Don’t Hit The Brakes When You Hit a Plateau
If you’ve ever stuck to a diet and exercise plan for an extended period of time with continued success, you know it’s motivating to see those results each week. But suddenly, without apparent reason, your progress stalls faster than the rusty, old jalopy you drove in high school. WTF, right!?
Well, sadly you’ve hit a plateau. And it sucks. For weeks you check for results and progress and see no change, no movement. Absolutely nothing. Notta. Zilch. (I could go on but I think you get the point.) It’s kind of deflating, huh? In actuality (with a little shift in perspective), hitting a plateau can be a good thing. Yup, I said GOOD thing – and here’s why.
A plateau is a very clear indication that you have made great progress but your body has adjusted to your current diet and exercise regimen. So it’s time to switch it up. (This assumes, however, you haven’t been cheating on your diet and have kept the intensity of your exercise consistent.) Most of the time, a plateau pertains more to your exercise routine than your diet, although it is worth mentioning to regularly check to make sure you’re properly nourishing yourself to meet your health and fitness goals.
So when you reach a plateau don’t get frustrated and stop – that, for sure, won’t fix or help anything. Instead, see it as an opportunity to change things up. Think of it like a jump-start to get yourself moving again. Try something new – a new fitness class, a new health program, a new activity, or stick with the same workout structure but use different exercises to work the muscle groups differently, for example, swap tricep kick-backs for chair dips. (As a side note: the CSU Recreation Center offers a huge variety of free fitness classes, premium classes, healthy lifestyle programs and instructional classes. You should really check ‘em out.)
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – don’t. give. up. Keep at it. The progress will resume again and things will even out. You may not always see big results but remember that the work and effort you’r eluting into it is beneficial – it’s keeping you healthy. With a little motivation and will power, it’s relatively easy to see results with any diet/exercise program. The much harder objective is long-term maintenance of your results. But if you place less emphasis on seeing results all the time (like on the scale) and focus on simply living healthier, it becomes second-nature and doesn’t seem so unrealistic or unattainable.
Put some gas in the tank and get to work – you can do it!