Break Through Your Plateau

We’ve all been there. The time when progress seems like it has come to a standstill.
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The lifts stop going up, the weight loss comes to a halt, the inches around the waistline hold steady.
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The dreaded plateau. What gives?
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In order to break through our plateau and continue the journey toward gains, weight loss, or whatever it is we desire, it’s important to understand the “Why” behind the lack of progress.
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Honestly, sometimes it’s simpler than we think and just a basic fact of human biology…
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Our bodies are adaptable as hell!
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The human body wants homeostasis, meaning it has a set point and want to hang out there. Think about this in terms of a thermostat/thermometer. Your body’s internal processes work to keep things stable and RESIST change.
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The training we do in the gym each week is an intentional stressor that we impose to try and elicit change. The diet of chicken and veggies we eat likely puts us in a caloric deficit, which again promotes a change. This “change” usually presents itself as strength and muscle gains, fat loss, etc….
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Well, the body fights back! The body is adapting to these stressors and adapting to these nutritional protocols. If we continue long enough, we’re eventually very likely to run into a plateau at some point.
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The training no longer gives us the immense gains in strength we saw in the beginning. The metabolism adjusts to the diet and our weight loss tapers off. We hit that “sticking point.”
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Now, this is one reason we LOVE CrossFit – the constant variance and daily/weekly change never lets the body get “comfortable” – but we’ll save that for another post.
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So how do we break through and continue our journey toward our ultimate goal or goals?
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It’s easy to get frustrated, get down on yourself, make up stories in your head and excuses all at the same time. But let’s refocus our energy on what got us here, where we currently sit and what we need to DO to move forward.
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Here are some great ideas to hack your plateau and get things moving again:
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1. Mix Up Your Training
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Train at different intensity levels throughout the week. This could look a number of different ways, depending on what you’re currently doing. It might mean adding in some yoga to your weekly routine. It might mean taking 5 days of CrossFit down to 4, or going for a long jog as an “active recovery” day.
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The truth is, we can’t go hard every single day, every single time we step foot in the gym. With too much training volume or stress, the body simply cannot change because it’s not recovering quickly enough. Change things up! If you don’t want to give up your 5 days at the gym, try simply going at 50-60% intensity on day 3 or day 4 and see how that helps things.
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2. Add Extra Recovery
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As mentioned above, if the body is not recovering, we’re not going to see the changes that we’re looking for by implementing all the training and nutrition strategies. So when talking recovery, we’re looking at sleep hours, work and life stressors, proper fuel for your body (food).
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Adding extra sleep, removing a stressor, adding in a relaxation element to your week, or dialing in your nutrition (more on that below) could be the breakthrough we need. It’s not sexy, but it’s important.
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3. Evaluate Your Nutrition
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80% of progress when we’re talking about aesthetics (body comp, weight loss, fat loss) is going to hinge on your nutrition and diet that you follow. So, if you’ve hit a plateau, let’s look at a couple things:
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A. Are you eating enough? If we’re not giving the body enough fuel, it can’t burn fat. If it’s lacking fuel, it can’t perform in the gym the way you may want it to.
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B. Have you been eating in a caloric deficit for more than 6-8 weeks? We don’t like our clients to actively diet longer than this time frame – the deficit lowers hormone output and we can get ourselves in a bad spot with a diet that goes on for too long.
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We know what you’re thinking – I’ve been dieting 8 weeks and I’m not at my goal, why are you telling me to stop?
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The strategy here is called a Diet Break, and no we’re not talking about throwing in the towel and eating Oreos. We spend anywhere from 1-4 weeks eating higher calories to allow our bodies to reset before going back into a diet phase. This can get tricky and depends largely on the individual client, so it’s important to have a coach during this process (shoot us an email and we’ll talk more if you’re in the situation or want to learn more).

The truth is, if you train long enough or have a large goal you’re looking to crush, at some point you’re going to hit a plateau.
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And that’s okay! Don’t get frustrated. It’s part of the process. Remember, the process is the journey – embrace it.
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Try the above things if you’re stuck. If you’ve tried them and are still stuck, reach out to us and let’s set up a free talk to figure this out. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • by Elizabeth Milne
  • posted at 4:15 pm
  • August 28, 2018