You have been working for a while now, steadfastly without missing your scheduled program. You never took a day off nor did you miss any training sessions. Your motivation was up, you were gaining regularly and tremendous results kept coming and coming from your workout… and then, something happened and you quit growing without any significant change in your diet, exercise or rest. So what happened…? Alas, you hit a plateau!
What is a plateau?
During the training sessions, whether you are trying to lose weight, reshape your body or want to gain bulk, a time reaches when you feel like everything seems to stall and you are not getting the desired progress anymore, i.e. your body goes to some sort of equilibrium state or more specifically in a state of plateau. Second, only to injury and muscle pulls, a plateau is the dirtiest and probably the most frustrating thing in the world of fitness.
Literally meaning “reach a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress”, a plateau is an abrupt halt to your progress despite exercising properly, adding more weights to your sets, eating well and adequate rest. According to some expert’s opinion, plateaus could be the result of your body’s impressive ability to adapt itself to stressful conditions. It could be one of two types:
- Weight loss plateau – Weight loss stops abruptly after beginning a workout or diet plan
- Muscular body plateau – Sudden stop in the weight gain, muscle building or attaining strength
Regardless of the type, the worst part about hitting a plateau is that it is multifactorial, i.e. there could be more than one reason, e.g. accustomed to stress, caloric intake, biofeedback responses, overtraining and lack of strategic modifications in training programs. Read on to dig out some overlooked possible signs of a plateau…
No progress in muscle growth
Many times, we get caught up repeating the same exercises over and over again. In this situation, we are actually working in the same group of muscles in the same pattern. The body responds well to any new activity; however, it becomes accustomed to the old stimulus over a long period of time.
Loss of strength
Experiencing a sudden loss in general strength is the most common sign of hitting a plateau. This is due to the fact that your body has not been able to cope with your exercise routine and it could be a result of either poor muscle recovery or excessive damage.
Failure to achieve a pump
The Human body is so responsive and efficient that it tends to adapt itself as soon as possible whenever a new stimulus is introduced. However, if you are overtraining or repeating the same exercise routine for weeks and months, then you may no longer feel a “pump”, and that could be a definitive sign of plateau.
Decrease in appetite
During a training session, rapidly growing cells (muscles) require a constant supply of nutrients and your body metabolism increases significantly due to the consumption of extra calories. However, you might also notice a decrease in appetite if you lose aggressiveness while lifting weights or begin to fatigue easily. Psychological problems, personal interests and most commonly an underlying pathology are some prominent reasons of decrease in appetite.
To find out how to deal with a plateau read our next article five of the best ways to break a plateau in the Gym