When you first start any new workout, you make quick progress and everything is awesome because you see big changes right away. The impact of immediate results is a huge incentive to continue. It’s a massive ego boost and it’s kind of addicting. But after a while, all those massive gains seem to slip away, and suddenly, you find yourself working just has hard as you always were but making little or no progress.
That’s where I am right now. And as a result, I’m being a bit morose about training and feeling a bit like, “Ugh. What’s the point?!” When I first started running, it felt like every run was a milestone of epic proportions. Every race was a personal best. It all felt like such an achievement. Now, it’s all just kind of the same and no matter what training adjustments I make.
So, like anyone stuck in a rut, I started researching online. There’s a term for this. It’s called a plateau. It refers to the period of time in which your body no longer responds to your fitness or diet routine.
After a few more searches, I stumbled upon this excellent Nerd Fitness post, and before it even got into what you should do when you hit this dreaded plateau, it suggested asking yourself a few honest questions:
- Are you eating the right things for your workout? If you’re trying to bulk up, are you eating enough calories? If you’re trying to lose weight, are you actually eating well and sticking to a diet? The article suggests tracking your food for a few days to be sure because in the vast majority of cases, you haven’t plateaued, you’ve just been screwing up your diet.
- Are you actually trying that hard? The article asks you to think about your workouts. How hard are you actually trying? Are you cranking up the resistance in spin class, or going for a casual peddle in the back of the class? Are you cranking out that extra rep or getting lazy? Slogging along at a 6:00/km pace when you know you could be doing 5:40? Yeah… that’s what I thought.
- Are you getting enough sleep? Now, this I can be sure I’m excelling at. I love bedtime. Sleeping and I get along just fine. But if you find that you’re not making gains in your fitness, one thing to consider is whether or no you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep is important. Lack of sleep leads to stress and doesn’t give our tired body time to recover.
So yeah… once I examined all these things a little more closely, I realised that I haven’t really plateaued at all. I’m just getting a bit lazy. Once I can really, honestly say that I’ve spent two weeks with quality sleep, nutrition and exercise, then I’ll revisit this topic.
Have you ever plateaued? What did you do to overcome it?