Have You Hit a Plateau in Your Fitness?

One thing we probably all have experienced before, no matter what our fitness goals are, is a plateau.  Plateau’s can happen for several different reasons, which is what we will go over. In addition, we will give you 5 ways you can get over plateaus!  

Why Do Plateaus Happen?

  1. Caloric Deficit – Now, you might say “I thought the rule was calories in vs. calories out” in a weight loss scenario.  And yes, this is true to a degree. However, if you are at too much of a calorie deficit your body is also not getting all the nutrients it needs.  And if this happens for too long, this is where a plateau will occur.
  2. Starvation Mode – When you are hungry, your body releases a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is also the hormone in your body that promotes fat storage.  Whenever you have feelings of hunger during the day, your body is producing too much ghrelin. This in turn causes your metabolism to slow down and fat storage to go up.
  3. Tracking – If you are not tracking your food, you can expect to hit a plateau.  And if you do track your food, a lot of us don’t track properly or report all calories eaten.  

Here’s 5 ways to get past that stubborn plateau:

  1. Stop Starving Yourself – Work with a professional to figure out what a good calorie intake would be to reach your goals.  In addition, if you are starving yourself, you are less likely to stick with this type of diet and you will feel deprived constantly.  And this may cause you to get into the restrict – binge cycle a lot of us know so well.
  2. Track – When you have specific fitness goals, tracking is a huge way to reach these goals.  And ensure you are tracking properly by measuring your intake as well. There can be a huge difference between guessing and actually measuring:
  • For example: A medium apple (100g) = 52 calories and 14 carbohydrates.  A large apple (223g) = 116 calories and 31 carbohydrates. So, if you are not measuring that apple and tracking the calories for the exact size, you could potentially overeat quite easily.  
  • Some of our favorite Tracking Apps:
  1. My Fitness Pal –  
  2. My Plate Calorie Counter
  3. Lose It! Calorie Counter
  4. LifeSum: Diet and Macro Tracker

**Our suggestion is to work with a professional to figure out calories and macros (protein, carbs, fat daily count) that is for you and your goals.  A lot of times apps will restrict your calories too much and this will cause a plateau as mentioned above.

  1. Make it a Lifestyle – Finding a diet and exercise routine that fits best into your life is ultimately the one you will stick with. Stop restricting and binging.  Stop getting some results, stopping and then starting over. Making your health a priority and part of your everyday life is ultimately the best way to get results and maintain those results long term.
  2. Rest – If your goals are losing weight, it’s common that losing weight up front is easier than losing those last few pounds.  As we get leaner, our body holds onto certain weight a lot more because of survival purposes (and for women, perhaps child bearing purposes).  In this scenario, a lot of people think they need to restrict calories even more, which will in turn create a more negative outcome. Giving your body rest is important in this case.  Taking stress off the body will be huge in this scenario. Additionally, try increasing your calorie restriction 10% each week until you are only in a 500 calorie deficit. This will help jump start your weight loss once again!

Change it Up – Have you been doing the same classes each week?  Or the same program? Our bodies are made to adapt.  As workouts become less challenging, they also become less effective.  That does not mean you have to progressively make your workouts harder and harder.  But, you could simply change the types of exercises you’re doing. You could go heavy with strength training with fewer reps and then switch to lighter with more reps the next week.  For example, if you normally do push-ups maybe switch it up to a bench press this week. And if you are not sure where to start on switching things up, we have you covered! Our programming is specifically created with this in mind!  


The Number One Exercise to Increase Your Upper Body Strength

The Number One Exercise to Increase Your Upper Body Strength

Are you looking to increase your upper body strength? There are tons of exercises out there that can help improve your strength. But there is one that is above the rest. That is, the bench press. This is the number one exercise to increase your upper body strength. You can spend hours in the gym doing countless reps of push-ups, pull-ups, shoulder presses, and bicep curls, but none of these single exercises will have as much of a positive effect on your upper body strength than the bench press. Let’s dive in to see why the bench press is the best exercise for building strength!

Bench Press for Gains

The bench press is the number one exercise to increase your upper body strength because it gives you the most bang for your buck. It allows you to recruit more muscle fibers than any other upper body exercise out there. When it comes to building strength, you want to stick to exercises that use major muscle groups when exerting sub-maximal and maximal effort to get the gains you are looking for.

The bench press is a compound exercise, meaning it utilizes multiple joints and muscle groups to help you develop functional strength by following your body’s natural movement patterns. Compound movements are among the best exercises to gain total upper body strength because they help you develop the greatest amount of muscle tissue possible. Compound lifts create the greatest change in body composition in the shortest time and also have the added benefit of helping develop the body proportionately.

Heavy Weight Champ

Gaining upper body strength requires exercises that stimulate muscular growth by imposing enough stress on your muscles. The bench press is the number one exercise to increase your upper body strength because it allows you to contract your muscles against heavier loads, which exhaust your muscles with fewer repetitions. The bench press maximizes damage to contractile proteins in your muscles. Your muscles adapt by repairing the damage and synthesizing more proteins, which effectively increases the contractile strength of your muscles.

Is the Bench Press Right for You?

If you’re looking to increase your upper body strength while improving muscle definition and posture, the bench press is the way to go. However, if you have shoulder issues or any other pain in your back, elbows, or wrist, you may want to stick to exercises that work on stability and control to help strengthen that area or prevent further injury. A great alternative to the bench press is the dumbbell bench press or push-up. These upper body exercises have great benefits but do not put as much stress on your joints. Remember to train mobility and stability, then endurance, then build strength. Failure to follow this progression will result in injury. Also, be sure to incorporate these warm-up exercises before doing any upper body strength routine.

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