Each individual has his or her own fitness goals when beginning an exercise regimen. Perhaps the plan is to lose a set amount of weight or lift a certain amount of weight. Goals help people assess their workouts whether or not they are achieving the desired results.
At some point in just about everyone’s fitness routine, it may seem like progress has stalled. Changes in the body may no longer be noticeable or the scale says the same weight each week. It’s easy to grow discouraged when exercise gains plateau. But recognizing this phenomenon can help people get their workouts back on track.
What is a fitness plateau?
The exercise resource GymBet says a fitness plateau is a phase when the body adjusts to a workout routine and stops progressing further. The body has become accustomed to the stress and changes an exercise routine has put on it in order to grow muscles, reduce fat or improve in training.
What causes a plateau?
The human body is incredibly resilient and can adapt to the physical demands of a workout. That means a workout initially can produce noticeable results. But over time, the body will adapt and something that was challenging will become easier. As a result, a familiar and once effective workout will no longer produce the desired results. Some call this General Adaption Syndrome. Even though hitting a plateau may seem frustrating, it is a good sign that an individual is making progress in a fitness program.
How to overcome a plateau?
The American Heart Association says one way to overcome a plateau is to follow the F.I.T.T principle of exercise. This stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. Once a plateau has been reached, a person will have to change one or more components of F.I.T.T. to once again get desired results. That may mean increasing frequency and/or intensity, spending more time in an exercise session, or changing the type of workout. If the plateau involves a lack of weight loss, then tracking food for a week or two can show just how many calories are going in versus how many are expended. Often, hitting a plateau can be traced to dietary changes.
Another factor in hitting fitness plateaus that people may not realize is mental motivation. An individual who is becoming bored in a workout may not put forth the same level of effort, and that can manifest itself in a lack of results. Modifying the workout or attending a new program can be a small trigger to reach a new fitness level.
A fitness plateau is something active people need to consider. Modifications can be made to get progress back on track.