At the beginning of a fitness journey, you are ripe with new experiences & your body is going to go through a lot of changes. While some changes happen quickly and other changes happen more slowly, there are a constant firing of neurons and little transmitters getting things done inside your body. Your metabolism picks up, you lose a little bit of weight, you start to become confident, you get stronger, your mood picks up... the list of things that start to change physiologically and mentally are off the charts!
And then you hit your first plateau... Plateaus are hit when our bodies no longer respond to the exercises and energy out put that we are putting them through. This plateau also happens when our mass changes and we need to adjust our macro & micro nutrients. This is completely normal but something must be understood here.
When your body plateaus from exercise, it doesn't mean that the exercises you were doing weren't working, that your efforts were not enough, or that you have been wasting your time. You see, your body adapted. You grew strength & you increased your endurance and vitality. I am sure you have heard the phrase "it doesn't get easier, you get stronger," and this phrase holds so much truth. Once your body has adapted to 3 sets of 10 reps at 15 lbs, it is now time to make the exercises more difficult.
A great personal example from my own experiences comes from cardio. I mastered heavy weight training before I ever even thought about cardio. I was a big, solid girl and I had zero endurance. I would rather pick up everything as heavy as I could than to even walk 1 mile. But, as my muscles were growing and my fat loss began to plateau, I had to change things up. When I first started adding in cardio, 1-2 miles a day, I could see and feel changes. After about 6 weeks of this, I had to increase my speed. So, I began sprinting in intervals and my body fat started to melt away. Then it came to another screaming halt. So, I started running up hills & sets of stairs. Eventually, I started running 5-8 miles, and again when my body got used to that I either had to run quicker or I had to change them incline or distance.
This doesn't just relate to cardio vascular activities. This is very applicable to weight training. If you have a trainer or you do any reading in health magazines And online forums, you will probably know that it is necessary to change the way you lift every 4-6 weeks. This is because our bodies get used to the work load that we put on it. Eventually, you will outgrow your sets and reps and weight range. When a specific set of exercise prescription (ie sets/reps/weights/time) become comfortable --> it is time to change things up and beat the plateau!
The next time you begin to feel defeated in your exercise routine, consider increasing the weights, changing your sets and reps, or changing the type of training that you're doing altogether to throw your body into a new challenge, geared up for change.
Remember this: It doesn't get easier, YOU get stronger.
In health & Wellness