How to move past the ex­er­cise plateau and get back into train­ing

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Kat Mil­lar

Whether you’re a week­end war­rior, a fit­ness buff or an ex­er­cise ‘dab­bler’, chances are you’ll even­tu­ally hit a plateau at some stage in your ex­er­cise rou­tine.

Firstly, re­al­ize that when you have a plateau, it’s OK, be­cause of­ten it’s just a sign that your body is hav­ing a rest. Most peo­ple have a plateau about ev­ery 4-8 weeks and it’s OK. It’s prepa­ra­tion for the next break­through.

Hit­ting a plateau is a time to think about your progress and what op­tions you can use to break through the plateau.

When­ever you gain fit­ness, strength or mus­cle, progress nat­u­rally slows. Over time, your body gets used to your ex­er­cise rou­tine. One of your body’s main roles is to bring you back into home­osta­sis; oth­er­wise known as bal­ance. Your body will adapt to the rou­tine if you’re no longer chal­leng­ing it.

When you hit a plateau in your fit­ness, fat-loss or mus­cle gain, you can choose to be sat­is­fied with where you’re at, or you can choose to bust through this plateau and keep im­prov­ing.

If you chose the sec­ond op­tion and are ready to go to the next level in your re­sults, here are a few tips for over­com­ing a plateau.


Move­ment has the big­gest im­pact on your me­tab­o­lism. Car­dio raises your me­tab­o­lism but you need to make sure that you have reg­u­lar re­sis­tance train­ing in your weekly plan, to tone up your mus­cles. Mus­cle burns more en­ergy than fat, so you’ll boost your me­tab­o­lism by in­creas­ing this en­ergy-burn­ing lean body tis­sue.

In­crease your ac­tiv­ity level to coun­ter­act the nat­u­ral re­duc­tion in meta­bolic rate that comes with adap­ta­tion. In­crease the du­ra­tion or ef­fort dur­ing your ex­er­cise ses­sions to burn more calo­ries. Use a pe­dome­ter (step counter) to check that you are also be­ing as ac­tive as you can, through­out your day.


If you’ve been in a rou­tine for a while, do some­thing dif­fer­ent. A change can add va­ri­ety, shock your sys­tem and un­block your plateau.

One way to do this is by do­ing your favourite ex­er­cises dif­fer­ently. For ex­am­ple, if you use the bar ev­ery time for lunges, try us­ing ket­tle­bells or dumb­bells, the next time you do this ex­er­cise. You may also have dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions for your legs such as a sumo squat, sin­gle-leg squat, box squat or step-ups. Use

a range of dif­fer­ent free weights, hand­grips, an­gles, rep-ranges and tem­pos to keep your body guess­ing.

When it comes to in­crease in strength or mus­cle gain, don’t change ev­ery­thing all at once. Mak­ing 1 or 2 small changes to be­gin with, will pro­duce a dif­fer­ence. If you make too many changes, it’s hard to ac­cu­rately trace back to find what works. Start by mak­ing small changes and as­sess if they made a dif­fer­ence or not within a week.

Then, if you need to, make ad­di­tional changes. Al­ways start off with small changes be­cause our bod­ies re­spond bet­ter to small changes and thus we are more likely to fol­low through, rather than be­ing over­whelmed with the plethora of changes.


Some­times we for­get what we need to be fo­cus­ing on and why. Life can get busy and sud­denly weeks have gone by with­out us mak­ing any real progress to­wards our most mean­ing­ful goals. Write down as many ben­e­fits to achiev­ing your goals as pos­si­ble. Re­mind your­self in writ­ing what you will achieve from be­ing fit and healthy. Write what you will see, hear and feel when you are past this plateau. This will help build the emo­tion of want­ing to push out of your com­fort zone and con­tinue to progress. Con­tin­u­ally re­mind your­self why you are do­ing this and all the health ben­e­fits that you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

Also, keep a record of your ex­er­cise ses­sions. When it is writ­ten down, you may be sur­prised to see where you are skimp­ing or cut­ting cor­ners. Re­mem­ber, our bod­ies are nat­u­rally lazy and need to do the bare min­i­mum of move­ment to sur­vive. It takes in­ten­tion to put our­selves through the pain for im­prove­ment. On­go­ing self-mon­i­tor­ing will help keep you on track.


Go easy on your­self dur­ing a plateau pe­riod. You may be do­ing ev­ery­thing right and just need some time to make a break­through. If not, then it’s time for you to change things. Re­mem­ber that last­ing re­sults don’t come in­stantly. Be kind to your­self and re­mem­ber to en­joy the jour­ney. It’s not about per­fec­tion; it’s about progress.

Kat mil­lar owns Get Re­sults Train­ing, ded­i­cated to help­ing peo­ple trans­form their health, mind & body. Since 2003, Kat has helped thou­sands of peo­ple achieve their goals. She’s a coach, speaker, award­win­ning fig­ure com­peti­tor, fit­ness lec­turer & NLP prac­ti­tioner. Her pas­sion helps peo­ple achieve life-chang­ing re­sults & ful­fill­ment, with a range of pro­grams for holis­tic health & body trans­for­ma­tion. Con­tact via Kat’s web­site or Face­book.

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