I am no longer making progress! Help! When you first start something new, you usually make quick progress and see big changes which makes you feel amazing. However, after a few weeks or months, your results often slow and it doesn’t feel like you are making progress. We’ve all been there! Whether you’re trying to lose that last bit of weight, gain muscle, or even increase your weights during training, you are going to hit that point in your progress where everything seems to stall.
WHAT IS A PLATEAU?
A plateau is something that occurs when you are doing everything right – eating properly, training hard, getting enough rest, etc but you stop noticing any changes. This is usually when people get frustrated and give up. But it’s important to know that this is completely NORMAL and often inevitable when it comes to losing fat or gaining muscle. You cannot expect that a particular calorie intake or training program will continue to give you results forever.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M IN A PLATEAU?
STEP ONE – ASSESS PROGRESS
Firstly, we need to determine if your progress has actually plateaued. Here are a few things to consider:
Is your average weight for the week increasing, decreasing or staying the same? Have you accounted for possible weight fluctuations and ‘that time of the month’?
Have you tracked these? Are they increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?
Have you seen any improvements? Note: these must be taken at the same time of day, same lighting and same clothes for best results.
Do your clothes fit you better? Do you fit into clothes that you haven’t been able to wear for a while?
What about other forms of progress?
Has your energy increased?
Do you feel better in general?
Are you feeling stronger?
Has your training performance improved?
Has your relationship with food improved?
Has your confidence increased?
Are you sleeping better?
These things are often overlooked when it comes to assessing progress but in our opinion are the most meaningful measures! But we also understand that physical progress is important to people too.
STEP TWO – ASSESS COMPLIANCE
So if you have been weighing and measuring yourself correctly and you aren’t noticing any changes then the next step is to honestly assess your compliance.
Are you actually tracking your food and hitting your macros for just guesstimating. There is a big difference in weighing your foods and just eyeballing things (think about a tablespoon of peanut butter for example). Track your foods accurately for the next 2 weeks and see if this gets things headed in the right direction again.
How are your workouts actually going? Are you training hard and continually pushing yourself or are you just showing up and going through the motions? Track your workouts for the next 2 weeks and see if this improves your training performance.
Are you getting enough sleep? We don’t just mean the hours that you are lying in bed scrolling through your phone, we mean the hours that you are actually asleep. Ideally, we need 7-8 hours per night in order to receive the most benefit. Consistently not getting enough sleep can lead to feeling tired and moody, decreased training performance, reduced recovery, increased cravings and increased feelings of stress. Aim to prioritise sleep for the next 2 weeks.
WHEN TO MAKE A CHANGE
It is important to note that just because you haven’t seen the number on the scale move from one week to the next doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not making progress. This is why we use multiple methods to assess progress. If you have been tracking your food accurately and sticking to your calorie target and training with intensity and you haven’t noticed any changes in weight, measurements or photos for 2-4 weeks, THEN it’s time to consider making a change. Adjust your nutrition by increasing or decreasing calories slightly depending on your goal. Alternatively, you can adjust your activity levels (eg. steps) and/or training accordingly. Then continue to measure your progress and reassess.