How to Push Through a Workout Plateau

How to Push Through a Workout Plateau

Authored by Marshall on November 20, 2022

Whether you’re experiencing a dreaded workout plateau or want to know the best way to avoid one, you’re in the right spot. This is a well-worn topic at Jack City Fitness. Our fitness coaches in Boise have experienced this unfortunate scenario and have developed methods to both manage it and dodge it altogether.

In this article, we will focus on the concept of a workout plateau and offer helpful tips on breaking through one. We’ll also discuss ideal practices to avoid them altogether. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re fitness experts, and we’d love to help you out of an exercise plateau!

What Is a Plateau in Working Out?

When you think of a plateau, you might imagine southwestern mountains, not a fitness term. Geographically, the word “plateau” refers to a mesa, or a flat-topped mountain, hill, or highland. However, a plateau in working out describes a period where there is not much progress or change. After all, a plateau doesn’t continue upward, like a mountain; it just remains flat. 

In a gym plateau, an athlete is working out regularly but not seeing any results. This can happen with all sorts of fitness goals, like building muscle, losing weight, or increasing speed. A workout plateau can be very disheartening for athletes and can lead to decreased fitness motivation overall. 

What Causes a Workout Plateau?

So, what causes this unfortunate phenomenon? A plateau in working out tends to happen when an athlete’s body becomes overly used to a certain workout or health regime. This might sound counterintuitive—after all, it’s necessary to master proper form of a workout move. However, while it’s important for athletes to get a good handle on their workouts, there can be too much of a good thing. Once a workout becomes too easy for you, it will have a lesser effect on your body. This will make it more difficult to achieve the results you crave. 

Workout plateaus are very common amongst athletes who start to lose weight and hope to continue the pattern, only to be disappointed by a period of stagnation. When your body weight changes, you will burn calories differently. In general, a heavier body requires more calories, while a smaller body needs less to perform the same movements. So, let’s say that when you began your workout journey, you weighed 160 pounds. Now you’ve lost 30 pounds, but you still work out in the exact same way that you did when you first hit the gym. These circumstances will probably lead to a plateau in working out, unless your caloric intake changes. Without those extra 30 pounds, you will burn less calories while performing the workout. 

In order to avoid a gym plateau, you will need to adjust your workout as your body changes. This is why we suggest meeting fitness goals with a devoted coach. With a personal workout plan, you’ll have help assessing these changes and making the correct adjustments.

Are You Experiencing an Exercise Plateau?

Not sure if you’re experiencing a plateau in working out? Watch out for these telltale signs:

  • Your Once-Challenging Workout Now Feels Easy

When you started your gym routine, it was hard work. Your heart was pumping, you were covered in sweat, and you were easily winded. Now when you perform that same routine, it’s as easy as taking a leisurely walk. Your heart level stays the same, your breath doesn’t change, and you don’t even break a sweat. This probably means your body has adjusted to your workout and doesn’t take it as a challenge anymore!

  • You Were Seeing Big Results, but Now You Aren’t

When your workout journey began, you could track your progress physically. Perhaps you saw extra pounds disappearing on the scale, or maybe you saw new muscles pop out of your shirt. Your early routine indicated that your goals would be reached, but now, no changes are happening. Don’t worry, you’re not broken; you’re just plateauing. 

  • Your Gym Motivation is Flagging

You used to love the gym…but now, it just feels like a chore. Your workout routine is boring you, you feel tired, and you aren’t seeing results. This mindset can be very discouraging…and it’s all too common for athletes experiencing a plateau in working out. Don’t worry. While this feeling is unpleasant, it doesn’t need to last forever. You can bust through a plateau! You’ve already made a huge stride by recognizing that it is happening to you. 

  • You Haven’t Made Any Changes to Your Routine

You’ve been hitting the gym for ages now, and your routine has become second nature. You could do it with your eyes closed! While that’s certainly an accomplishment, it’s also a major cause of a fitness plateau. So, if you’re experiencing any of the above “symptoms” alongside this one, we have an answer for you: it’s a workout plateau! 

Plateau in working out

Our Top Tips for Breaking Through (or Avoiding!) a Workout Plateau

Want to break out of the dreaded gym plateau? You absolutely can push past even the most stubborn workout plateaus—and avoid them for the future. According to our team, the best ways to crush and avoid an exercise plateau are:

  • Let Your Workouts Grow With You

As your body becomes more used to certain workouts, you will need to make adjustments to continue seeing results. This can be done by continuously changing your workout to suit your progress. Depending on your unique experience, this could mean upping rep counts, lifting heavier weights, or incorporating more challenging variations into your routine. Your fitness coach will be able to help you do this at the right pace.  

  • Think About Your Meal Plan

If you’re hitting a plateau in working out, the fastest way forward is to make some changes—and that can include nutritional ones. As your body adjusts to your fitness journey, you may find it helpful to create a wholesome nutritional plan to go along with it. A dedicated counselor will be able to help you do this in a healthy (and delicious) manner.

  • Don’t Obsess

While it’s good to be vigilant about plateaus, don’t slip into the realm of obsession. Remember, it’s normal for your weight to fluctuate slightly from day to day, thanks to things like water retention. This is why we advise against habits like weighing yourself every day; it doesn’t necessarily reflect your actual progress. 

  • Don’t Stop Moving

The more fit you become, the easier it is to incorporate additional exercise into your daily life. This could take many forms, depending on where you live and what your lifestyle is. It could mean biking instead of driving, taking stairs over an elevator, or engaging in more active hobbies, like dancing or hiking. The point is simply to move more than you did before. 

These additions will give your body more chances to do things like build power, improve agility, and burn calories. 

  • Go Easy on Yourself

Don’t shame yourself into seeing results. It won’t work and will only make you feel like garbage. It can be hard to break this habit, but it’s so worth it to be your own best friend. And if you need some extra moral support during a plateau in working out, we recommend hitting a group class at your gym. That will allow you to add a new type of workout to your routine while meeting tons of friends with similar goals.

  • Remember: Weight is a Number, Not a Rule

The number on your scale needn’t—and shouldn’t—dictate your success. So, if you’re looking to lose fat, it’s important to remember that fat tissue weighs less than muscle tissue. If you’re shedding fat but gaining muscle, it’s not going to reflect back as weight loss on your scale—but you will still be meeting your goal of losing fat.

We Can Help You Push Through Your Fitness Plateau!

At Jack City Fitness, we have everything that athletes need to push through a fitness plateau and get back on track. With 24/7 gym access, elite-level coaches, ultramodern equipment, and dedicated nutritional counseling services, Jack City Fitness is Boise’s top spot to see results and meet all your goals, even if the dreaded workout plateau hits. Call (208) 999-1111 today to book your FREE fitness consultation and tour of our facility. If you like what you see, you can get moving right away. We can’t wait to meet you and help you smash all your goals! 



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