In the world of fitness, hitting a plateau is more common than you’d think. For those looking to carve out their desired physique, seeing their progress stymied despite their best efforts can be frustrating to say the least. If your pursuit of aesthetics has halted somewhat, here are some tips you can follow to get yourself out of this mire:
1. Train each body part moderately
While weight training is a great to building muscle and increase metabolism, overdoing it can be counter-productive. Instead of letting your enthusiasm take over, exercise some self-control and set a reasonable standard for your workout that targets each part of your body without completely annihilating it. This will give your body time to recover and adapt.
2. Do the right cardio
Not all cardiovascular exercises are created equal. To maximise your fitness and physique, avoid jogging for long distances or training like an endurance athlete. While low-intensity aerobic work can help in small doses, overemphasising them can mitigate the gains gleaned from strength training. This is not to say that concurrent training methods do not work, but their applications run more towards optimising overall athletic performance instead of body composition. High-intensity interval work works better when it comes to stripping away stubborn fat, as long it doesn’t cause you to exceed your capacity for recovery.
3. Take your protein
Muscles are made up of proteins. In order for your body to function optimally, be sure to keep your protein intake high to facilitate muscle repair. Furthermore, the amino acids in proteins can help you in building new muscle as well. For maximum results, spread your protein intake throughout the day, as this will keep hunger at bay and also provide a constant flow of nutrients for your muscles over the duration of the day.
4. Get some fat
Some people stay away from dietary fat due to the belief that it would contribute directly to fat-gain. This is only true if their intake results in the accumulation of excess calories. Contrary to what many believe, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet and is required to keep the body healthy and functional. For example, omega 3 fatty acids help to keep our joints lubricated to provide a full range of pain-free movement while helping our bodies to combat inflammation. While going for fatty cuts of meat and nuts are great ways to take in dietary fat, stay away from processed sources like vegetable/seed oils and margarine as they provide an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids and are prone to oxidisation.
5. Cut your calories, but not too much
If you want to achieve a lean, athletic physique, you shouldn’t need to starve yourself. In fact, compulsively slashing calories can cause your body to start feeding on itself, resulting in a look that’s more sickly and unhealthy. A caloric deficit is required for fat-loss, but start small by removing between 250–500 calories a day. This provides your body with more of a stimulus as opposed to a shock, which can send it into starvation mode and make it even harder to lose excess fat. Adding fibre to your diet via vegetables can also help in keeping you satiated and making it less likely for you to overeat.
Crafting an enviable physique takes time, hard work and a fair bit of experimentation. Finding the right balance when it comes to training and nutrition will take effort, but the payoff is well worth it. Not only will your appearance improve, but you’ll also learn more about your body than you ever thought possible!