Plateaued? We figure out what's at play.
Come January many of us sign up to the gym, stick rigidly to a new diet and happily see the results of our efforts with a decrease on the scale. During those first few weeks it all seems so… effortless. Your motivation is high and your risk of succumbing to temptation is low.
Once February rolls around though, that can all change. Suddenly, what once seemed so easy, now seems like an uphill struggle, and not the calorie burning kind.
Instead, you’ve hit a bit of a plateau and what was once working down the gym no longer is. You’re still eating right and working out hella hard, so what gives?
Here are three could-be culprits.
First up, according to personal trainer Max Bridger sticking to lifting light weights at higher reps is a surefire way to stall your progress.
Basically, you need to be lifting heavier with a shorter rep range to achieve something called hypertrophy, one of the fastest ways of changing your body composition. In layman’s terms that just means lifting heavier to promote tears in your muscle fibers, that then repair and rebuild.
That doesn’t mean you’ve to attempt to lift your whole body weight though. No, Max tells Cosmo UK that the perfect routine will switch between light, moderate and heavy weights week to week as well as changing up the number of reps you’re performing.
Another problem? Avoiding bigger weighted exercises like squats and deadlifts apparently.
According to Max “These exercises burn the most calories, engage the most muscle groups, test the core and more effectively shape the glutes compared to other exercises such as donkey kicks, squat jumps and band walks.”
That’s why you’ll want to incorporate them into your routine every single week being sure to consistently lift heavier as you go.
If you reckon neither of those two issues are responsible for your plateau, relying solely on HIIT cardio could be to blame.
Speaking to Stellar.ie, Nike Global Trainer Jos Thompson explained that HIIT is great but it might not be the key to long-term success.
“To a certain degree it does get you results but because those results come so quickly people were doing too much of it, too often, to try and get more results quicker,” says Jos. “What happens is that you end up over-training, or under-recovering. Some people were getting sick or injured. When you’re under-recovered you actually can lose motivation. For example, even a group of girls that I was training, one of them was like, ‘I can’t push in the sessions, I wake up feeling depressed.’ She was just doing too much.”
Basically, how you rest and recover is just as important as the work you put in during a session, so if you’ve noticed your progress slowing look to your nutrition and training plans first and foremost, and then check to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Remember, we all need a couch day every once in a while.
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