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3 Ways to Break Through Your Fitness Plateaus

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Beat Your Fitness Plateau

Once you’ve started your fitness journey you’re on the road to happier healthier life. Your energy levels increase, your mood improves, you get better sleep, you crave healthier foods, but with all new challenges there are some new obstacles that will pop up on your new health journey.

During my own personal health journey I came across a very real and very common issue that many people face, the dreaded plateau. Whether it’s a weight you can’t break through or a distance that you can’t reach yet on the bike or treadmill they can all be frustrating enough to derail the best laid plans.

For me, after working towards breaking through the 200 pound weight mark for what seemed like months, I knew that I needed something extra, something that I wasn’t incorporating into my fitness routine to help get me there. Enter a new way of thinking.

On the surface, getting healthy is pretty straightforward: Eat better foods, get in the gym, get better sleep, drink more water. But there are extras out there that will help push you past the dreaded plateau. I’ll cover some of my favorites that helped me eventually lose over 60 pounds and find a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Look Outside the Gym

For me, my goal was weight loss. I had always been a heavyset kid and once I decided I was tired of being fat, I decided to get in the gym and do something about it. I can still remember thinking to myself thought, after months of working out “Why can’t I break through this barrier of 200?!”. I was doing everything I thought was right in terms of diet and exercise but for some reason I wasn’t realizing my fitness goals. It was time for a change.

I live in a very active part of the world and in SW Montana there’s no shortage of new challenges to take on outdoors, so I decided to lace up my boots and start hiking in and around the mountains where I live. Sure I was still in the gym getting after my routine but the added excitement, adventure, and the bonus of it being really good for my cardiovascular strength, my metabolism, and my mood were just the boost I needed to get over that 200 pound hump!

I was able to break through with a little side dish of adventure. I was already 30 pounds lighter so why not get out there and enjoy what I couldn’t just months before. For you it doesn’t need to be hiking in the mountains, it can be paddleboarding after work, going for a bike ride around the neighborhood, or a pickup game of volleyball. The point is, you’re getting healthier, use that to your advantage in your health goals!

Look Outside Gym for Fitness
Image Source: Digandflow | Look Outside Gym for Fitness

Find a Partner

Another big boost to my workouts was to find others who were inspired to get healthy along with me. A partner can keep you accountable, keep you motivated and keep you focused.

I have a theory that has no basis in science but keeps me motivated “The days that you don’t want to go to the gym but do anyway are the only days that benefit your health goals”. This doesn’t make any sense since it’s the cumulative effect of all those days but still, if you keep getting after day in and day out you’re going to see it pay off.

Now some of those days are really hard to force yourself to get in the gym and push weight or log miles but that’s where a buddy can really pay off. If you’re just sitting around, feeling like you couldn’t even make it to the fridge let alone the gym and your friend calls and they’re fired up to get after it, they’re going to talk you into going and you’re going to feel way better afterwards, trust me. It’s all about the days that you don’t feel like going that do the best for you.

Find a Fitness Partner
Find a Fitness Partner

Take Some Time Off

I know, I know, I just got telling you to get in there and grind if you want to see the benefit and know I’m sitting saying don’t go. These are all just ways to have a breakthrough and all have their place in the fitness lineup. One of the biggest surprises for me was that taking a week or two off had a huge benefit on my fitness goals.

If you’re going consistently, 5 days a week sort of thing, first of all good work, second of all recovery time is huge. Your muscles are going to need a chance to catch up and heal if you’re going to get the most benefit out of them. Not only that but if you’re working out a lot and loving it, a little break will mean that you’ll come back and hit it hard after your break. I remember a time trying to break the 185 barrier and I just said “You know what? I’m just going to take some time off and relax.”, when I came back I was still at the weight I was when I left but I came back and hit it hard. A week and half later I was able to get through that plateau and I haven’t been back there since.

So there you have it! If you’re struggling with a fitness plateau and need something to help gain some traction use one or a couple of these tips and you’ll be there before you know it. Find a hobby, find a buddy or find some relaxation!

James Horner

Blogger at Digandflow
Jim has lived and breathed the outdoors of southwest Montana for the last 14 years.  Currently working online full-time and as a blogger at Digandflow, he divides his time between work and play with skiing, whitewater rafting, backpacking, cooking, riding motorcycle and spending time with friends and family.
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41 Comments

  1. Tejasri

    April 4, 2017 at 6:32 am

    That’s an informative write up.!!!

    Reply

  2. Jim
    Twitter:

    April 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Thanks Tejasri! Having gone through the wringer of fitness plateaus and goals I’ve found that these really helped me.
    Jim recently posted…Best Wakeboarding Life Jackets and Impact Vests for 2017My Profile

    Reply

  3. Mark McKnight
    Twitter:

    April 9, 2017 at 2:19 am

    One of the things I found useful in my training is to regularly change your routine. If you feel like you are plateauing in a certain group of exercises, then try them a different way. You could even alternative every 4 weeks and you will feel the difference both physically and mentally. What do you think James?

    Reply

    • Jim
      Twitter:

      April 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Absolutely! Your body doesn’t respond to regularity. If you’re looking to mix up your routine then you’ll see great benefits from it!
      Jim recently posted…Best Massage Therapy in BozemanMy Profile

      Reply

  4. jason

    April 11, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Really enjoyed reading your article, I am currently going through a plateau phase also.I have been working out for awhile but it seems like the results have stopped.But you have given me some new useful insights.

    Reply

  5. Black Wolf Corp

    April 14, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Some awesome tips there James. Its great going on long walks especially like that. Your lucky to be close by to those areas to able to go for walks.

