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An Uphill Battle: Avoiding Fitness Plateaus

May 15, 2017

How many times have clients set the same goal over and over just to be discouraged by a lack of results. They tell you that they tried time and time again – they saw results for a while, then it hit: They plateaued.

A fitness plateau is one of the most common reasons people give up on themselves. While it can be overwhelming and even confusing for clients to understand why they have to steadily change their fitness routines, this is where a knowledgeable trainer comes in to place.

But, where do you start them after you have already tried so many things? Let’s tackle some of these battles together so you can develop the mental strength that I swear is already in your clients to help them be the happiest they have ever been.

Don’t Expect Result From Long Repetition

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.”

Some clients may go back to a routine that worked for them before they plateaued and see some minor benefit before plateauing again. This happens because they don’t know how to progress past the fitness plateau according to their physical improvements.

Get clients out of their comfort zone. There are reasons why certain things may be difficult for them, but it is your job as a trainer to explain why something isn’t working for them and get clients back on track. I promise you that your clients will surprise themselves when they see what can be achieved with the right tools and consistency. When they see results, motivation will never die.

Switch Up Their Diet Habits

You may have . Though this statement is vague and true, your clients still need to change up pieces in their diet to reflect the different results they want to achieve and get past their fitness plateau.

Nutrition is a very complex subject and will vary from individual to individual. Everyone will be affected differently according to a lengthy list of preexisting factors such as:

  • Stress levels
  • Sleep patterns
  • Frequency of meals
  • Hormones
  • Health concerns
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Activity levels

To give your clients a well-rounded program, try partnering with another professional that will analyze all of these factors to help you and your clients create organized eating plans. These plans will help them along their journey to reach each of their goals as the goal shifts.

If investing a few months to partner with and learn this process from another professional is not an option, there are many different resources out there that will explain the science behind keeping track of how many grams of carbs, fats, and proteins your client should intake on a daily basis based on their fitness routine.

Encourage clients that getting a kitchen scale to measure out portions will help them whether they are with a professional or trying to figure it out on your own.

Knowing the quantity of nutrients clients are consuming throughout a day puts a lot of things into perspective. There are also many apps available that clients can use to scan food labels or weigh ingredients and record them. Encouraging clients to keep a fitness and nutrition journal helps them track their nutrition so you can help create a plan designed to help them overcome their fitness plateau.

Keep in mind that there is also a lot of trial and error in nutrition, and it is a process that needs to be embraced. Mixing things up every month or so along with adjusting the stress implemented in the workouts will keep clients from plateauing and keep their metabolism fast and effective.

Get In Enough Strength & Resistance Training & Switch Up The Cardio

Women are typically the demographic who fear gaining muscle as they are told that that “gaining muscle” actually means getting bigger and less feminine (which is simply not true).

As such, women often stick to exercises like yoga or cardio to prevent “bulking up” while trying to get fit or lose weight. Naturally, they will reach a fitness plateau because their routine leaves out important exercises like HIIT and strength and resistance training.

While men generally don’t have this fear, they should also be spending more time doing heavy resistance training if they gave similar goals of losing weight. The more muscle mass one has, the more fat is able to be utilized for energy and will be burned.

Cardio plays a very important part in weight loss and overcoming fitness plateaus as well. Instruct clients to simply change that 30 minute jog or power walk to HIIT mixed with lifting weights, focusing on different muscle groups each day.

Finally, teach clients that performing compound movements (working more than one joint at a time) will burn the most calories and get them breathing heavy.

All of these are basic resources that we, as trainers, should provide. Clients everywhere are giving up on themselves because they don’t know what they’re doing wrong. As it turns out, they are often not doing anything wrong at all; they just need to tweak their routines.

Encourage clients to push through the fitness plateau, push through the obstacles that come with a new health regimen, and push themselves to keep being the best version of themselves.

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