|The Dreaded Training Plateau
No matter how much training an individual does, a professional or average person, there is something that
will happen. This something is a plateau. A plateau means changes have happening to your body. Here
are some pointers, while not exhaustive, that can prevent the training plateau from being a part of your
If you have worked out five times a week, two hours each visit or 3 times a week for 1 hour each, one thing
you have remained constant. For a long time this hard work paid off. You lost a lot of weight and people
noticed and committed.
Then suddenly the changes stopped. Your muscles stopped responding and the weight loss stopped. You
gained a couple of pounds so now you train harder. Not only do your muscles stop responding, the scale
says you have gained 5 pounds. OH NO!!!
Well you have found the dreaded plateau. The plateau is when you body stops responding. This can be
difficult to break and most people don't even know that they have hit it. They just think that this is as good
as it gets. I promise you it is not and there is hope.
One thing to do is to stop and give yourself a break. Stop training for a while and do not step into the gym
or workout for 2 weeks. Let your body recover, rest up, and just give it a break. I know this can be difficult
but sometimes necessary. Professional bodybuilders do this so why cant you?
You may be training too hard and too much. Recently a man came to me that successfully lost over 100
lbs on his own. When he began everything worked and continued to do so for a long time. As time went on
his training time increased to a full 2- 21/2 hours a day however his gains stopped. He found the plateau.
I took his existing program, as detailed and exhaustive as it was, and threw it away. He was over training in
an effort to continue with his original results. I reduced his gym time to 1 hour, corrected some form for
him, and he began to obtain results.
There is one very important thing to remember. It is not the amount of time we spend in the gym, but
rather how we spend the time.
If your form is incorrect you are inviting injury. When you exercise you must think and focus on what you
are doing. Do each rep seriously like you want to do it. All muscles work in two directions. Never, never
use momentum of the swing to lift the weights and let gravity pull the weight down. This is where spending
a small amount of money with a trainer one time can be of tremendous benefit for you. A good
experienced trainer will address any incorrect form and put in place a proper program designed for you.
Compound exercises are exercises that involve 2 or more joint movements and thereby employing bigger
muscles and more synergistic muscles. These types of exercises can be good for you. Bench presses,
dead lifts, squats, and barbell curls among others are fantastic compound exercises. For example, when
you squat, all the muscles in your lower body get a workout. A squat also works your back and abs. Using
more muscles at one time means that you get a better overall workout. You do not have to be a
professional to do them. Deep knee bends, as an example, will work like a weightlifters squat. Everyone
can do those.
Your body is programmed to grow proportionately with only slight variations. If you do not train your legs,
your upper body mass will stop growing before it becomes large. Leg training is brutal; most don’t like it,
however it is necessary. A word of caution: compound exercises such as dead lifts, squats, and bench
presses must be performed in correct form or injury can occur easier. This is another place where your
personal fitness trainer comes in handy for education.
Pay attention to your core. Your core is by far the most important aspect of any workout. It will add
strength when worked properly and will instantly jump-start any program. A basic core exercise, and about
the best is the plank. Working your way up to 2 minuets with this will provide benefits you never thought
Proper training requires protein - the more, the better. Meat, especially red meats, fish, and chicken are
the best source. You must eat properly. Balance this in a blend of 40% protein, 40% good carbs, and 20
For obtaining proper gains and muscle preservation, you should consume 1 gram of good protein per
pound of your body weight. Drinking a protein shake immediately after your workout maximizes the window
for rapid absorption of nutrients. A protein drink should be consumed within ½ hour of your workout. You
should also eat 6 small meals daily so your muscles are constantly fed throughout the day and provide
proper balance. This will help rev up your metabolism for calorie burning and help your body work
properly. This explains the diabetic’s diet form of eating.
Water is essential. You need at least eight glasses of water every day. When you exercise you lose even
more water from sweating. So drink before, during and after your workout. An excellent habit to get into is
to drink water all day long.
The human body is wonderfully complex machine. It is designed to be used however it adapts quickly. So
any program you undertake, your body will get used to it and plateau. It is mandatory to change your
routine every 4-6 weeks. (This trainer makes changes for his personal clients and boot camps every 4
weeks to prevent this) For example, instead of working out your chest muscles at the start of your workout,
work your back muscles instead. You can reverse your whole routine or change the variations of your
exercises. You may add new ones and take away some old ones. You may change the amount of weights
used or you may change your repetitions. You must occasionally shock your body to keep it going. It will
also add a variety to your workout and prevent boredom.
Regardless stay in the gym for health and I wish you good success in your training.