Written by: Adam Rubin, WRRFC Fitness Trainer
Progress plateaus when effort plateaus
I have not spoken to anybody who has told me they joined a fitness club without an expectation to see a positive change in themselves. Whether it be an improvement in strength, body composition or endurance. Everybody has some sort of idea of what they want and expect when they start out. Assuming you are focusing on resistance training and not endless amounts of cardio, the common narrative goes something like this:
The first couple of months are challenging, but then results begin to show. Maybe you shed a few pounds, your arms begin to show some definition or you lose an inch or two around your waist. This increases enthusiasm and promotes adherence but this is as far as it gets. Why is it that no matter how consistent you are with making it to the gym, that progress stalls? Effort has something to do with it.
The body adapts to the stress it is subjected to. In the beginning, you went from no physical activity to regular exercise...which is why you began to see changes, but the body does not adapt more than it has to in order to meet the demands placed upon it. Progress plateaued more than likely because your effort plateaued.
Workout routines should never be "routine"
Every session you should be pushing the envelope in some capacity. Try this the next time you are in the gym: do one more rep than you did the last time, do the same amount of reps with slightly more weight, or take shorter rests in between sets. Go in to every workout determined to do something you haven't achieved before. This is why, I believe, that keeping a detailed workout log is so important. It helps you compete with yourself day in and day out. An average plan followed through with intensity yields better results than a perfect plan done half-heartedly.
There are countless adages that are all along the lines of "you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable". It is so simple, but often overlooked. The people who say that getting to the gym is half the battle are those not working hard enough when they get there.
Your workout routine should never feel "routine"!
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