Breaking a Plateau with Small Changes

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Sometimes a plateau is a sign that your diet and exercise plan needs serious adjustment, that's it time to shake things up. If your plateau has lasted for more than 3 weeks, and you know you've been consistent, consider a change. If not, little changes might be all that you need to get your body moving back in the right direction. That's where microadjustments come in.

What are microadjustments?

This idea of microadjustments is based on Eric Bach's concept of weightlifting microprogressions. Bach, a fitness coach, and overall super-fit guy, recommends small changes in form to break weightlifting plateaus. The idea is to not give up on a good plan just because you've had a setback. Big changes are stressful and not likely to work long term. Here is a case where it's important to remember that fitness is a marathon and not a sprint. Bach's idea can be expanded beyond the weightlifting world to general diet and exercise.

Diet Changes

If you are dieting and your weightloss has stalled or you've just gained an extra pound or two, consider making small diet changes rather than overhauling your entire plan. Can you add a few more veggies to your plate? Can you drink more water? Some of the diet pitfalls that seemed so difficult at the start of your weight-loss journey might not seems so daunting now that you have some success under your belt. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Check the sugar and/or cream in your coffee or tea. Those little cubes of sugar can add up quickly.
  • How hungry are you? A little hunger is good, but if you're waiting too long between meals, you might be tempted to overeat.
  • Watch the portion sizes of your high-calorie treats. A little can go a long way here.
  • Are you eating lots of salty foods? Your weight-loss stall could very easily be water weight.

The most important thing is to go slowly. Just change one or two things, wait a week and see what happens.

Exercise Changes

You don't need to throw your entire exercise plan out of the window because you've hit a weightloss or strength plateau. Try adding a new exercise on top of your routine. Pick something very different from what you normally do. Are you a runner? Add a set of squats, weighted or otherwise. to your routine. Do you like to pick up heavy things? Work on your bodyweight handstand or do some sprints. Is bodyweight your thing? Pick up some weights or run in place for 30 seconds. Just do one different thing. You'll be surprised what it can do.

If you are already exercising as much as you can handle, try Bach's suggestions. Change your stance during weightlifting or modify your grip. If you are a runner, pay extra attention to your gait. If yoga is your thing, try a different mat. Everyone's body is different, and it's possible you haven't figure out the best angle or position that works best for you.

Most importantly, enjoy the newness of it all. Never underestimate the danger of mental boredom to your fitness routine. You'll get past that plateau in no time!