We need to talk about plateaus. We’ve touched on this before, but we haven’t taken the plunge into what exactly they are, why they suck and how to gtf over them!


Fitness plateaus happen when your body gets used to the demands that you’ve been putting on it for a period of time. This causes you to level out and perhaps not see as much progress as you were when you began whatever routine you’re on. Over time, you become accustomed to the demands of your workouts and your body adapts accordingly. As you become more efficient, you may burn fewer calories and build less muscle.

  1. Why does this happen!? Well, there can be several reasons, either one at a time or for several reasons at once. Repeating the same type of workouts, especially if they’re not challenging enough, can cause enthusiasm and motivation to wane, leading to a plateau.
  2. Ineffective training routines
    • Are you doing the exact same workout every single time you’re in the gym? This could be a cause for a stall in progress because you’re not placing demands on the muscles in a challenging way
    • Once your body adapts to any fitness routine, you’re not likely to see many benefits until you make adjustments that force your body to move in new and exciting ways
    • Not Pushing yourself enough
  3. We covered this in depth on an episode a year ago called Push It, Push It Good. Check that for more on this, but, just know that sometimes you have to call yourself out. Are you just going through the motions of the workout to get it done, or are you actually pushing yourself to you (albeit safe) limit?
    • Instead of doing sets with 10 to 12 reps of lighter weight, reduce that to 6 to 8 reps of higher weight. You want to make sure that you are still using a weight that doesn’t undermine your form. You should be able to have proper form for the majority of the reps but then struggle on the last reps.
    • Failure to progressively overload muscles
  4. the principle of progressive overload is to adjust the frequency, intensity, and/or volume of your strength training to encourage muscle growth 
    • Achieving this requires strategy and planning on ways to train more often, increase your weight load, or do more reps — or maybe even all three, at various times. Sometimes this may require a trainer if that is something that you can afford or have available to you.
  5. Inconsistency in training.
    • This one is pretty obvious. If you’re not being consistent and disciplined in when you’re going, how you’re going and everything that goes into this whole deal, you likely aren’t going to see the desired results
  6. Diet and lifestyle not syncing up with your goals
  7. Lack of SLEEP


  1. A fitness plateau happens when the progress you have been making, such as losing weight, toning up, or getting stronger, has stalled or halted even though you continue to live a healthy and clean lifestyle. The good news is everyone experiences them. It’s completely normal.
  2. You can’t continue to make the same progress at the same pace. Your body doesn’t work like that. When you first begin your fitness journey, you have more weight to lose and more strength to gain. However, as you progress, there is less for your body to do, so you naturally come to a halt.
  3. We recommend looking at these plateaus as a good thing. They are a sign that you’ve progressed so much that it’s time to try something new. To continue to see improvement and to break through your plateau, you must make changes to your fitness routine. Fitness Nation is here to provide you with some helpful tips to get out of your fitness plateau and continue on your fitness journey.


  1. FIRST AND FOREMOST LET ME SAY THIS — plateaus happen. Don’t let it discourage you. You CAN break thru it. Ready for some super nerdy science shit? Here we go. 
  2. The reason you see such a steep drop at the front end of your work is because when you initially cut calories, the body gets needed energy by releasing its stores of glycogen. Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and the liver.
    • Glycogen is partly made of water. So when glycogen is burned for energy, it releases water, resulting in weight loss that’s mostly water. But this effect is temporary.
  3. Reassess your habits. We touched on this a smidge in the last section but let’s dig in. A little more… look back at your food and activity records. Make sure you haven’t loosened the rules. 
    • For example, look at whether you’ve been having larger portions, eating more processed foods or getting less exercise. Research suggests that off-and-on loosening of rules contributes to plateaus.
  4. Cut more calories. This needs to be exercised with extreme fucking caution and under the direction of a professional. Further cut your daily calories, provided this doesn’t put you below 1600 calories a day. 
    • Why? Because that’s barely more food than a toddler eats in a day, it probably won’t be enough to keep you from constant hunger, which increases your risk of overeating and makes for some very unpleasant humans to be around. 
  5. Ratchet up your workout. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two if you can. 
    • Guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. For even greater health benefit, and to assist with weight loss or maintaining weight loss, at least 300 minutes a week is recommended. Adding exercises such as weightlifting to increase your muscle mass will help you burn more calories.
  6. Pack more activity into your day. Think outside the gym. Increase your general physical activity throughout the day. For example, walk more and use your car less, do more yardwork, or do hardcore deep cleaning… I mean, you can always get naked and hit the sheets for some exercise too… any physical activity will help you burn more calories.

Just because your gains or losses have stalled for the time being doesn’t mean you’re done… if you’re caught on a plateau right now, try a few things we mentioned today and see if they work. If you have any questions, as always hit us up on our socials or get in our inbox, hello at meathead test kitchen dot com







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