Plateaus. Everyone hits one at some point in their life. Getting out of them can feel like climbing out of quick sand, slow and painful. Personally for me plateaus can last for months leaving me really unmotivated and in a bad place with my training.
For me over exam season I lost all motivation in the gym, I gained lots of weight and I simply did not have the energy to do any form of exercise. Exam season has been over for more than a month now and I am only just finding my motivation again in the gym. I thought for this blog post I would share how I overcame the mental and physical block that I experienced.
For me the hardest part was mentally. Not having exercised properly in a month meant that I struggled to motivate myself spending twenty minutes in bed debating whether or not I wanted to actually get up out of bed. Once I was up I would find any reason to not go to the gym. I knew that to overcome this I needed to find something that would make me excited to get up in the morning. For me this meant making sure I had an awesome breakfast that would start my day off right. For the past few weeks my breakfast has been my protein bowl cake topped with fruit and honey. Not only is it delicious but it makes a great pre-workout meal. I then make sure I walk to the gym, I don’t walk to the gym specifically for the cardio benefits but by walking I have time to clear my head and make sure that I am actually ready for my workout.
My next problem was that even if I finally got to the gym I had no set goal or set workout plan. So for me I needed to switch things up and for me that meant more or less changing my entire gym routine. The idea of switching it up actually excited me, I incorporated a lot more classes into my week. Not only did this increase the amount of cardio that I was doing but I was beginning to enjoy working out again. I’ve started doing two spin classes a week, yoga once a week and a body pump class once a week. Alongside this I began switching up my workouts in the gym as well, cutting back on my typical accessory work and tackling a new challenge of Olympic lifting. My Sunday workout is purely dedicated to Olympic lifting and as a result I feel like I have increased my strength as well as my passion for the gym. My deadlifts in the past week alone have increased in weight by 10kgs and my squats by 20kg. Alongside that I have found that my new favourite exercise is front squats, I’ve found it really challenges my glutes, quads and core making it a great Sunday night lift to finish off my week.
My biggest struggle now however is my diet. Over the past few months I have found myself feeling more confident with how my body looks even at a slightly heavier weight. As a result I eat more or less what I feel like eating and yes this does include a full pack of donuts for lunch sometime. I know if I want to lean up a bit I need to look more carefully at what I am eating. I don’t want to make myself miserable on low carb or low calorie diets because from experience I know that doesn’t work for me and just leaves me incredibly grumpy. My main focus is to ensure that I am getting in a lot of high volume foods such as plates of veggies and salads and then hitting my protein every day. Other than that I don’t have a particular diet at this moment in time but I have found that by upping my vegetable intake I am naturally feeling fuller for longer and am not binging on junk food like I was a few weeks ago. I do know that if I want to see a reduction in my body fat percentage I would possibly need to track my calorie intake to ensure a deficit but for me personally I have found that only increases my stress levels resulting in once again a very grumpy Emma.
My main advice for overcoming plateaus is to just get up, get out there and do it. The longer you put it off the harder it is to get back out there and get back on track. I know from experience that is the hardest part but when you get back out there it is so worth it.
I would love to know how any of you overcome any setbacks and plateaus that you might have experienced.