Overcoming Plateaus

Overcoming Plateaus

One day you decide that you need to step and take action. Maybe you’re overweight. Maybe you can’t see your abs anymore. Maybe your squat weight is down. Regardless, you’re fed up and decide that starting Monday, things are going to change. So you set a plan, get good sleep and hit the gym hard on Monday. Now things are going great. Your body is looking better, your squats are getting stronger and you’re kickin’ ass. But then something happens, and progress has suddenly stopped. You have hit the dreaded plateau.

Below we’ll discuss the top 7 reasons why someone hits a plateau and quick solutions to break through them.

Plateau # 1) You don’t have a plan.

Most people just go to the gym to work out and have patchwork programming. If you we’re to ask them what they do they say, “I don’t know, I’ll go to the gym, get on the treadmill for a while, then do some abs and maybe some arm stuff.” Translation: I am clueless, help me!

Solution: Set a realistic plan for what days you can train. Strength training will be your core, and add energy systems work (cardio), which doesn’t need to be more than 30 minutes if done properly. 3-5 days a week is ideal. Never train for more than an hour.

Plateau #2) You make excuses

Solution: If you genuinely want to improve yourself you will look forward to the challenge of training. Remind yourself everyday WHY you are going to train hard despite the fact that your work held you late, you didn’t eat enough today, you’re tired, etc.

Plateau #3) You get distracted while you lift

Solution: To prevent this from happening, you must learn to enter a time warp in your mind where it feels like the only thing going on in the world is you performing this exercise. While you’re setting up, you’re focused on the body positioning. Once the set begins, focus on the ques and tempo. Breathing will become automatic in time.

Plateau #4) You don’t know how to push yourself

Solution: This is a skill that is developed over time. Once you know how to lift properly (see the previous post), look at the weight as your direct competition. Who’s going to win? You or this 300 lb loaded barbell? I like to talk to yourself and say things like, “I got this,” “How bad do you want it?” “Prove it,” or “Show me!” At this point you’re convinced that I’m heavily medicated but I can assure you that I’ve been off them for years now. Seriously, it may sound ridiculous, but your thoughts elicit your emotions, so talk positive and challenge yourself and you will overcome more times than not.

Plateau #5) You aren’t in control of your diet

Solution: Just like training, you must set a plan and stick with it. But when you decide to eat something that’s not optimal Paleo, you lose control. But it doesn’t have to be like that. The next time you jump off the bandwagon, pause for a second. Recognize the urge, and decide to either to have 1 meal that’s not ideal or not. If you decide to eat some cheesecake it?s not the end of the world, but eat it in moderation, and eat healthy again starting the next meal.

Plateau #6) You get injured

Solution: Seek a quality trainer that can train you for structural balance, or a relative symmetry of strength between all of your muscles. Identifying these weak areas and strengthening them is also the solution to improving strength and muscle mass for athletes. Proper strength training will also strengthen bones, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues to be strong and resistant to injuries.

Plateau #7) You don’t take care of yourself

Solution:Sleep at least 7 hours a night, drink plenty of water and eat to make you feel better with the Paleo Diet. One of the best tips I can give you is schedule everything that you do in your day. Schedule time to eat, relax, spend time with your family, have fun, workout and do all the important things in life. If you are tired and unhappy, you won’t want to lift, so use technology like Google calendar to help you balance your life and keep your energy high.


Plateaus happen to almost everybody, but don’t drag them on and get into a funk. Use these strategies to help you bounce back and start moving forward.


Stronger Everyday,


Marshall Ray – CSCS, CES, FMS, Biosignature


To read more, read:our last blog,Are you exercising or are you training?


About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.