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Aid your per­for­mance in and out of the gym with this month’s se­lec­tion of prod­ucts

Muscle & Performance - - Top Shop -

In all as­pects of life — in­clud­ing the hours you log at the gym — there are peaks and val­leys. But con­ven­tional wis­dom and in­spi­ra­tional In­sta­gram memes rarely men­tion plateaus, which are just as com­mon (and pos­si­bly more frus­trat­ing) than the day-to-day roller coaster.

Whether you’re look­ing to lose weight, gain mus­cle or set a new PR, that des­o­late stretch of �it­ness �lat­ness can crush your con�idence and erode your drive. But train­ing plateaus come with the ter­ri­tory and they’re of­ten your body’s way of telling you that it’s time for a change. So lis­ten up. Check out these �ive ways to bust through a plateau and get back on the roller coaster for the ride of your life.

There you are, hap­pily chug­ging along to­ward your weight-loss goal, watch­ing the dig­its on the scale drop steadily each week. But one day a num­ber set­tles in and sets up shop, re­gard­less of your eat-clean ef­forts and con­sis­tent train­ing pro­to­col. This kind of sta­sis can make you want to throw in the towel (and or­der a pizza), but don’t give in to Domino’s yet: If you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a fairly signi�icant weight loss (10 pounds or more), your daily calo­rie re­quire­ment may ac­tu­ally be lower than it was pre­vi­ously. Try re­duc­ing your por­tions by a cou­ple hun­dred calo­ries a day, or see a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian who can test your rest­ing meta­bolic rate and pro­vide you with speci�ic guide­lines on your daily caloric in­take. Check back in with your bod in a few weeks and see how you fared.

If you’re not see­ing ap­pro­pri­ate gains in mus­cle size, then you may not be eat­ing enough calo­ries. In­tense train­ing with­out ap­pro­pri­ate food in­take might make you catabolic — you’re gob­bling up your own mus­cle tis­sue for fuel. Ob­vi­ously pro­tein is re­quired to build mus­cle, so boost your in­take per meal by an ounce or two, or add a pro­tein shake postworkout and/or be­fore bed to de­liver those aminos to mus­cles that need re­pair­ing and re­build­ing. Also ditch the no­tion that carbs and fats are “bad” — car­bo­hy­drates sus­tain your work­outs and re­fuel your mus­cles af­ter a se­ri­ous sweat ses­sion, and fats are the ul­ti­mate en­ergy source, pro­vid­ing more than twice the calo­ries per gram to power your train­ing, help­ing you lift heav­ier and con­se­quently build more mus­cle. Choose carbs on the lower end of the glycemic in­dex, in­clud­ing cher­ries, oat­meal and sweet pota­toes, as well as healthy fats such as av­o­ca­dos, olive oil and raw nuts, to help you �ill up and �ill out. Go the same dis­tance at the same speed ev­ery day, and your body will be­come an in­cred­i­bly ef�icient 30minute jog­ging ma­chine. This is when the trou­ble be­gins: Your body stops need­ing to adapt, you stop see­ing progress. Keep your mus­cles guess­ing by chang­ing things up con­stantly. Im­ple­ment in­ter­vals dur­ing your longer car­dio ses­sions, swap pow­er­lift­ing for a day of ket­tle­bell and func­tional train­ing, or aban­don the iron com­pletely for a day of bodyweight train­ing. The more you can keep your body on its toes the bet­ter your re­sults will be.

If you can fol­low an episode of Game of Thrones, read a book or catch Poke­mon dur­ing a work­out, you’re clearly not work­ing hard enough. In­crease your in­ten­sity on two out of ev­ery three work­outs by im­ple­ment­ing some all-out sprints on the bike or rower, lift­ing un­til fail­ure or adding meta­bolic con­di­tion­ing or as many reps as pos­si­ble into your pro­to­col. How­ever, be sure to take rest days and lighten your work­load on that third day, when you’re not do­ing Met­cons or AMRAPS, to avoid in­jury and over­train­ing.

The �it­ness equiv­a­lent of an en­core, a burner is a quick-and-dirty way to stress your body and stim­u­late change. Af­ter the meat of your work­out is done, chal­lenge your­self to one last quick, high-in­ten­sity bout of ac­tiv­ity, such as a tabata — eight rounds of 20 sec­onds of in­tense work, fol­lowed by 10 sec­onds of rest. Slam a medicine ball, swing a ket­tle­bell or crank out a bunch of sit-ups for those four short ( yet eter­nally long) min­utes, fo­cus­ing on high, con­sis­tent in­ten­sity for all eight rounds. 

Ad­just your por­tion sizes to suit your train­ing goals.

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