And… Why we (Hustle Fitness) love to work with people who have plateaued!
At Hustle Fitness Lincoln Park we train all sorts of different individuals: mothers and fathers struggling to find time to workout, young professionals trying to build a routine that will last a lifetime, weekend warriors looking to prevent injury, etc. The thing that they all have in common is that they all wish to look, feel, and move better.
We work with all these different individuals but our favorite type of person to work with are those who have hit that dreaded plateau. I personally love working with people who have tried everything under the sun to lose weight and body fat and have yet to find permanent success. Why? Because they are ready to make the change! They are so frustrated with the same results over and over and they will do whatever it takes to be successful! If I could bottle that type of inspiration and sell it I would be a billionaire. Most people who have been stuck for a period of time are open and receptive to following our advice and coaching strategies (at least 80% of the time not counting cheat meals :).)
Many of you have probably heard “through struggle comes strength” or “the obstacle is the way” and I truly believe these sayings are accurate. If someone comes to me tired of trying every diet and fitness plan, tired of feeling sick and weak, and tired looking at themselves naked in front of the mirror, I know I can get them results because they are willing to do what it takes to be successful!
Here are my top 5 secrets to breaking past a plateau (in no particular order).
- Keep workouts under 35 min.
You will begin to see diminishing returns the longer you exercise, if the goal is fat loss. Short, more intense workouts improve cardiovascular health (better than longer workouts), trigger fat burning, and promote lean muscle. Longer less intense workouts can break down lean tissues making it harder to burn fat. Also Adrenal Fatigue can mess with your hormones and make it impossible to lose weight.
- Prioritize strength training.
Focus on getting stronger than you were a week ago. No matter your goal this should always be the #1 focus of your workout plan. Your absolute strength is the ceiling to your work capacity or how much intensity you can put into your workouts.
- Change your sets/reps/tempo.
And change the weight you use or load to match. You don’t have to change exercises as frequently as you think but changing the sets, reps and tempo during exercise can totally change the effect of the workout. Think instead of doing 2 sets of 10 with 20lbs try 3 sets of 5 reps with 30lbs. It will be a totally different workout and you don’t have to change the exercise.
- Stop Running (in fact stop all forms of what you currently call “cardio”).
Running burns calories. But as mentioned above it can burn lean muscle too making it hard to tone. Metabolic Strength Training (how we train at Hustle) burnscalories, it also causes your body to burn more calories and fat well aftertheworkoutisover, and it buildsleanmuscle which leads to increased hormone balance and continual lean muscle toning. Running only does one of those three and it’s the least effective at burning fat. If you love running and must do it try sprinting and walking instead. Start with sprinting 15-30 sec and running 60 sec for a total of 5 sets. Increase sprint intervals gradually before increasing sets. Make sure you warm-up well before sprinting and stretch after.
- Build healthy and effective habits over time.
Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Do 5 min of mobility when you wake. Stretch every 2 hours at your desk. Eat protein with every meal. Go for a walk after work. Read before you go to bed instead of watching tv. Take fish oil. Eat 3-6 green veggies a day to help fight inflammation. Each of these habits can help you get better results and they are all easy to do. The mistake people make is trying to start all of them at once and not having a support system in place. Build habits over time and find someone to hold you accountable.
The road to success is never a straight line. Most people quit not because it’s hard but because it’s easier to quit than it is to keep going. But if you come to the point where ‘enough is enough’ and you can focus on getting better every day the only thing you are missing is the right plan and a little support.