Internal Plateaus - Are YOU Holding Yourself Back?
3 WAYS YOU ARE LIKELY STANDING IN THE WAY OF YOUR OWN HEALTH AND SUCCESS.
One of the most common things we all deal with on our fitness journey is the inevitable internal plateau. When we have been working our hardest and yet we don’t feel like we are getting anywhere, or we start questioning why we we bother, since we still don’t look like that person on Instagram we have been #fitgoals-ing all month. (You know, the one who said in 30 days you could look like them?… #thisneedstostop) We ALL have been at this point. It can be one of the hardest parts of our journey, and it has been the cause of many people choosing to walk away from their goals because they feel like they do not know how to surpass it, or worse, don’t believe they are capable.
Many of my clients have come to me with their stories of their plateaus and about the struggle of the “Stop and Go” fitness journey. This is where we stop because we are unsure, afraid, angry, etc, we revert backwards, and then start back up with new found motivation a few months, or even sometimes years later, only to work really hard and get back to that same plateau with no new knowledge on how to proceed. So, we take another break and say we will come back to it later. Cue the next round of the the ferris wheel that is Internal Plateaus.
So let’s end the cycle, let’s get off this ride and try something new, the POSITIVITY cycle. I am here to tell you that you CAN break through those internal plateaus and surpass your wildest expectations of your body and health. And I am going to start today by sharing with you 3 of the biggest internal causes of plateaus that I have found over the course of my own fitness journey as well as those of my clients. Let’s talk about how to break through each of them!
1.”Does 10 Crunches, Looks for 6 Pack.” a.k.a Unrealistic Expectations. Whether you are new to exercise or have been training for a while, we all have a tendency to get ahead of ourselves sometimes. Trust me, my brain is usually always 6 miles ahead of my body, its just part of the journey. We are so excited to get to our destination we don’t take the time to assess the actual journey ahead of us to get there and expect to be able to sprint there and be there by dinner. Unfortunately that’s just not possible. When you start your fitness journey, or when you are embarking on new goals to get stronger or faster, etc., the biggest thing that’s going to set us back are our unrealistic expectations of when we should see/feel these changes. DONT throw in the towel just because you haven’t seen your six pack yet, or you still feel sluggish during cardio after a month of training. You can’t undo years of a non-active, sedentary lifestyle in a week or two. You gotta stick with it! You gotta go the distance. It takes finding your balance between consistent exercise and a healthy, balanced food intake, and maybe for others, adding on some extra changes that may be necessary, (Stress management, proper sleep, etc.) This is how we will win the race. Find out what needs to be adapted in your life FIRST before you throw yourself into it.
Remember that, Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail. This is how we create a whole new lifestyle, because that is what living healthy and active is, a lifestyle. Not a trend, not a short term goal. When you are in it, like all good relationships, you should be in it for the long haul.
The rule of thumb is to always start with the “Feel Good” changes and as those progress, the Physical changes will follow right behind! So look out for those “Feel Good” signs…. When your energy gets higher, when those stairs at work seem easier to climb, when you can train longer, lift heavier, and run faster, that’s the ticket! When you feel it, trust me, it’s working! And if you STICK with it, I promise you will SEE it.
2. Body/Self Negativity. The title speaks for itself, but let me start by asking you this, Have you ever found yourself uttering these phrases?
“I’m so fat/skinny.”
“I’m never going to be sexy.”
“I’m so weak.”
“I barely worked out this week, I suck.”
“I’m never going to be able to achieve that.” Yah? Me too. Let me ask you another question, would you ever say that to or about a friend or family member that was struggling? OF COURSE NOT, right? So WHY would be it be ok to say it to yourself? Negativity and self-shaming Is not how you motivate yourself and it’s not going to do anything but prohibit you from achieving success because you are shadowing the part of yourself that would propel you forward, YOUR CONFIDENCE! You must believe in yourself, even in your darkest moments, because you are the one who controls your fate, your body, and your progress, no one else. It’s You Vs. You. Don’t shame yourself if you fall off track, the difference between success and failure is your decision to give up and stay down, or to stand up, dust yourself off and try again. #aaliyahsmotto We must practice Self Love and Confidence every day, It is not gained over night. Sometimes we have to practice more than once a day, but we can be our best ally if we want to be. It’s hard and takes time to change old habits, or to create a new way of life, so let’s start with something small, start by giving yourself credit for all of the things you do! Thank yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for all of the small successes you achieve every day! “I am proud I walked to work today instead of drove.”
“I am happy I chose to take some me-time”
“I am thankful I took some time to pack my lunches.”
"I am proud that I went for a run with my dog.”
“I am thankful that I drank more water today.’ “I am proud that I looked into that dance class I have been procrastinating taking.” EVERY STEP FORWARD is a good step, no matter how small. So, give yourself love! Be proud of everything you are now and for everything you will achieve! Practice positive self-feedback and you will see positive self-progress!
Lastly, 3. There IS such a thing as TOO much exercise! Sometimes the “Go Hard or Go Home” mentality doesn’t apply. Demanding yourself to do daily workouts, without making time to rest, will not help you reach your goals faster. It may do quite the opposite. Overtraining occurs when the exercise load is too excessive and you are lessening the amount of recovery time. Overworking the body’s systems can lead to decreased performance and plateaus. 1-2 days a week off from exercise is recommended for proper rest and recovery. One of the best ways to avoid overtraining is by properly scheduling rest days into your exercise plan and changing things up by alternating between some hard and easy workouts. Listen to your body and make sure to give it the time it needs. Don’t forget that muscles rebuild stronger during REST.
When you work your muscles, the time under tension creates small micro tears in the muscles that, when resting, heal and rebuild bigger and stronger!
So ensure to rest up! Don’t kill yourselves training. Listen to your body! First and Always!
So, if you are noticing an internal plateau, take a step back and reanalyze.
What are you doing and what do you need to add or subtract from your current regimen to increase your progress while still ENJOYING the process?
Always remember, it is You Vs. You in the game of goal achievement.
So, practice self-love and positivity and make sure to give yourself ample time to rest and reboot.
Focus on that mind/body connection; it is your first and most valuable tool towards crushing your goals!
xo. Britt Lovell