Working out and increasing your fitness can be a thrilling experience once you’ve broken through that barrier that many beginners face of staying dedicated and not giving up due to the strain and intensity of the workouts or activities you’ve chosen. After everything begins to fall into place and you start to quickly see some huge improvements to your fitness and your physique, you’ll find yourself getting even more determination and desire to build on to your current success.
After a certain amount of work, especially if you’ve been pushing yourself to what you believe to be your limits, you might find that your progress slows down or stops altogether. This is called a plateau and it can happen to anyone after a period of time. Think of it as a sort of equilibrium in which your body has perfected your current regime and is taking in the maximum amount of nutrients it needs to maintain it’s current form.
1. Switch Up Your Routine
Reaching a plateau doesn’t need to be the end of your progress. Your first step here is to perhaps switch up your current routine or even just switch up your exercises. Your body may now be used to the exercises that you have been doing, that it just isn’t gaining anything from repeating them. You could try something completely new and different, and focus on hitting some different muscles groups altogether and utilizing those muscles in new ways.
Remember though, once you make a change, be sure to stick with it for some time before making another change so that you give your body and muscles a chance to fully utilize and progress from the new change.
2. Increase The Intensity
In addition to choosing some new exercises and activities, you should look at ramping up the intensity of those workout sessions where possible. Whether that means a significant increase to your weight during weight training exercises or adding extra time onto your workout sessions to boost your cardio, there are plenty of ways to continue to push your limits further.
Remember though, while you might be in the mindset of kicking yourself into overdrive, you should still be mindful of your safety and not go too far or forget to do things properly. The risk of injury increases the more you push yourself, and exponentially more so if you start to drop the ball on thinking about your own safety. If there’s one way to start losing that progress you’ve made so far, it’s by sustaining a serious injury and being out of action for weeks or even months.
3. Improve Your Gut’s Microbiome
Getting fit is more than just the exercises you do. A lot of it is based on your diet and your internal, physical health. Before we speak about getting your diet in order, it’s worth having a think about your gut’s microbiome. This is an area of health where it’s important to do plenty of research via professionals such as Dr Ruscio who specializes in gut health as well as a number of other things that could benefit from things like functional medicine.
Developing a healthy, diverse gut environment can really improve everything from nutrient absorption to your ability to break down hard to digest foods and reduce bloating and cramping. Experiencing negative effects of poor digestion can hinder your ability to work out and also reduce your appetite, whereas if you’re not digesting your food properly, you’re at risk of a lot of those essential nutrients in your diet going to waste.
Taking probiotic supplements is a common method of improving your gut’s microbiome by increasing the numbers and strains of good bacteria in your gut, which help to break down your foods and nutrients for absorption.
4. Analyse Your Diet
Once you’ve developed a healthier gut, it’s time to figure out exactly what you’re putting into your body to maximize your nutrient intake and cut out unnecessary foods that don’t benefit you at all. There are lots of amazingly helpful guides online and you’ll find that you may have to tailor your diet to you regardless of the advice you find. Building your perfect diet plan should be based on the results that you’re looking for. Remember to be conscious of your vitamin and mineral intake and always make sure you are eating plenty of good fruit and wholesome vegetables.
Figuring out the right nutritional plan to follow will take some effort, research and trial and error if you choose to do it yourself, but you can always get in contact with a personal trainer for some help. A good thing to remember is to ensure to use a progressive and gradual approach and do not cut or add a lot of changes abruptly.
5. Consider upping your protein
Continuing on from figuring out your nutritional plan, you should always be considering your micro and macro nutrients, and while your meals will provide a majority of the macro nutrients like carbs and proteins, micro nutrients such as vitamins and minerals may be a bit harder to maintain. Some supplements are a common remedy for this, and while they shouldn’t replace any of your foods or be wholly depended upon, they can be added to your diet to ensure that you can focus more on getting those calories and extra protein.
putting it all together
It may be a lot of information to take in and process, so make sure to do your research and do not rush the process. Try to understand each step that you take while making a change to move out of that plateau that you may have found yourself in. An important aspect to remember throughout this process, is that you should not try to make too many changes too quickly either. Utilize 1 of the points first for example, track your progress and see how it goes for a period of time, before introducing another change.