So you hit a plateau, or have you? Now what do you do about it?
Let's look at what it means to plateau. Some guys use this term to freely. Joe has been training for 3 years now, faithfully without missing a day. He never took off a week (that was for sissies), nor did he ever pass up an opportunity to train daily. Now after these three years he is slowing down and coming to a dead standstill in his training. His gains are slowing down and he is not getting any more size on his frame. He has used the same routine for ages and it worked excellent so what happened?
Then we have Bill he has been training for the last three months. He quit growing and can't seem to grow any more muscle. He says he eats everything in sight and uses every supplement available to him. But his gains just aren't coming.
Let's look at Joe and see a few possible reasons why he has quit growing. Is it a plateau or is there some other factor involved? He works out faithfully, he never misses a day and he uses the routine that made him grow in the first place. Sounds like he is doing everything right. Actually there is a variety of factors here, that could have possibly stopped his growth. Lets look at them one by one.
First off he has been faithful and never missed a workout. Rest is important to the body for growth. The body needs to repair itself after a strenuous routine. If not it will rebel and stop growing. Joe needs to take a week off and rest up. Sometimes guys should take off a few weeks and not be concerned about getting smaller. A lot of guys are afraid that they will shrink, well this is not true, you will not shrink during a lay off, this is what the body needs. This is when the recuperation takes place, this is the time when you will come back to the weights and start growing again. The muscle has a memory and once it loses any muscle tissue it will take very little time to regain what was lost. Have you ever noticed a guy who took time off and lost weight due a illness? When he started back up the gains where almost like magic, he got it all back and in some cases he may have gotten more out of it. Take time off Joe and enjoy life, we only go this way once. Next, he made the common, new trainee mistake. He has been using the same old routine he started with, because it gave him good results in the past. Here is the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Also, using the same thing over again and expecting to keep growing with it. Change is essential for growth to occur. It is a fact! I would say to change the routine or the line up. Here are a few examples:
1. Instead of doing chest first in the week do legs.
2. Instead of doing 8 reps with 3 sets, do 4 reps with 6 sets.
3. Add 2 pounds each workout (you would not believe how many guys will use the same weights over and over each week) .
4. Try working the arms first in the workout.
5. Do high reps for a few weeks.
6. Sip a shake during workout.
7. Do the 10 sets of 10
8. Do dinosaur training
These are just a few of the things that can be done to change your routine up. The best thing to do is to trash the old routine and get a new one (or at least make some changes to it). Ever wonder why the chest routine you just got works for a few weeks then it stops working and the weights get easier to lift? The routine seems to lessen with the days and weeks, the intensity just isn't there anymore. It is called adaptation. Your body is a master at adaptation, it will adapt to most anything you hand it. I suggest to my trainees to change every Four weeks with the routines. Three weeks for the more advanced lifter. Here are a few more routines to maybe consider using. 10 sets of 10, maximal weights, tri sets, stripsets. Lifting to failure (HIT). I am not a advocate of this one. But according to some it works for them. It will work for a while but again like everything...
Now lets look at Bill. Bill eats everything in sight, (so he says). He told me his parents were complaining constantly how he ate too much food all the time. I had Bill keep a log on what he ate and when for a two weeks period. I found so many discrepancies in it, that I wasn't surprised he wasn't growing. Bill started his day out with a bowl of oatmeal and a couple of eggs, OJ and toast. Sounds pretty normal so far. Now for the next meal he had a bagel with butter but, when lunch came around he was too busy to usually eat. He would miss this meal and come the next meal he forgot to eat that one also. Now supper was the time to eat, he would eat it all, potatoes and steaks and vegetables, two and three helpings each. Before bed he wouldn't eat because he was afraid to put on fat. Well Bill, after careful consideration maybe you should change your diet a bit. I sent him an outline to use with his diet and told him to implement it now! He did and started to grow.
His outline was to eat 200 grams of protein first. It was hard for him to adjust but once he did he started to get the results he desired. He started to eat 7-8 times a day and even though he really didn't have the time, he made the time. The diet he used was a common bodybuilders diet consisting of eating carbs and proteins in the morning for the first four meals. After that he switched gears and started eating fats and proteins. I didn't really care about the types of fat he ate, but I did prefer him to consume more omega 3. I had him eat salmon and tuna with flax oil. I also had him use olive oils (do not cook with this stuff it will become rancid when heated), see Udo Erasmus's site he really has a lot of info on this subject. Olive oils should be cold pressed extra virgin. Do not use anything else but this because most oils when heated will change their properties.
But back to the diet, I read an article from John Berardi (which I will write about in another article for those interested), stating that when we consume fats and carbs together a spike occurs from the carbs. Now when this spike happens it needs something to take up into the body. The fat will be absorbed into the adipose tissue cells instead of what we want to happen which is proteins to be stored in the muscles for building. So therefore this diet really makes a lot of sense. Eat carbs and proteins together and fats and proteins together.
I guess the whole purpose of this article is to hopefully educate you about the common occurrences that will cause a plateau. Most new trainees have no real idea about diets and changing routines in order to grow as they want. Most bodybuilding books that they read talk about pros diets and routines. Listen guys don't use them, these are for steroid induced guys. Come on, someone who eats a zillion calories and workouts twice a day is just not realistic for the normal trainee. So do your self a favor and don't even bother, I consider it all a good novel to read, but wouldn't want to attempt it. So many diets, so many routines, so many new trainees. What do you look for and what to do? Hang in there and hopefully I may be able to shed some light on your new venture as you take on the ultimate quest for a new and better looking you. Until the next article hang in there and keep the iron pumping.
If you have any questions I can help with feel free to e-mail me
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