Everyone gets frustrated from time to time, everyone. It is a human emotion. When it comes to exercising and working out – after first plunging feet first with passion and verve a la beastmode- we begin to see the telltale signs of progress. The too-legit-to-quit kind of progress. Then it seems to level off and reach a stalemate. We ask ourselves, “Wth?”
Every trainer, fitness enthusiast and self proclaimed gymrat has their own proprietary blend of advice, tips, and special way of explaining things.
They suck. And you know when you’ve reached one. I try and avoid a great deal of complex, scientific mumbo jumbo. I believe in science yes. So I will begin by saying the human body is complex. It also has an amazing ability to adapt to whatever it is we are doing to it. NASM describes something known as SAID, or Specific Adaptations of Imposed Demands. “….our body gets better and more efficient the more it is exposed to the same stimulus.”
Legend Frank Zane once said, “A lot of guys have better genes but if you work hard and consistently, you can outperform them.” Never one to enjoy being stuck – nor do I know anyone that does – and also knowing the signs, once I feel like my progress begins to stall I consult my fitness rolodex to shake things up.
Shake it off
Easier said than done I know. Keep things simple I also say. Sometimes the most basic of methods can be the most effective. Truly. Changing variables can be as easy as reversing the order of the exercises in your already existing routine. Structure and routine are both good, however doing the same reps for the same exercises, week after month gets dull – and your muscles will begin to think so too.
I am also a strong proponent of “muscle confusion”. YES, there is debate on this too. It seems everything is up for debate these days however this isn’t a soap box, it is a place to share practical advice – for practical people.
Whether it be my own workouts or my clients, I try to constantly target the muscles from different angles. Again, this can be as easy as adjusting a grip, a bench angle, or standing vs sitting. Once you master proper form – ramp it up.
To show an example of just how much things change, my very first exam instructed future trainers “to not lecture, or suggest to clients what to eat.” Now we are meal preppers. I’m actually going to leave this one alone other than to say I’ve always believed diet and nutrition is crucial – and still do. And I still stress that to my clients.
With a little outside-of-the-box-creativity combined with an eye-on-the-prize mentality, you will get over the plateaus, revitalize your workouts, and move forward.
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