5 Reasons Many Fitness Enthusiast Stall
You’re in a good routine. You exercise regularly, eat relatively healthy, and make time to prioritize your fitness.
It happens. We all hit plateaus or periods of time where we can’t seem to make progress.
I want to chat about five different reasons you may be stuck and how to break through to set yourself up for progress in 2021.
- You’re not adequately recovering. There are many factors that go into proper recovering, but let’s talk about the ultimate recovery tool. Sleep. Try prioritizing 30 extra minutes of sleep per night. It may not seem like a lot, but the cumulative 3.5 hours per week will make a huge difference!
- You don’t have a set workout routine. What’s on the agenda today? Maybe a few squats, maybe some curls, the elliptical sounds nice…You know how this goes…It’s more about getting things done, or checking the list, than actually pushing yourself. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s fine to have workouts like that. It’s just not a great solution for breaking barriers or setting PR’s.
- Failing to vary your routine. Naturally, we enjoy doing exercises in the weight room that we are good at performing. However, changing up your routine, adding variety, and incorporating exercises that target your weakness can be a game changer for progress.
- Over emphasizing the concentric phase, but forgetting that eccentrics are where the real gains can be found. Research shows that more muscle tearing (and ultimately growth) occurs during the eccentric phase of a movement compared to the concentric phase of a movement. An example of the eccentric phase of a squat would be the lowering phase. This is sometimes referred to as the negative portion or the lengthening part of the movement. The concentric phase or shortening phase in the squat is the portion the ascent, where you return to standing. If you want to add muscle, definitely prioritize the eccentric phase – it hurts, but it’s a good burn. 🙂
- Making progressive overload the end all be all. I’ve talked at length about the importance of progressive overload, which in short is the concept that your body will adapt over time to a stimulus and that stimulus will need to be greater and greater…i.e. you must use heavier weights as you progress. However, sometimes progressive overload is emphasized to the detriment of other important qualities, like prioritizing the negative (see #4), perfecting form in order to drive intensity, or altering body position to change the stimulus.
If you’re stuck, try implementing one or more of these and pay attention over the next few weeks. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!