You’re spending hours in the gym several times a week but lately you have the feeling that your fitness progress have stalled. If you think you’ve hit a workout plateau, try these five things.
1 PROPER DIET: When your progress stops, we advise you to first take a look at your diet. Reconsider and evaluate your nutritional plan. Are you eating too much? Are you eating too little? Does your diet consist of food groups that are in fact affecting your progress? It’s also possible that your metabolism has reached its limit – your body always tries to achieve a state of homeostasis or equilibrium – which might require a shift in macronutrient ratios. Make sure you eat enough carbs, fat and protein to support your training efforts.
2 SUFFICIENT HYDRATION: Do you drink enough water? People often forget on the importance of sufficient water intake. Adequate hydration is essential for building muscle as well as fat loss. Dehydration can actually make you hold on to excess water, which makes you look puffy. Aim to drink so much water that urine remains a very pale, clear yellow. Try to drink about 2-3 litres per day.
3 ENOUGH SLEEP: How not getting enough sleep affects our training efforts or ability to drop pounds has a lot to do with our hormonal balance, much of which is regulated during sleep. Two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that signals you when to eat, and when you lack sleep, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that signals you when to stop eating, and when you lack sleep, you have less leptin. Therefore, increased levels of ghrelin and decreased levels of leptin often lead to weight gain. And of course, lack of sleep lower your energy levels and affects your athletic performance.
4 CARDIO EXERCISE: If you’re facing a workout plateau and have already tried all of the above, try doing some high-intensity cardio in order to stimulate your metabolism. Whenever you feel your progress has stopped, a few sprint workouts are a great decision to add to your weekly program. Perform treadmill incline sprints or, even better, a track run to hopefully get your metabolism moving in the right direction again.
5 WEIGHT TRAINING: Finally, if all else has failed to yield the desired results, it may be time to change your weight training routine. Try changing the types or order of exercises, the rep and set structure, or the weight load you use could be what is necessary to start making progress once again.