Progress plateaus: What to do if you’re in a plateau? Part Two
In our previous blog post we established what causes a plateau, and how to know if you’re actually in one. It can be harder than it sounds to know whether or not you are truly in a plateau, as there are so many other factors that can affect progress.
However if you are compliant, sleeping well, training properly, hitting your step targets, drinking enough water and managing stress, then the reason you aren’t seeing progress is likely a plateau.
Once you have determined you are actually in a plateau, it's probably time to make some changes to your program. If your goal is fat loss, it's important to manipulate energy balance so that you're still in a deficit. There are a few ways to do this, and you can implement these changes gradually so that you aren’t playing all your cards at once. For example, you can increase steps while keeping your calories the same, or add in two cardio sessions a week instead of increasing your steps. Alternatively, if you have room you can drop your calories lower instead of adding more cardio or steps.
There are multiple ways to manipulate energy balance without completely exhausting all your methods and creating an unsustainable program.
Here are the best ways to overcome a plateau and ensure you keep making progress.
- Increase your calories. Yes, this may seem counterintuitive, but depending on the length of our dieting period, it may be time for a diet break before you continue cutting calories.
- Increase your daily step target. This is a great way to ensure your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) stays high and increases your total daily energy expenditure.
- Change your program. Depending on your current training split, you may need to temporarily increase or decrease your training volume. You may potentially be doing too much training and over-stressing your body, or you may need to add an extra training session or extra cardio to increase your energy output.
- Decrease calories. Depending on how long you have been dieting, it may be time to decrease your calories slightly to ensure you are still in a calorie deficit.
- Be patient! The best way to get through a plateau is simply to be patient. Once you have made the necessary adjustments, you need to give them time to work. Wait 2-3 weeks and see what happens before making further drastic changes to your training and nutrition.
Knowing when you’re in a plateau and deciding whether to stop dieting, keep dieting, reduce training or increase training can be hard, so don’t feel like you have to do it alone! Joint TWS today for your personalised training and nutrition program, and let me guide you through the hard stuff.