Plateaus are a common occurrence in fitness and can be frustrating to say the least. Generally the biggest gains in strength and most noticeable change in body composition comes within the first 16 weeks. After that, you’ll need to start changing up your routine to challenge different muscles to keep your body guessing.
When it comes to strength, you’ll notice improvements very quickly. It is amazing how the body adapts to the demands and recruits more motor units when trying new exercises. Keep this in mind when starting a new program. Everyone has their favorite exercises, and the ones they hate! Regardless, do them all. The more variety to your program, the harder it is to reach a plateau. There are hundreds of exercises for all the major muscle groups and all of them affect different synergists and antagonist muscles. By constantly tweaking your exercises, you are putting new demands on assisting muscles and, in turn, strengthening them.
Most people who start a new exercise program expect to see results on the scale sooner than they actually do. I have been training a group of moms for about 3 months now and they are just starting to see a drop in weight. They feel stronger, look better and notice their clothes fitting differently before they actually lose any pounds. This is not uncommon and does not mean your not doing the right exercises. It is the simple fact of replacing muscle for body fat.
The type of training I like to teach involves cardio, strength and agility and you are not only burning fat, you’re building muscle tone at the same time. Anyone can cut their caloric intake in half and loose some weight, but does this help you in the long run? I would rather feel better over simply seeing a lower number on the scale any day…
Keep this in mind and get out there and try something new. If you need some ideas come down for a class, I am constantly changing things up!