How to Avoid the Plateau Plague

I talk about working out, a lot. Perhaps more often than I actually hit the gym. Perhaps more often than I should hit the gym. I talk about working out, a lot. Today, I had a google chat conversation with my dear friend about plateaus (she just hit one) and she informed me she had to change her workout, for the first time in two months.

Plateaus suck.

I'm speaking from recent experience as just a week ago, I stepped onto the scale, hoping to see a further dip (did I mention that I've seen a drop of about ten pounds?) to find that my weight was static. Unchanging. I thought about it for a while. There could be a myriad of factors involved, and then I realized that I hadn't really been making gains in strength at the gym. I had my answer: plateau.

I usually change my workouts on a regular basis. I'm on tumblr a lot, and since I use tumblr as a space for fitness blogging as well as keeping track of my progress, I see an onslaught of new bodyweight exercises as well as fitness advice all the time. Each shiny new workout becomes my workout the next day and this, my friends, is the reason why I generally avoid plateaus. My body doesn't have the opportunity to get far too use to my workouts. However, the past three weeks, I've been lazy. I've been going to the gym on a regular basis, but my attitude about my workouts and the makeup of my workouts have been less than stellar. I've been caring more about going to the gym than what I have been doing at the gym. My workouts have been sloppy, repetitive, and dare-I-say boring.

Sure, a quick workout is definitely better than no workout, but a boring workout doesn't do anyone any favors.

On Saturday, I took some time to take out and notebook and plan some workouts that I was excited about. I'll share the workout I completed yesterday as well as some rough ideas for today's workout.

Sunday: August 4th
Cardio:

  • Elliptical (Incline: 10 | Resistance 15 for 27 minutes Resistance 100 for 3 minutes)

Floor Exercises:
12 Clock Abs (Clockwise and Counterclockwise)
30 Eagle Abs
40 Genie Abs
50 Single Leg Drops
50 Double Leg Drops
100 Bicycle Crunches
30 Kick Backs
30 Fire Hydrants
20 Butt Ups
30s Plank
15 Side Leg Lifts
15 Crab Legs

Machines:

  • 3 x 10 Hip Abductor: 2 x 240 lb set and 1 x 260 lb set 
  • 3 x 10 Hip Adductor: 2 x 240 lb set and 1 x 260 lb set
  • 3 x 10 Leg Press (I/O): 2 x 160 lb set and 1 x 165 lb set.


Monday: August 5th
Cardio: Undetermined (I'll fill you guys in later)

Floor Exercises:

  • 40s Plank
  • 40 V-Up Crunches
  • 30 Russian Twists
  • 30 Cross Lifts
  • 50 Crunches
  • 25 Side Crunches
  • Pushups (hahahaahaha…we'll see how these go)
  • 30 Tricep Dips
  • 20 Knee Grabs
  • 30 Plank Dips
  • 50 Reverse Cruches
  • 1 Earthquake.

I'm going to use the free-weights as well as the machines for arms today, but besides that…I'm unsure.

I am really happy to say that I'm really excited to go to the gym today.

If you have recently hit a plateau, here is some advice to get back on track.

  • Check your diet. It could be time to up your calories (if you are lifting, this tip is particularly for you) or to take a good look at what you have been eating. I'm a grazer, I'm often eating small snacks, and those small snacks definitely add up and can prevent you from reaching your fitness goals.
  • Vary your exercises.
  • Vary your reps. High reps and low reps have been attributed to 'toning' and 'gaining'. Depending on the body part you are working, the number of reps have different effects, basically that's not worth caring about. Make sure to work your body with both high reps and low reps so as to see maximum benefits.
  • Take time off. Your body needs recovery and if you've reached a plateau (not a few days guys...but a couple of weeks) it may be an indication that you need a break.

Let me know about your fitness progress in the comment box below!