How to overcome hitting a wall in your fitness program..
So you’re really enjoying your regular fitness sessions, whether its with a personal trainer or by yourself at the gym, then suddenly you come to a bit of a standstill, this is called plateauing and if you train smart you can avoid these or overcome them. A plateau is when you stop seeing progress on your sessions this could be that your paces stay the same, your unable to raise the weight your lifting as it doesn’t feel comfortable enough or you can’t get that extra pull-up.
All of the above are pretty frustrating and could mean your muscles are just too used to the program your doing. Once in a while its useful for both progress and motivation to try new exercises/sports. These could just mean swapping a lifting exercise for a bodyweight one that will still hit the area you want to work, but also get other muscles that aren’t being worked moving.
Another way of beating that plateau is to periodise your training programs, I use this way to put my training into specific phases aiming for a particular goal/target such as a date of a competition. The phases will be written in a way so that your body is conditioned in a certain way during each phase. So this is an easy way to swap and change the intensity by adding reps/sets, decreasing/adding rest and changing the timing of performing the movements.
Other ways are to totally change your exercise regime by trying out new sports or ways to exercise. This way of avoiding the plateau can also get around the feelings of demotivation some people feel, especially coming back from a period of absence from your program through injury or holidays. Changing your weekly exercise class or jumping on a bike instead of going for a run could just ignite that fire inside you to start reaching those goals you had your eye on before your break.
A plateau in exercise is much the same as in weightloss, they’re both frustrating and can cause people to throw their hands on the air and have a wobble. If they don’t know what’s happening they can also just give up, leaving the program and everything they’ve worked solidly for. If your suffering from this at the moment I would suggest looking at your program and seeing if you can change the volume and intensity of the exercises first, add more reps in and after you’ve done that see if you can change how hard your working. Challenge yourself, it may be uncomfortable at the start but remember back to how you felt initially when you made that first step, make those challenges so your body can start making new adaptations and you can start feeling like you are achieving something again.
Also be patient and kind to yourself too we can’t PB all the time it's just not possible physically or mentally. There will be times when you will have a quiet period but those are the times where you can rethink your goals/targets and this will hopefully re-engage your hunger and need to achieve them. So as you can see hitting a wall in regards to your training can be turned around and made into a positive ‘blip’ in your training regime. It's a time for rethinking not walking away, for switching it up to be more challenging not switching it for a more sedentary life. Believe me I have these periods but I put my head down and work through them and I won’t lie and say that’s easy especially if the goal you’ve set yourself is getting further away even with the progress you are making. Just remember your in this fitness game for the long-haul and no matter how long it takes you and how many plateaus you have to jump over to avoid you will get there!