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How to know if you’ve hit a plateau

We’ve all been there – the dreaded plateau. When you’re trying to lose weight, get stronger, build endurance or develop new skills, it’s that moment when you feel like your progress levels out and just won’t get better.

First, let’s talk about what’s going on: A plateau occurs when you feel like you’ve hit a wall, or stalled out, on any progress for your health or fitness goals. Despite doing “all the right things” including eating right, exercising the way you should, getting enough sleep, etc., it feels like you just can’t get any better. You were killing it and on a roll, now you’re frustrated and can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.

Here’s some good news, though. What you think is a plateau might just be a little bit of life’s crazy stuff sneaking in. No judgements here, we just know that when you’ve been working hard, established a routine, and stuck to it for a long time, it’s easy to think you’re doing everything the same. But let’s look closer.

First, if you think you’re eating exactly the same, try tracking your meals for a week or two. You’ve been doing great for months, so once in a while you reward yourself with a cheat day. Good for you! But maybe you are taking more cheat days than you thought and might have fallen back into old habits without realizing it. Keeping a food journal is a great way to make sure that you are staying on track.

Next, let’s check into your workouts. If you’ve been rockin’ your routine for months and seeing great progress, are you rewarding yourself by skipping reps, taking a few more days off than usual, or getting bored and leaving classes a little early? Sometimes a plateau is when you do so great that you stop pushing yourself as hard without realizing it. Just like with the food journals, track your workouts and see if you’re really sticking to it.

Last, let’s talk about sleep. Yes, sleep. Are you getting enough sleep? This is one thing that most people don’t think about.  You’re exercising, eating right, but for whatever reason you’re not getting the same amount of sleep you used to. Lack of sleep boosts stress, lessens our body’s ability to rebuild muscle and recover from strenuous activity, and kills our ability to push ourselves and do more.

Looking at your nutrition, exercise and sleep habits over the last few weeks, what’s the verdict? If you find that you might have been slipping here and there, it’s easy to make a few corrections that will get you back on track. But, if you’ve really been sticking to your routine, there are a few tricks we know that will help you break through – and we’ll share those in our next article.

Kristy CooperHow to know if you’ve hit a plateau

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