myself a hug; hell yeah I am fucking awesome. I’ve come so far and I’m not going to let a few months of my own lack of discipline get in the way of my next progress photo. In fact, I felt so proud that I decided to show it to you guys!