Home Health & Wellness 3 Ways to Break Through Your Fitness Plateaus

3 Ways to Break Through Your Fitness Plateaus

12 min read
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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  1. Tejasri

    April 4, 2017 at 6:32 am

    That’s an informative write up.!!!


  2. Jim

    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


  3. Mark McKnight

    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?


    • Jim

      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


  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.


  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.


  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


  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.


    • Jim

      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


  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.


  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


  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.


  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


  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.


  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!


  14. Jb Briones

    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!!


  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.


  16. Adorlee joie

    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


  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

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  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.


  19. ade sunandar

    July 30, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    thanks for info. its nice post


  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


  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.


  22. zak paul

    August 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Excellent ! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.


  23. Home Gym Equipment

    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.


  24. toko bunga surabaya

    September 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    helpful information is very inspiring


  25. john rodgers

    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.


  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.


  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.


  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


  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


  30. Toko Bunga Bekasi

    November 7, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.


  31. Lorelai Bergstein

    December 27, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    This is wonderful! I love the idea of playing sports instead of just plain old workouts.


  32. Rico Marco

    January 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Fantastic article. Way to keep people motivated!!


    Rico Marco



  33. Shufi

    January 27, 2018 at 2:20 am

    thanks for your great information, it’s helpful and useful information regarding fitness.


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    February 6, 2018 at 4:45 am

    Once formed, an exercise habit is easy to follow. Once lost, it is hard to get back.

    My knee injury kept me away from exercising almost a year.

    I was having trouble with the mental side of getting back in the game after a long workout break. I evaluated my losses and made a plan. It was like starting all over again.


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  37. dimitri

    February 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    A workout buddy is hugely helpful for keeping motivated, but it’s important to find someone who will inspire—not discourage.

    So make a list of all your exercise-loving friends, then see who fits this criteria. Can your pal meet to exercise on a regular basis? Is he/she supportive (not disparaging) of your goals? And last, will your buddy be able to keep up with you or even push your limits in key workouts?

    If you’ve got someone that fits all three, make that phone call.


  38. Copper Compression

    March 8, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Great tips, man! During my running sessions, I experience this “plateau” most of the time. I hope that this works!


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    March 9, 2018 at 12:38 am


    You have posted a nice and informative article named “3 Ways to Break Through Your Fitness Plateaus”, I learn a lot from your post. Go ahead, keep up the good work.



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  41. Peter

    April 3, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Hi Jim,
    Great post! Totally agree with you about a partner. I can keep my fitness journey without my partner.


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  44. OCW

    May 16, 2018 at 9:56 am

    The idea of looking outside the gym is perfect. This is fun that the traditional gym workouts. This is an awesome article that is worth sharing.


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    June 26, 2018 at 4:49 am

    This is a great article. Thank you so much for the insights. I have been meditating with an app called Aware and it has helped me manage my thoughts much better, so less stress & anxiety and can focus more on work. I really recommend everyone to give meditation a try – it can be life-changing! Download App: Aware Meditation App


  47. Zahra

    June 26, 2018 at 5:58 am

    Its an extraordinary delight perusing your post.Its loaded with data I am searching for and I want to post a remark that “The substance of your post is magnificent” Great work.


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    July 7, 2018 at 1:51 pm

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  49. Clifford Starks

    July 23, 2018 at 2:19 am

    Great tips friend. Yes it can be a struggle losing the weight at first, but when you figure out the patterns that work best for you it becomes quite simple. Go outdoors, finding a partner, and taking the proper time to rest are all great ideas when putting a program together that will work best for you. How did you do on your goals? Did you end up breaking your 200 lbs plateau?


  50. Sean

    July 27, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Eat good, train hard, and recover.


  51. Charles

    August 3, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Very interesting read. I’m in my late 40s still competing in the sport I love, keep fit and being outdoor – a wonderful lifestyle to have.


  52. Shatil Sarker

    August 13, 2018 at 6:15 am

    This is very nice article. These are great tips to keep fit anyone. Thank you for sharing like this beneficial article.


  53. Kettlebell

    August 15, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Great advice. I will keep up with them to keep up with my fitness routine. Thank you. Great read.


  54. AnneBethany

    August 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks for the amazing content. I was Just looking for it. Keep Sharing also tell me about how can we improve the health in a quick way?


  55. Elena

    October 6, 2018 at 2:07 am

    Love this! I think changing your workout routine – even at a fortnightly level, is among the most important ways to smash those plateaus


  56. Jina Jackson

    October 9, 2018 at 4:47 am

    Exercise is key to most weight loss plans because it helps you burn more calories, and more calories burned equals more pounds lost. But what if you hate exercise? Is it required to lose weight? It certainly helps you stay healthier (by revving your heart rate and building your muscles.) But it is not mandatory. There are ways to lose pounds without exercising.


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