Get Fit ✔ Get Fitter ✘
Why despite your best efforts you can’t break through that plateau.
1) Not setting goals
Fitness is a paradox - the fitter you get, the harder you have to work to become fitter. You don't just become fit one day and that's it - exercise needs to be undertaken regularly. You wouldn't stop drinking water and never expect to be thirsty again would you?
Getting fit is strange game; the moment we achieve our goals we seem to be dissatisfied with our achievements following a brief celebratory period - we want more. It's human nature.
That is why it is pivotal to be constantly working towards your goals, evaluating progress towards current goals and of course setting new goals.
Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.”
2) Not eating enough Fat
Fat does not make you Fat; however fat CAN make you fat. Fat like all nutrients, has the potential to be over eaten. However, it does not deserve the bad rap it has been given. Consider, since fat received its bad name in the 1980’s doesn't it seem paradoxical that obesity rates began to sky rocket?
That's because food companies replaced the fat they removed with sugar to make the foods more palatable, which brings me to my next point.
3) Avoiding Carbohydrates
So, sugar is the enemy? no, sugar is a carbohydrate. Religiously avoiding the "dreaded" carbohydrate is not the answer either. Carbohydrates are our primary and our brains preferred energy source. Hence, why you feel foggy, irritable and exhausted when you remove them from your diet. Don’t go all 1920’s and prohibit carbohydrate consumption completely.
a) your body and mind will not thank you for it and
b) you are almost 100% guaranteed to relapse. If your goal is fat loss, why not instead cut down carbohydrate consumption by 20-30% and increase your protein and healthy fat intake.
4) No Pain No Gain
Exercise is supposed to be uncomfortable. However, it should not result in you being unable to complete the daily tasks associated with everyday life. It is a long standing belief that if you are not in pain the next day, you didn't work hard enough. Whilst smart coaches, athletes and everyday gym goers understand that whilst DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) can be a good indicator of muscle damage (the desired outcome, so that our bodies grow back stronger) it should not be the only indicator. After an intense training session, that body part should be given 48-72 hours of recovery before a further intense training session. A light mobility or less intense session however, has been found to be beneficial to alleviating DOMS.
"Strength recovery was better after either light exercise or immobilization when compared with just rest" (Connolly et al., 2003)
READ: Why The Time is Now to start becoming healthier and fitter
5) Trying to lose weight
We often get so frustrated with ourselves, because no matter how hard we work, we just can't seem to shift that weight!
More often than not, what our ultimate goal is is FAT LOSS not weight loss. Like point 2, fat is an essential nutrient, it protects our internal organs from impact, keeps us warm in the colder climates, acts as an additional energy source and if we want to be real scientific; promotes efficient brain function through nerve insulation which allows electrical messages to be delivered from our brain to our body.
6) Chilling with a cold one at the weekend
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but calories count on the weekend and 1 gram of alcohol actually contains almost twice the amount of calories that 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein, for that matter, at 7 calories per gram. Now I am not telling you to not drink, thats your prerogative but if you have reached a plateau in your training and can't seem to break through that barrier, maybe its worth a try to go a few weekends without a cold brewski or chilled chardonnay
So there you have it, 6 simple but often overlooked things we all do that derails our progression in achieving our desired health and performance.
Want to read more? Promoting effective progress in the gym make sure you check out Coach Craig's recent post on rest intervals in training here
 Connolly, D., Sayers, S. and McHugh, M. (2003). Treatment and Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17(1), pp.197-208.
Brian is the Head of Membership and Staff Development at Fitter Faster Stronger. A
holder of a BSc. in Exercise Management from University College Dublin and NCSA recognised Strength and Conditioning Coach, Brian's philosophy is simple; "The Mind is the Limit"
If you would like to learn more about Brian, You can check out his profile here:
Team FFS - Brian or follow him on Instagram @brianbren