Fitness Advice – 6 Reasons why you have hit a plateau or think you have
1. You are not being honest with your food intake, not accurately tracking it or even eating correctly for you.
It is easy to kid yourself into thinking you are eating accordingly to your goals. Yes that biscuit or three with your 5th cup of tea on Monday and two bags of crisps on Tuesday (sound a familiar pattern?) may not be helping achieve your goals in spite of those lunchtime salads.
You may not be eating enough calories if you are looking to become more muscular. You may not be factoring in the calories that come with certain things like sauces and drinks if you’re looking for fat loss. Often these fail to make it on to your food diary.
There are formulas out there to attempt to calculate the amount of calories (harris benedict) that will be ideal for you to maintain, gain or lose weight but ultimately it’ll boil down to trial and error. You’d might as well pick a figure through some educated guesses to get you near the mark and then go from there and see whether it works for you or not. Adapt it if it doesn’t work how you want it to.
2. You are not training hard enough or smart enough.
You may be going through the motions in the gym. Not actually contracting your muscles properly as you do EACH repetition. You may not be doing enough repetitions over the course of a week to stimulate muscle growth. Your programming could be whacky and all over the place that doesn’t really work to a particular goal. You may not be recovering sufficiently and stifling muscle growth by working the same muscle group/s too close together in the same week (i.e. training chest 5 days consecutively week in week out may not be ideal). You may have damaged muscle tissue that needs addressing through a form of massage to allow for optimal rebuilding.
3. Your parents haven’t blessed you with the best of genetics.
It is true that some are more naturally blessed with muscle building and/or lean genetics. However, I am a believer that anyone with hard and smart work can achieve excellent results.
4. You may need supplements to help you get to the next level.
You may not be easily able to obtain good quality ingredients with all the nutrients that you need to stimulate the body transformation you want. Your demographic may not allow for fresh local organic produce to be readily available to you. You may have digestive issues that need addressing to allow you to properly absorb nutrients (potentially the use of probiotics will help). Supplements such as; whey protein, casein, creatine, BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and zinc and magnesium are all common supplements used to accelerate muscle building and do work well for most.
5. You just think you have hit a plateau as opposed to actually hitting a plateau.
If you haven’t seen the scale move over the last week or two, this is most likely NOT a plateau. I have seen clients over the course 7-8 weeks only change by 2-5 pounds on the scale but have lost 5-10% body fat (about 10-20lbs) but gain 8-16lbs of muscle. Of course if this happened to you and you had not done any true resistance training then it would be safer to say that you may be experiencing a plateau. In fact if you weren’t doing any resistance training, that could be the very reason you are not seeing any difference with your body. You’d might as well not bother looking at the scales more than once a month. Good habits need to implemented consistently over a period of time to take effect.
6. Your tools for measuring progress are too unreliable.
To be honest this accounts for most methods of measuring progress. Scales can be hit and miss, even the most fancy ones. Many factors can have a significant impact on what the scales read. Females are especially at risk of fluctuating or unreliable readings on scales due to menstrual cycles. How hydrated you are, whether you’ve had a bowel movement or if you have a full bladder, your readings can be skewed somewhat.
The best methods we have at our disposal apart from being cut open to have a look are DEXA scanners or hydrostatic weighing. Most people won’t ever get to be measured like this as only a few institutions have them such as universities or hospitals. I can assure you however, with good nourishment and solid training, you can see significant results within 6-12 weeks.
If you need expert fitness advice to support your exercise and nutrition regimes let me know by completing the web form on the contact page or calling me on 0844 453 3386!