Important to respect the plateau
Sometimes our fitness journey doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes the weight won’t drop, the inches won’t decrease (or increase — some of us want leg gains).
Sometimes your body has had enough. Sometimes life … just … sucks.
Does it really, though? The dreaded plateau is not the end-all, be-all. In fact, if we sit down, reassess our goals, strategise and remain honest with ourselves, we will find a way over that plateau. It may take a day, it may take a month, but you will definitely find a solution.
Rest days are not for the lazy
During this journey we feel compelled to go into “beast mode” seven days a week, twice a day sometimes.
This ridiculous routine with no rest day in sight is, in itself, presenting a hurdle. Our bodies do become tired. No one wants to take a rest day and feel like they are punking out, but no one wants to be presented with the plateau hurdle either.
Although this is a specific example of hurdles placed in our lives, it is a very common one. Rest days are not for the weak, nor the lazy. Rest days are there to prevent injury, plateaus, to allow muscle growth and repair and, simply put, allow your body to rest.
Not doing so will, again, cause a plateau in your goals and have you thinking you have a hurdle in place.
In actuality, you just need to sit down and assess. Be honest, take that rest day.
Still eating like that?
Eating plans alter. During this journey, we may feel compelled to stick to a specific eating regime, and expect results to happen 365 days of the year. Our bodies change. Just because it worked for the last eight weeks doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another eight weeks. Just as you develop muscle memory and your workouts need to change, your meals need to change also. If you are experiencing a plateau in your journey, assess your eating and see how you can alter it.
No variety in the gym?
Are you performing the same workout routine day after day? The simple solution may seem common sense to some — add variety. Target the same muscles in different ways. Want to target your glutes? Squats are not the only way. Add lunges, glute hip thrusts or, believe it or not, sprints. Have you seen a sprinter’s butt? It’s important to add variety to your workouts to demand further change from your body. Do not be afraid to perform your exercises differently. Be prepared to welcome the baby giraffe walk back into your life.
Respect the plateau
Odd right? Why should I welcome the plateau? Although frustrating, the plateau is a sign of good things. You’ve been successful at weight loss, leg gains, variety and the like for weeks, so congratulations.
When the plateau arrives it means you are ready to enter a new phase in your journey. It sucks, yes. But it is a good indication that you are getting better. The same workouts don’t work for you now.
You are more of a beast and require more; therefore you need to take the rest days, you need to eat differently. The plateau should be welcomed so that you are continuously evolving, continuously changing how you walk this journey.
Oh look, plateau happening. Sit down, look back at your progress, pat yourself on the back and create a strategy for your next phase. Remain committed, honest with your efforts, recognise that this journey is not linear and always, always, respect the journey!
• Dre is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: email@example.com or 599-0412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre