Tips to get over plateauing
My gym workout performance is pretty cyclical and seems to follow patterns somewhat related to my relationship status (much more intense while single), the weather (Seasonal Affective Disorder), season (it's nice outside I don't want to go to the gym), motivation etc. Sometimes my ups and downs can last a couple of months
Some weeks it will feel as though I have the energy and motivation to constantly exert myself forever! Other weeks it feels like "why bother" and hitting the gym is tiring and hard.
I was hoping people could share their tips for overcoming debilitating "plateaus" where you seem to reach a point but hit a wall with regards to improvement or motivation. Here are some of my own.
1.) Coffee. I have actually been caffeine free for over 3 months now. This was a forced abstinence after a severe and debilitating addiction. However I still believe that coffee is the greatest pre- and workout drink ever! The Diuretic effects notwithstanding (as they can be counteracted with regular water intake). Caffeine increases muscle performance and mental focus - great for overcoming the "I'm bored" thing that happens a lot. The more you drink it though the more conditioned your body becomes to it. Taking breaks restores the original affect and extra lift it brings to me. I kinda only use it as a secret weapon though :P (I'm really sensitive to caffeine!)
2.) Creatine. I am an off and on user of creatine for building lean muscle. I have used it over multiple spans through out the years to get over performance plateaus and build muscle mass when my strength gain has stopped. Each time I get back on it I am amazed at the results. There is probably a placebo/psychosomatic basis in part - but all the same it works. My muscles get hungry for work and fatigue much less easily. It feels like my muscles have much more ATP in them. (in hopes of describing what's great about it)
3.) Sleep. Extra sleep is amazing. Without good sleep I can never will myself into reaching the next level.
4.) This website is great motivation. I don't have any active people in my life so sometimes wearing the yoke of discipline alone is tough -- and leads to plateaus!
what do you do?
I don't have a problem with plateaus. I only hit the the gym once a week. I train hard then rest and enjoy life.
Ditching milk crashed me through my plateau!
If it's nice out, workout outside... you can sprint, do plyometrics, pullups/pushups/pistols, hit a tire with a sledgehammer, etc.
"If I could give one piece of fitness advice to most trainees it would be to stop doing what you are doing and try something else." - Dan John
When I hit a plateau, I change what I'm doing. Nothing refreshes my energy or motivation like a something new. It doesn't have to be a radical change. For instance, I was getting bored with my trail sprints, so I've switched to sprinting uphill. I'm still outside, still on natural ground, and still running, but the change from flat to hill was invigorating. Been doing a lot of MetCon lifting, maybe switch it up to a cycle of low rep/high weight lifting.
Try something new and you'll shock your body, reinvigorate your mind, and spark a new round of progress.