Hit a Plateau on Your Fitness Path???

“Insanity: continuing to do the same thing expecting different results” -Albert Einstein

It shouldn’t take a genius to realize when something just isn’t working, yet every day so many of us seem to get nowhere with where we are trying to go. This happens in all aspects of life, our work, relationships, and many other areas, but where I see it cause the most difficulties and frustration, is with our health and fitness plans.

In our quest for better health, we all hit plateaus. Can’t lose any more weight despite greater efforts? Not gaining more muscle even with more sets, reps and the latest supplement? The big trap we all fall into when things stagnate is to do more of the same. That’s where the trouble begins.

When you fail to make progress with your fitness and health goals, first you must examine those goals to make sure they are realistic. Next, carefully review your diet and exercise plan with an open mind for change. Sometimes the body adjusts to the same old program and it needs an upgrade. The program itself may be flawed or just not right for you. Also, it’s the quality of your workouts, not quantity that usually counts. More is not always better. Gains are usually made in between workouts as your body adapts to the recent demands placed on it, and are dependent on adequate rest and recovery (learn to recover like the pros). Proper nutrition is essential for optimal exercise gains, recovery and also weight control. Keep an honest food diary for 2 weeks to see where you are cheating. I have found the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone (available for iPads, any phone and desktops as well) highly effective as well as educational and motivational. Give it a try.

Also, if you have been plagued with repetitive nagging injuries, Einstein’s insanity quote usually applies. I see so many athletes and patients who get themselves into trouble with their workouts only to resume the same old workout once they are feeling better. Do they really thing that the body forgets and forgives, and that they will not break down again? Usually some program adjustments are in order. Sometimes it’s a change in intensity, duration or frequency. Sometimes technique or equipment. Other times mindset. A sports medicine specialist, therapist or trainer can be very helpful in navigating those choices with you.

Change in direction is good, especially if you seem to be going nowhere.

Follow Nicholas DiNubile, MD on Twitter: @DrNickUSA

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