    Reply

  6. Turgut Dündar

    April 24, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Thansk for all your advices Jim. I started reading your blog roughly two months ago. Your ideas are quite successful.
    Turgut Dündar recently posted…Kale Alarm Vodafone esnaf kampanyasıMy Profile

    Reply

  7. Bailey

    April 30, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Anyone who doubts the existence of a fitness plateau has obviously never set their fitness goals high enough. The plateau is something I think just about anyone who has worked toward an ambitious fitness goal has struggled with. One thing I like is to change things up a bit. If you’re used to consuming a certain amount of calories each day and you perform the same workouts every time, change it up. Eat 300 calories less one day, and 300 more the next so your body stays on its toes. Same thing with the workouts. Throw in some HIIT training one day a week, or like you mentioned try something completely new.

    Reply

    • Jim
      Twitter:

      May 1, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Awesome advice Bailey! Keeping your body working and guessing is super important if you want to keep making progress on your fitness goals.
      Jim recently posted…Best Surf Camps for BeginnersMy Profile

      Reply

  8. Linda Gray

    May 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    These are some of my reason for love hikini “the added excitement, adventure, and the bonus of it being really good for my cardiovascular strength, my metabolism….” and not to mention the breath of fresh air it offers with nature all around. I enjoy reading this because your description kinda remind me of myself when I wanted to lose a few pounds and it seems like nothing was going away.

    Reply

  9. Kevin

    May 6, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I’ve definitely found that having a partner to workout with helps a ton. The extra encouragement and responsibility prevents me from skipping my workouts. I can maybe be lazy for myself but I can’t not show up if my workout partner shows up.

    It certainly helps if you have a partner that won’t constantly bail on you.
    Kevin recently posted…The Best Motivational QuotesMy Profile

    Reply

  10. Kelly

    May 10, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    This is a great post about healthy eating.This website is a great source for information thanks for sharing this informative post.

    Reply

  11. Fince

    May 17, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Dear James, your post is simply awesome. I learned a lot by reading your post. I think you are lucky because the area where you live. It’s very fascinating.Thanks for sharing such an important article.
    Fince recently posted…Best Men Road Running Shoes in 2017 – Guide & ReviewsMy Profile

    Reply

  12. Tiffany Butler

    May 24, 2017 at 1:47 am

    This is a great post about healthy eating.This website is a great source for information thanks for sharing this informative post.

    Reply

  13. Dean

    May 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Looking outside the gym and “shaking things up” is great advice. This is helpful in getting us ti think about different angles to our health and well being. Right on!

    Reply

  14. Jb Briones
    Twitter:

    June 5, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    It would be better if you could put an example of a fitness plan, so people could see what it means.Generally I do not read Crossfit and Fitness article on blogs, however, I would like to say that this write-up very informative and forced me to try and do it! Your post is very helpful.. Thanks for sharing! Anyhow, superb site! To the next! Best wishes!!

    Reply

  15. Andrew Philips

    June 6, 2017 at 2:28 am

    After reading this post i will decide that i will follow the instructions.

    These breakthrough tips will help me to improve my body structure.

    Reply

  16. Adorlee joie
    Twitter:

    July 16, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Greate Article.Thanks alot. Please visit for more fitness tips http://www.glitzinfo.com/viewpost/218/Billy-K-Fitness-Transformation-Video

    Reply

  17. Marc Costermans

    July 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Always interesting your articles, its an inspiration for me in someway or another. Love your Articles they are really refreshing

    For more on this: http://www.akwa.be

    Reply

  18. Emma Johnson

    July 26, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Going to the gym becomes monotonous after a certain period of time. These tips will certain help to improve upon that.

    Reply

  19. ade sunandar

    July 30, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    thanks for info. its nice post

    Reply

  20. Phoenix

    August 9, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Always interesting your articles, its an inspiration for me in someway or another. Love your Articles they are really refreshing

    Reply

  21. Rebecca Walker

    August 11, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Some amazing tips there James. It’s awesome going on long strolls particularly like that. Your fortunate to be close by to those territories to ready to go for strolls.

    Reply

  22. zak paul

    August 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Excellent ! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

    Reply

  23. Home Gym Equipment
    Twitter:

    August 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    How is your weight loss routine now? How much weight have you lost so far? Would love to know the stats.

    Reply

  24. toko bunga surabaya

    September 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    helpful information is very inspiring

    Reply

  25. john rodgers
    Twitter:

    September 27, 2017 at 5:25 am

    My life is a little like your description. I have been traveling for 3 years and found that just being out of the U.S. and getting healthier food with fewer growth hormones has allowed me to lose from 325 to 200 lbs. No diet change, more exercise, and all that weight was gone. I am 67 and did, so can anyone else.

    Reply

  26. costochondritis

    September 27, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you, James Horner, for sharing this awesome health tricks “3 Ways to Break Through Your Fitness Plateaus”. I go almost everyday Gym but I have a chance to get a good partner. If you added a point about food that would help. Thx.

    Reply

  27. Ivan Stankovic

    October 4, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I totaly agree with you …… all the points are correct …. love your post, it’s always better if you practice with companion or go out in the nature.

    Reply

  28. Pickleball Portal

    October 17, 2017 at 3:43 am

    For me what really helps is to have a partner! My sister and I hold each other accountable for working out…and we don’t even live in the same city! We just set a rule that we’ll each work out 3x per week and check in with each other thru text that we actually did it. Sounds silly but it really does work, I guess it’s just the idea of failing on something you promised to do…haven’t missed workouts since we started a few months ago.
    Pickleball Portal recently posted…Pickle-ball vs Pickleball Paddle vs Racquet or RacketMy Profile

    Reply

  29. Paul Johnson

    October 20, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Hi , I found this to be an excellent article, well written and very detailed.

    Keep up the amazing work..

    Cheers Paul

    Reply

  30. Toko Bunga Bekasi
    Twitter:

    November 7, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

    Reply

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