You’ve been a beast in the gym for a while now, but you’re starting to see your progress stall? Some minor tweaks to your lifestyle and training routine can help push you through.
So let’s start by evaluating where you are right now – be honest! How has your sleep been these last few weeks? Are you dead asleep the minute your head touches the pillow, or do you toss and turn endless for hours? Are you up until 1am finishing that paper (or that beer) instead of tucked into bed by 10pm? Many people say they function fine on six hours of sleep, but the average amount of sleep a person needs to set themselves up for a good day is eight hours. And don’t fool yourself, it’s nearly impossible to “catch up on your sleep” on the weekends.
Take a look at your diet next. It’s difficult choosing well in our fast-paced lives, but if you’re subsisting off of burgers and pizza more than whole grains and lean proteins, you may want to revisit high school health class and pick up Canada’s Food Guide found here: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/view_eatwell_vue_bienmang-eng.pdf
How is the quality of your workouts lately? Is your beast mode turning into more of a cranky house pet? Are you skimping on your reps and sets to spend more time on your deadlift? Are you perhaps a little too wrapped up on Instagram in between sets and losing valuable sweat time? Maybe you are short-changing or even skipping a workout to head to that really important thing tonight hoping to see your crush?
What about your rest days? Are you actually resting on your rest days? This is valuable time that your muscles need to recover from your workouts. You can’t ask your body to do its best when it’s exhausted.
So let’s say you’re sleeping like a baby, eating the most balanced of meals, and your life is scheduled around your workouts but you’re still not seeing progress. Maybe you just need to adjust your goals. Try tracking your workouts with a bit more attention. You may find that you are improving on other aspects of your workouts, not just your heavy lifts. If the scale isn’t showing your gains, try taking weekly progress photos to see the change of body composition over time.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Something else to consider is how variable is your training program? Repetition breeds efficiency. Your muscles will become so adapted to lifting the same way, the same weight, in the same order that they become super-efficient at getting the work done with the least amount of effort. Normally that’s great, but not when you’re exercising. You always want to make sure your body is stimulated by different challenges in order to gain strength and power. Try something new with these suggestions:
- Use a day to train your volume instead of intensity
- Play with different grips, which help recruit different muscles to different degrees
- Change up your technique. Always back squat? Try a front squat today
- Change the order in which you do your exercises
If All Else Fails…
We have CSEP certified personal trainers and exercise physiologist on staff to help you excel. With member pricing options, you can have as many or as few sessions with a personal trainer as you need. Not only will we help you break through your plateau, but we work with you one-on-one to build better training programs that are personalized to you and your goals. We support and motivate you to succeed, and we love what we do!
 Cohen, D. A., Wang, W., Wyatt, J. K., Kronauer, R. E., Dijk, D., Czeisler, C. A., & Klerman, E. B. (2010). Uncovering Residual Effects of Chronic Sleep Loss on Human Performance. Science Translational Medicine, 2(14). doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3000458