How to Overcome a Fitness Plateau With the Help of A Pittsburgh Personal Trainer

Health Coaching

Hitting a weight loss plateau can be frustrating. You’ve worked so hard during your journey, and your progress up to this point was very satisfying. When you are making consistent progress and seeing results, you also get a major confidence boost as you reap the results of your training in real time.

However, these upward trajectories do not last forever. When you hit a plateau in your training, it's easy to lose a bit of faith in your healthy habits and training program. That’s why, with the help of Pittsburgh personal trainer Holly Gatto, we’re exploring some of the ways that you can overcome your fitness plateau through personal training. 

Why do Fitness Plateaus Happen?

It is common to see clients get discouraged when they aren’t seeing consistent results

man exhausted after long workout running
Plateaus happen as your body adjusts to your new routine.

Fitness plateaus happen for many reasons and there are different types of plateaus that you may experience during your training. Some clients will experience a weight loss plateau, which can occur for a variety of reasons. Often, those who reach a plateau are not properly balancing their cardio with other forms of exercise. For example, too much cardio or too little cardio will 

eventually cause a plateau. 

It is also possible that you aren’t changing up your regular cardio routine, so your progress has stalled due to repetition. Doing the same cardio routine on the same piece of equipment on the same intensity settings — or even keeping your running route exactly the same are just a few examples of hitting the same cardio stimuli. Since our bodies adjust quickly to repetitive training, you need to change up your routine regularly. Switching the pieces of cardio equipment that you use in the gym is a fantastic way to change things up, plus it will help with boredom. If you are doing cardio outdoors, changing up your regular running or biking route helps with plateaus and will decrease your risk of injury.

It is also possible that you need to make a change to your diet. More often than you think, clients reach plateaus because they are not eating enough to fuel their body properly. When you reach a weight loss plateau, you should consult with your Pittsburgh personal trainer to help pinpoint exactly what is causing your temporary slump.

Other clients will experience a strength plateau

Strength plateaus usually occur because you need to make some changes to  your weight training regimen. If you keep a fitness log, show your notes to your trainer and they will be able to make the necessary adjustments to get your strength training back on track. You could be lifting too much or too little weight or there may be some form issues that need to be addressed. No matter what type of training you’re doing, the best way to assess the potential cause of your fitness plateau is to keep a training log. With this, a skilled personal trainer can see patterns in the training program that may be causing the plateau.  Once these issues are identified, you can start to employ strategies to help you break out of your plateau.

What are Some Techniques to Break Through a Fitness Plateau?

You and your Pittsburgh personal trainer can strategize and make changes in your current plan so you can start seeing results

young woman doing HiiT  workout in brick gym space
A plateau is really more of a mile marker for your fitness than an obstacle.

We’ve already addressed that a fitness plateau can happen in one of two ways — either a weight loss plateau or a strength plateau. To address these different circumstances, we’ve compiled a list of strategies from Pittsburgh personal trainer Holly Gatto to help you get some ideas. You could be making one of these mistakes and not even know it! Here are a few ways that you can overcome a weight loss plateau:

  • Make sure you are properly fueling your body with enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide fuel for your muscles for exercise.  When you properly nurture your body with carbohydrates, you can exercise more intensely and for longer periods of time. 
  • Drink enough water before and after each training session. The American Council on Exercise suggests you drink 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before you start exercising, 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before you start exercising, 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes during your exercise, and 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise. 
  • Get enough rest so your body can recharge. Your body and your brain need time to rest and recover. Sufficient sleep will give you the energy to continue your workouts and help increase the safety of your workouts overall.
  • Don’t overtrain. It’s not uncommon to reach a certain point in your training when you start overtraining and exhausting your body. While you do want to push yourself during your training, it’s important not to push your body too far. If you push yourself too hard, you may need to temporarily stop or cut back on your training. 
  • Ask your personal trainer for health coaching services. Pairing your personal training with health coaching can help you bolster past your fitness plateau. Physical changes are important, but behavioral changes are paramount for your training efforts. 

If you’re experiencing a strength plateau, there are a few other strategies you can use to achieve results once again. Let’s take a look at some ways you can improve your strength training regimen:

  • Prioritize your protein intake. Protein builds muscle after it is torn down from exercise. If your protein intake is reduced, the muscle rebuilding process is congruently reduced. This can lead to decreased strength gains and diminished adaptations to exercise. 
  • Add/decrease weight based on how you feel. Increasing weight during your reps or changing exercises can help you break out of your plateau, but it’s also important to decrease weight in reps when you’ve pushed yourself too far. Listen to your body’s needs and modify your exercises accordingly when you notice an issue. 
  • Pay attention to your pacing when lifting weights. Evidence shows that slowing down the pacing of your reps during strength training can increase strength while helping to reduce the risk of injury. A skilled personal trainer can help identify the ideal pace and tempo for you.
  • Ask your personal trainer to assess your form. Especially when introducing something new to your training regiment, looking to a personal trainer to assess your form can not only help you avoid injury but also ensure you’re getting the best results from your efforts.

Though these are all strategies that can help you overcome your plateau, not every option will work for you. Remember to consult with a personal trainer before making any major changes to your workout routine.

How can a Pittsburgh Personal Trainer Help Me Stay on Track?

Your trainer will be able to understand your frustration and create an exercise plan that gets results

holly gatto fitness training photoshoot
Sometimes you need an outside perspective on your fitness habits.

For a lot of people who have reached a plateau in their exercise routine, it can be difficult to keep pushing. Too often, people use a plateau as a reason to ditch their fitness routine altogether. However, when you have the help of a Pittsburgh personal trainer like Holly Gatto, you can work together to pinpoint the cause of your fitness slump. 

Getting the advice of a personal trainer is invaluable in this case. It takes the eyes of a skilled and experienced trainer to figure out the potential causes of a plateau. Through skillful discussions with the client, these causes will be uncovered. After you and your trainer have identified the causes, you can start trying out solutions.

The other massive benefit of working with a trainer is that they can help you avoid feelings of defeat during your plateau. Personal trainers know all about frustration, overwhelming feelings, and procrastination when it comes to staying fit. By communicating effectively with your personal trainer, you can settle on a solution that works for your training program. 

With Holly Gatto you can break through your exercise plateaus and start reaping the benefits of a healthy diet and personalized exercise plan. With a personalized fitness and health coaching plan, you can learn how to stay motivated even when it gets tough. Ready to get started? Get in touch with Holly Gatto Fitness or download the free Health Habits Guideline to start working towards your fitness goals today!

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