There is nothing more detrimental to achieving a fitness goal than a muscle-building plateau. You may have been making great progress, and then all of a sudden you find yourself hitting a wall and failing to get any further. Is there anything that can be done?
The good news is, there are some strong strategies to help you overcome this slight delay, and this guide explores the ones you need below.
First Up: What Is a Plateau?
A plateau is often defined as a period when you are working out but not seeing the progress you want, or any at all. If you have hit one, you may be feeling downtrodden and even wonder if there is any point in carrying on.
Well, there is, because every plateau period can be overcome successfully with the right motivation and encouragement.
When it comes to muscle-building, a plateau is most noticeable if your growth has slowed right down, and it is most commonly seen after the first six months of training. It can be discouraging, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your journey.
How to Overcome a Muscle-Building Plateau?
1. Increase Your Workout
One route to go down is to increase what you are doing. Though this may feel like the last thing you actually want to do, there are benefits to switching up your style and working harder.
Protect your energy at all times, but try to push yourself in a new area and see what you could do to improve the overall results.
For muscle building, there are a thousand and one strategies that could help, and you won’t know unless you try. Make sure it fits in with what you’re trying to achieve and don’t be afraid to mix it up.
2. Try More Protein
It is also incredibly easy to increase your protein intake. Protein foods are a valuable source for anyone with muscle-building goals and if you have hit a wall, then it may be time to take a look at what you are actually eating in this area.
You can do this with a food diary and by meal planning as well. Make sure that you are eating protein at least a few times a day with each meal and that it is a good source instead of a small boost.
3. Keeping a Food Diary on the Go
If you do start a food diary, which is highly recommended to overcome a plateau, there are certain things that work vs. things that aren’t particularly useful. Here are the top tips:
- Write down your meal plans for the week.
- Keep a tally of how much protein you manage to include in a meal.
- Make it varied because eating the same thing over and over can get boring and exacerbate the problem.
- Be disciplined with what you fill in because this is a tool designed to get you through a down patch.
4. Steer Clear of Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the biggest barriers to gaining muscle because it has so many harmful impacts on the body and mind. If you have increased your drinking lately because of social gatherings or any other reason, take a look at the bigger picture.
Every time you over-indulge with alcoholic beverages, your muscles will suffer and so will your workouts. It will be impossible to come out of a muscle-building plateau if you are drinking too much, so this issue needs to be addressed head-on.
5. Focus on Pre-Workouts
Every person working out knows the value of a strong pre-workout ritual. This will often include supplements and there are plenty of benefits from improving your overall performance to better results on the other side. Today, it’s possible to find pre-workouts for various goals that will suit your needs.
There is no point in including supplements if they are not going to be effective in helping you achieve your fitness dreams, and it is important to ensure your body is getting the right products as you move along the journey.
This is particularly great if you are experiencing a plateau because adding a supplement or changing your routine for something more efficient will dramatically increase your chance of success.
6. Work Out with a Buddy
If your muscle gain is slowing down because your motivation to gain has decreased, then this is something that is easy to rectify.
Working out with a friend, for instance, is one of the most popular methods for getting over a difficult hump and getting back into the spirit of it all. You can help each other and encourage fitness goals in a personal way.
Sometimes, all it takes is having a good friend by your side while you work out or checking in with you afterward to encourage you to work harder and smarter.
7. Focus On Your Confidence
It is all too common to feel a drop in confidence once you notice a plateau period setting in. However, this is the time to dig deep and find that resilience. The more you give in to the negativity, the less likely it is that you will be able to bounce back anytime soon.
The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to start seeing positive results again, and this will only put you in a detrimental spiral that is difficult to climb out of.
So, focusing on your confidence is a great way to boost your overall sense of achievement and re-center your energy on what’s important to you, i.e., that fitness goal!
8. Take a Week to Recalibrate
Though stopping for too long is not recommended for many reasons, sometimes taking some headspace to recalibrate is the best thing for your muscle plateau. Keep working out, but don’t focus on what you are gaining or what you are not gaining.
Instead, just work out for the fun of it and rediscover what it is that took you down this path in the first place. Recalibration does wonders for the soul and when you get back into it properly, you will find that you have completely refocused, and those muscles will feel the benefit.
Overcoming a muscle-building plateau takes an active approach and is not something you can do without researching and understanding the problem.