Tips On Plateaus
Plateaus are inevitable. You’ll start out training, see great progress quickly, and then those results will slowly steady out. After a while, you might even feel like you’re not making any progress at all. This has got to be one of the most frustrating feelings in the world.
Fear not, for I have some tips to help you get through these plateaus.
BUT FIRST – wear your plateau like a badge of honor.
Yes, it’s a good thing.
When you first start training, you’re in what we call the “alarm phase.” That’s your body recognizing a new stimulant and making rapid changes. This is usually where you see the “new person gains.” After these initial 1-3 weeks, you then hit the period of adaptation for the next 4-16 weeks. During this time, your body starts to adapt to what you’re currently doing, and inevitably the perceived progress tends to slow down.
But that’s a huge win! A plateau means that you’ve been seriously consistent for close to 4 months! GO. YOU.
So how do we get through that period of adaptation? We have to introduce a new alarm phase. This doesn’t mean we need to start an entirely new program, but it does mean we have to do something different on your journey. The differences could be in your mobility/recovery, levels of intensity, or even your training frequency.
Focus More On Your Recovery
Recovery is one of the hardest things for us busy adults to truly focus on…. because we’re busy adults with life stressors that demand a ton from us! Training is all about tearing down your muscles safely and effectively so that they can build up to be even stronger (same for endurance, flexibility, etc). If you are never feeling fully rested and recovered, how can we expect to get through the adaptation and back into an alarm phase? Here are a few symptoms of not feeling recovered:
- Achy joints that don’t seem to get any better
- Fatiguing easily throughout the day (not just in your workout)
- Nagging injuries
- Lackluster performance in the gym (ie: feeling slow, a lack of “pop” in your movement, strength is diminished).
Here are some ways we can focus on recovery:
- Focusing on sleep
- Or at least BEING in bed for 8 hours of the day. There is a high correlation between amount of time spent in bed and amount of time sleeping!
- Focusing on hydration.
- Eating your proper macronutrients and calories (shoot Coach Rachel and email if you need help with this – [email protected])
- Taking a few days off
- Instead of training 5 days this week, let’s only train 3!
- Taking a full week off
- If you’re feeling really beat up, this could do you a world of good.
Focusing on your recovery is one of the best ways to get through a plateau and back into a good place where we can push hard again.
Audit Your Levels of Intensity Honestly
Your workouts don’t have to be overly complicated to be effective. That’s our bread and butter in Yellow Rose Fitness… simple workouts of 2-3 movements that are deceptively difficult. What makes these workouts both modifiable for every level of fitness AND effective? Intensity.
Intensity is a driving factor in our training results, especially when our workouts are so simple. If you’re feeling like you’re going through a plateau, we need to see what level of intensity you are truly operating at, and if they are honoring the intention of the workout.
Our program calls for a wide range of intensity levels based on our energy systems. We’ve got short, medium, and long workouts (to put it simply), and each has their relative intensity levels that we design for you to perform at. We call this relative intensity level, the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
If we program a workout with an RPE of 8/10, you need to make sure you’re operating at an 8/10. A 6/10 RPE is great in the sense that you showed up to workout that day (go you, for real!), but if we’re looking to push forward with results, it’s not going to cut it. Many times I can find myself falling even lower than that.
How can we change so we can effectively hit the RPE?
- Use lighter weights so we can move with more intensity.
- For some, use HEAVIER weights (plus, it’s fun!)
- Decide before the class/workout where your most energy is going to go. Do you need to push harder in the strength, or the conditioning piece today?
- Change up the reps. Less reps can often give us the ability to push a bit harder. On the flip side, you might need MORE reps!
Lean on your coaches if you’re not sure how to appropriately audit your levels of intensity. We’re here to help you with that, and we LOVE doing it.
Focus More on Getting To The Gym.
You’re sleeping great, you feel fresh, and your recovery game is on point. Your nutrition is IMMACULATE! You go HARD in your workouts, and you’re doing everything coach says…
So why aren’t you seeing more progress? Well, maybe you need a bit more volume in your training! Intensity is definitely the path to results… but if you’re only being intense one to two times a week… it’s time to step it up! Prioritize getting to the gym, up your training volume, and blast through those plateaus.
If you try all of this and are still feeling stuck, shoot me a message or an email. I’m more than happy to help you!