A fitness plateau can be an extremely frustrating and disheartening experience, but if you know how to predict one, then you may even be able to prevent it. There are many different reasons that you can suddenly find that you don’t feel like you’re progressing forward, despite the fact that you’re giving your workout your all.
The key to understanding when you might hit a fitness plateau – and breaking out of it – is a matter of knowing why they happen in the first place.
The main reason that a fitness plateau will happen for most people – not including the impact of unique physical and medical conditions – is that the body becomes increasingly fit as a workout routine is continued, to the point that it becomes “used” to the regimen and is no longer challenged by it. When you are fit enough that a workout isn’t as hard as it used to be, then you’re simply not going to benefit from it in the same way that you did back when it took everything out of you to complete it.
Overall, it takes less work and energy to be able to complete the same tasks. Your body moves more efficiently and just doesn’t need to push the muscles as hard as it used to.
Therefore, one of the best ways to be able to predict when to expect a plateau is by paying attention to how challenging your exercises feel. Are the workouts that once felt impossible now feeling rather normal and routine? Did you used to leave the gym feeling like you couldn’t have given another minute and now you still feel like you could jog to your car? That could be a sign of things to come.
In that sense, one of the best ways to stop yourself from reaching that point where you level off and can’t seem to start making any more progress is to pay attention to how you’re doing all the way through your workout and to adapt as you become more fit. The exercises you’re doing now simply can’t be the ones that you will do for the rest of your life. Your body won’t get as much from them as it increases its fitness level.
Instead, avoiding plateaus means you will need to be open to adding more exercises, choosing more challenging versions of the same exercises, walking more briskly, jogging instead of walking, or otherwise changing your routine so your body will continue to be challenged by it and will benefit from it.