Most people will hit a point in their training, whether you are pro athlete or weekend warrior, where your improvement just seems to stop. It seems that no matter what you do, you are able to maintain, but not get better. Here’s some of our tips and tactics to that may help to get it going again.
Train With a Buddy
This is by no means hard and fast – but having a presence of someone else, especially if they are better than you, is proven to be a great way to accelerate your gains. If for no other reason, the mental buff you get by having someone else around, can aid in your motivation levels and ability to push yourself. One of the hardest things to do is push yourself into a place of burn that you really don’t want to into. Having someone to share that journey with makes a surprising difference.
Your Nutrition Needs Altering
As you get better, as your body changes shape, mass and consistency – your requirements for nutritional values change as well. What once was a perfect amount of food, or type of food, may no longer cut the mustard, so to speak. You may need to change the frequency within which you eat, heading to multiple small meals rather than 3 large square ones. What is often the case, is that people either eat way too much per portion and your body is focussed on digestion rather than output – or once you conquer this hurdle, the flipside can occur as well with not giving your body enough small meals. I often see people who adopt the frequent small meal approach – have 3 small square meals, rather than 5-6 small frequent fuel top-ops. Your body DOES need fuel for you to smash out a solid session.
Your Training Hasn’t Changed In a While
Unfortunately – this is a huge factor in training gain slumps. You often hear the phrase “mix it up” right? But you LOVE your spin class! Well you can certainly keep it, but you’re going to need to add some extras as well or change one of those classes for something else. Here’s the brief explanation that you don’t often hear. As your mind and body become more efficient at a particular activity, you need to expend less energy to achieve the same outcome. Now unless you are willing to continually push yourself mentally into new pain zones (and that’s the aim for sure) – we all tend to subconsciously sit in a mild discomfort zone, which limits our improvement. Here’s where variety comes into play. Incorporating new exercises into your workouts makes your muscles exert themselves in ways that they aren’t used to, which means they need to work harder. You can even be working the exact same muscle groups, but in doing it in a new way, you require them to co-ordinate and activate differently, which achieves the same effect. So maybe consider changing up one or two of your workouts each week to something fresh. It keeps things interesting and your motivation high. You could even add a workout BEFORE or AFTER your favourite session to load the muscles up with pre or post-fatigue….there’s always a way.
Variation Within Your Training
Try paused-reps, partial-reps or bottom-half-reps to maximize your gains in the full range of motion version. For example, try the Floor Press to help your Bench Press or a Front Squat from low pins to help your Clean. Changing how your reps are performed can help you get through those sticking points and build new levels of strength.
With Running, rather than just smashing out a 5km consistent haul – try varying your speed every 500m or 2mins. Every 2 mins actively raise your tempo and hold it, then lower again for recovery. This, incidentally, is why High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is so effective. Your body is continually forced to adapt, continually working hard, continually pushing. Winning!
Never lose heart Possiblers – there is always a way. If you have some great unique tips that worked for you, we’d love to hear them. Drop us a message here, a comment, or on our Facebook Page. We’re always keen to learn ourselves and it’s best done together. Go hard!