A while back, Alex Viada urged people to stop seeing a training plateau as bad.
“Because improved form and efficiency, greater fat oxidation, and reduced glycogen consumption per unit of work done are all TERRIBLE, especially for lifters.”
Even if sarcasm isn’t your thing, I thought this was an EXCELLENT example of re-framing—a technique I frequently use with people “stuck” in a fat loss rut.
Joe or Jane loses 1-1.5 pounds a week as per their schedule. Then they arrive at the dreaded plateau.
They lose nothing off the scale and even less off the waist or hip measurements.
They’re stuck in a state of fat loss purgatory, expending tremendous effort and sacrificing all culinary pleasures, yet seeing no tangible results for their hard work.
But rather than take a DEEP BREATH and give things time to happen, they cut calories and/or increase cardio to “throw gas” on their smoldering, fat-burning fire.
Now, without getting into the weeds—cause that’s another lengthy post—this rarely works.
However, a plateau IS a perfect opportunity for a positive re-frame.
When faced with stalled progress on the scale or other measure, rather than freak out and start pressing and stressing, see it for what it is: a small victory.
You’ve been losing fat at a consistent, measurable rate. And you’ve been SO successful you’ve forced your body to take notice and adapt.
Now, stay the course a little longer and let that complicated machine you’re driving go through all its metabolic checks and balances.
Often, if your plan is sound, your metabolism healthy, and stress in check—fat loss will resume shortly by simply repeating what you’re currently doing.
All without further reduction in calories or increase in cardio.
Because repetition makes your process better, more accurate, and easier—all of which lowers stress. Cause, unlike the gym, cruising on autopilot with your diet is a GREAT thing.
Or maybe it won’t?
Then you’ll have to adjust things.
But either way, progress takes time to manifest.
And as much as we love control, when it comes to fat loss, your body always sees your commands as a suggestion.
So, you’ve hit a plateau?
– Coach Bryan