Break Through a Fitness Plateau
Even athletes that fuel with high net-gain nutrition and focus on nutrient timing can reach a plateau. If you’re training more and more but haven’t seen gains in a while, it’s possible that you are overtraining. Use these steps to fully recover, breakthrough your plateau, and get back to finding your better.
Step 1: Make sure you are getting a return on your energy investment
When I began training to become an elite endurance athlete, my training consisted of endless hours of slow-to-moderate paced sessions that took most of the day to complete. By the evening I was exhausted, only to repeat them again and again the following days. My performance improved, but only if I kept increasing the time I spent training. Hitting the ten hour mark became the daily limit and my fitness reached a plateau. The energy I was putting in was no longer giving me the results it once did. This was the accepted standard in the endurance community – the fitter the athlete, the smaller the gains. Through trial and error, I found that adding in high-intensity strength training gave me the best results. I became a faster, stronger endurance athlete – even though I was devoting less time to training. This astonishing realization changed the way I thought about training and fitness.
Well calculated energy expenditure will provide the maximum return. This is why it’s important to think and train smart. Maximize the time and energy you have by choosing activities that provide the highest return. If you’re an endurance athlete, be sure to cross-train with high-intensity interval training, plyometrics, or weight training workouts. You may find that you can achieve more, even though you are training less.
Step 2: Build in time for rest and active recovery
As athletes, we’re constantly seeking to be better, and often sacrifice rest and relaxation time for more training sessions. Working on minimizing uncomplementary stressors is a key part of your performance success. Yoga and meditation can help with minimizing stress. Also make sure you are scheduling in time for active recovery techniques, such as foam rolling, ice baths and stretching.
Sleep is also an important part of recovery—as the saying goes: a good rest is half the work. Your body regenerates muscles cells during sleep by releasing growth hormone. If your stress levels are too high, your body will not be able to get into a deep phase of sleep for this to occur. If you can naturally reduce your cortisol levels, through clean plant-based nutrition, your body will be able to release growth hormone during deep, delta-phase of sleep.
Step 3: Be proactive with post-workout replenishment
A foundation of high net-gain nutrition is a great place to start when working on breaking a plateau. Now, more than ever, proper post-workout fuel is crucial. Immediately after working out, be sure to address all 6 key elements of recovery—especially muscle glycogen replenishment. A 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates-to-protein is the most effective combination of macronutrients to support glycogen replenishment immediately post-workout. Here are some of my favorite foods to eat within 20 minutes of my workouts:
Toast with 1 tablespoon almond butter
1 piece of fruit with a handful of almonds, walnuts or pecans.
1/4 cup of nut butter with 3/4 cup of apple and banana slices
Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator
It’s important to identify your strengths and weakness to help you zero in on purposeful training.
Identifying your weaknesses with humility will allow you to tackle them head on and intentionally train to them—otherwise they’ll never go away. Whether you’re breaking a plateau, working on building stamina or searching for motivation, find a nutrition and training tip for your weakness at FuelYourBetter.com