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November 12, 2021 4 min read

What To Do When You’ve Hit A Wall

It’s a frustrating phenomenon that many of us face at one point or another in our fitness journeys: even though we’ve been staying on course and watching our diet and exercise, we still end up at a point where we just can’t seem to make any further progress. 


If this sounds familiar, you might be dealing with the dreaded plateau. 


Plateaus are incredibly discouraging and are very often the downfall of many fitness goals. You can definitely get over the hump and continue to make progress, but it’s a sure sign that something needs to change. 


So whether you’ve reached a standstill early on in your fitness journey or are struggling with those stubborn last five pounds, here’s how to break through that plateau and keep your progress moving forward. 

What Is A Fitness Plateau?

Simply put, a plateau means that you’ve reached a standstill in your progress. It can present itself in a couple of different ways: 


  • If your goals are to lose weight, you might see that the scale has stopped moving and weight is no longer coming off (or, it might not be coming off nearly as quickly as it was at the beginning of your journey). 

  • If you’ve reached a fitness plateau, those gym sessions might start feeling way less challenging - and therefore, less effective. Those weights get easier to move around, your endurance increases, and as a result, you stop seeing progress. In short, those workouts are no longer working. 

A plateau could be caused by a couple of different reasons, and figuring out the reason behind yours is the first step to progressing. 


For some people, the answer could be as simple as reevaluating your daily calorie intake and exercise intensity. But for others, you might be dealing with something more biological - namely, that your body has adjusted to your current diet or exercise routine and needs to be challenged more. 

Ways To Break Through Your Plateau

  • Take a close(r) look at your diet. One of the most common reasons that we hit a plateau is simply because we aren’t staying as strict with our diet as we were in the beginning of our weight loss journey. As the weeks and months go on, it’s easy to let go of the reins a little bit and start underestimating your calorie count for the day. But one harmless snack here, one extra serving there, and one indulgence there can quickly add up. 

  • Take a look at your current eating patterns and do some honest evaluation - are you staying as strict as you were a couple of weeks ago? Sometimes all you need is a little recommitment to start making progress again. 


  • Reevaluate your nutrition needs. On the other hand, you might have to make some tweaks to your current diet if you’ve already lost a significant amount of weight.

  • As you lose weight, yourmetabolism slows down - it simply doesn’t need to burn as many calories to maintain all that fat and muscle tissue that you’ve lost during your fitness journey. Unfortunately, this means that you may need far fewer calories than you did ten, twenty, or fifty pounds ago. Recalculating your caloric needs and adjusting your diet accordingly could be necessary if you want to keep going. 


  • Mix up your workout routine. If that trusty workout routine is no longer yielding the results that it was before, it’s a good sign that you may need to shake it up. 

  • You don’t have to go in a completely different direction, though. Something as simple as changing up the number of reps or the amount of weight that you’re lifting can challenge your muscles in a different way and spur on some progress. 


    If that still isn’t working, consideradding a completely different form of exercise to your routine. For example, if you’ve been focused only on weightlifting, try adding some HIIT or running to your weekly schedule. On the flip side, if you’ve only been doing cardio and bodyweight exercises, try pumping some iron instead. 


  • Don’t skip your rest days. As ironic as it might sound,overtrainingcould be a big reason that you’re no longer making the same amount of progress as you were before. Relentless workout sessions can lead to fatigue and pain, and neither of these is ideal when you want to make progress. 

  • Giving your body enough time to rest lets those muscles recover from all the strenuous work you’ve put them through. Aim for at least two days of active recovery so you can come back and hit your workouts as hard as you need to. 

    Conclusion

    As discouraging as plateaus can be, it’s important to find ways to push through if you want to be successful in your long-term goals. The plateaus hardly ever go away on their own, so staying stagnant is a sure sign that you need to change things up, whether that means optimizing your diet or switching up your workouts.


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