We will all hit plateaus in our training progress whether we are beginners or advanced fitness experts. Even the top bodybuilders, and those who are taking steroids will plateau from time to time and it is something that we need to understand to breakthrough.
The first thing many people will do is to increase their training intensity.
This is the wrong move for most beginners and intermediate people as it quickly leads to over training.
Many times these plateaus will come about when the body is crying out for a bit more time to recover and rebuild. Inexperienced fitness enthusiasts will see this as a sign that they need to push harder to continue their development and so begins an ever more difficult time where the training intensity increases but the results diminish.
If this problem isn’t addressed soon enough it can lead to illness as the immune system gets overloaded with the loads that are being placed upon it. If you find that you aren’t making progress with your training then it might be time to reduce your training intensity, either by lifting lighter weights, working out for a shorter time, or in the case of aerobic exercises like running, reduce the distances and times of your training for a week or two.
In some cases where the training has been particularly intense you might even need to take a few days or a week off where you have a complete break and come back rejuvenated. The more you exercise the better you get at reading your body and understanding when it is time to train harder and when it is time to take a break.
You might also need to consider having a backup training plan for these times where you will do something completely different to maintain fitness but still have a rest from your usual regime. If you usually run for fitness you might try swimming for a week or two before coming back to your running training again.
We all have the ability to make major improvements to our health and fitness but there is one thing that stops more people than anything else. It is not our genetics or the access we have to the best fitness equipment or training facilities.
The thing that stops most people from getting a good physique and optimum health is when they don’t set goals. Setting goals is a fast track to success and it is the only way that you will stick to a plan and follow through to completion.
By having a predetermined plan of action before we start a training program and knowing exactly what we want to get out of the program we will have a goal to aim for. With this goal in mind we can track our progress and watch as we build towards that goal.
Along the way we will often change our expectations and this is a good thing, as progress gives us a different perspective on what we can achieve as we improve and gain in confidence. By writing these goals down they become a lot more powerful and we can refer back to these written words to enforce our path.
Fitness training requires planning to get the most benefit, and planning can only begin when goals have been determined. So the first step of any fitness program must be setting goals no matter how small they might be and then challenge yourself on a daily basis to meet and surpass those goals.
One thing that we all need to be careful of when setting our goals is to be realistic and take into account the time we have to devote to the plan and the resources we have available to implement the plan. To set unrealistic goals will only hinder our performance and result in disappointment.