Have you ever been on a roll with your fitness goals and it seemed like you were just so close you could feel it, see it and could start planning your celebratory shopping spree? But…that goal was still a few pounds or inches away? And…it seemed like forever that you were at that sticking point? It’s a pain in the butt, right? I have been there, too. Today, not that it was a sticking point per se, but I experienced something that could help you to break the next plateau.
When we reach a plateau in any area of our lives, it is time to step out of that comfort zone. Take building a business for example. We get comfortable with our income and how we are able to pay the bills and still have some money left over. Yet we still crave a larger home or more vacations. Stepping out of the comfort zone will assist in our push forward to build a larger business. Eventually, with that momentum, the larger home and more vacations will come.
The same rings true for our fitness goals. Here is a scenario: You have been following the meal plan your dietitian created just for you and exercising as directed by your personal trainer. You have been getting to sleep on time and drinking so many glasses of water a day, you feel like a fish bowl. When you head to your favorite bikini shop, you are surprised to see that you haven’t quite reached that goal you thought you would be at by then. It is time to shake things up a bit because your body has simply found a comfort zone. It has realized the pattern and knows what food and exercise habits to expect.
For me, I find myself stuck in the same exercise rut. I typically will do the same pattern of exercises and workout at the same time everyday. Some may call this a great habit, but I just call it comfort. Today, I tried a barre class and oh my goodness, what a class. First of all, I thought it would be mostly lower body, but it was a great split between lower and upper, so having just done an upper body workout the previous day made it all the more challenging. That wasn’t the hardest part of the class though.
When we were instructed to do some back leg lifts for the booty, I found the most difficult thing for me was dealing with super tight calves, especially my left. Wow! I stretch after every workout so I know it is not a lack of stretching, but a lack in variety as a whole. I need to move my body in new ways. I walk up and down the stairs a million times a day (yeah, we do not have the laundry room upstairs), I’m constantly running around taking the kids to their appointments and activities, and standing in the kitchen for who knows how many hours a day. My calves are being used the same way everyday and I am guilty of not really giving that area of my body a chance to change due to habitually doing the same thing, day after day. It is time for me to get out of my exercise rut and start working on breaking my personal plateau. Maybe that is why I am not able to get past my personal best with downward facing dog?
How can you break the plateau?
1. Recognize it.
Sounds simple, so keep it that way by just recording in your journal or even in your calendar where you felt stagnant. This way, you are able to see where progress has been made.
2. Change 1-2 things first.
Only changing a few things at first is going to be best. If you do too much you could lead into burnout. Think about when you first started making changes. I am sure you increased the weight you lifted in increments, right? And you likely did not do a 360 degree change with your food choices, correct?
3. Monitor your changes.
If you are not already, be sure you are recording where you are beginning and continue to take the necessary measurements when needed. Another side note, you may benefit from a session or two with a personal trainer as well.
4. Take time off.
Ironic? No. Sometimes we are just working so hard towards that goal, we are putting ourselves into overdrive, leading to exhaustion. Even if it is only a day or two, it will likely help you to see a difference rather quickly.
5. Don’t give up now.
The easy route is just giving up but think before you react. Think about how you will feel in a few months when you have reached your goal and you are working on a new one to tackle. Go ahead, think about it and really visualize it. Have you got that image? Ok, so now, think about that same time frame, and how you will feel when you do not see the results you sought. How do you feel? Did you disappoint anyone besides yourself? Ok, yes, we can all relate.
So get out there, get active and continue reaching towards your goal!