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Power through that workout plateau

As summer fast approaches, take a few moments to give yourself a pat on the back and a big nod of approval for all the progress you've made in the gym and with your training over the last few months.

Sometimes we get caught up in our busy day-to-day lives that it's hard to see what we've achieved. Recognising that you're making progress, even if it's in small increments, is important; it'll help you stay more focused on your long-term goals and ensure you're on track for future success. So good job on all you've achieved so far!

Now that we've looked back, it's time to look forward. Maybe you've almost reached the goal that you set earlier this year, but perhaps you're getting to the point where it's a little bit harder to see results.

Perhaps you've hit a plateau or you're struggling to lose those last five-ten lbs?

This is a problem that many people experience and I urge you not to just give up. When a client comes to me with these concerns there are a few areas that we look at.

If you're frustrated with your progress, these are my top tips for helping you smash through your plateau and keeping you moving towards your goals.

Get More Sleep

The importance of sleep is extremely underrated. Firstly, your body needs adequate time to rest and recover in order for it to repair itself properly. But perhaps more crucially, a decent night's sleep will provide you with the energy you need to really push through your workouts.

Think about it, how much better and more energetic do you feel after you've had a solid seven-eight hours? You not only have the physical energy, but the mental drive to give it your all and maximise your efforts in the gym, which in turn will bring you closer to reaching your goals. Let's be honest, a tired, half-hearted workout is just not going to cut it when it comes down to shifting those last stubborn five lbs.

Secondly, getting more sleep will impact positively on your appetite, making it more likely you'll stay on track with your nutrition plan. How many times have you had a late night and not enough shut eye which has resulted in you spending the day reaching for sugary, carbohydrate-type foods in an attempt to restore your energy levels? It's a vicious cycle as your blood sugar levels keep soaring up and down as you try to muster energy and mask the fact that you're exhausted.

Conversely, if you get enough sleep and are well rested, you'll be more likely to make better food choices because your blood sugar levels are stable, meaning you won't have the cravings for those carb laden foods.

I find that having a regular bedtime schedule and routine is really helpful in ensuring that I have a restful night's sleep.

Try to go bed and get up at the same time consistently, and ideally aim for seven to eight hours, especially if you have a physical job or are working out a lot. Also, avoid too much stimulation just before going to sleep, switch off electronics and try not to check your e-mail or social media right before your head hits the pillow — trust me, Facebook will still be there in the morning!

Better Manage Your Stress

Just as a lack of sleep can make us tired which may negatively impact our mood and decision-making abilities, so can stress cause us to lose focus and sabotage our chances of reaching our goals. Try to better manage your stress and your reactions to how you deal with it. If stress-eating is your problem, get rid of the foods that you reach for when you feel overwhelmed, if they're not easily accessible then you won't be as tempted to use this as a comfort to ease your stress.

Use exercise as a way of dealing with stress too. I can't tell you how many times I've felt so much better after giving it my all in a workout. This is a classic case of taking that negative energy and turning it into something positive. When I'm having a bad day, or stress has got the better of me, my favourite thing to do is pull on my boxing gloves and hit the punch bag. So show your stress who's boss!

Change Up Your Workout

It may be time to reassess your training plan. This is usually the major culprit in hitting a plateau. Our bodies are remarkable machines that adapt to the physical stresses we place on them much quicker than we often think. So if it's been six-eight weeks on your current training routine, it may be time to switch things up.

When was the last time you increased the weights you lift? Don't be afraid! At some point you need to challenge yourself and try to lift a heavier weight, so why not take that challenge this week?

What's the worst that can happen? Be brave! Like everything in life, as we get closer to our goals things tend to get tougher, but this is no time to give in. You're almost there. Give it a shot, it'll feel so good once you succeed.

Push yourself: Don't be afraid to increase your training plan

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Published May 06, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated May 06, 2015 at 1:10 am)

Power through that workout plateau

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