New Year, New Body
One of the most frequent questions that I get asked is how to break through a plateau. Plateaus are one of the most annoying things that anyone trying to achieve something great with their physique will have to fight through. The good news is that I have the tips and tricks that will help anyone bust through any plateau – no matter how long you’ve been stuck there.
All physique goals break down into two arenas – gaining muscle and losing fat. I will talk about what you need to do to address both possible goals.
If you’ve been training a while and you are trying to increase your muscle mass, your body is probably getting used to the growth stimulus you have been giving it. Every article I’ve ever read on the subject recommends taking a break to give your body a rest. In my 53 years of training, I can count on one hand all of the people I’ve ever met that are training hard enough that they need to reduce, rather than INCREASE the stimulus.
Now I don’t mean to necessarily increase the volume of your training but rather the WAY in which you are challenging your body. Take a hard look at your training and determine what you AREN’T doing that you need to be. It might be that you need more intensity which can be achieved by reducing rest times, doing drop sets, etc. You might need to really make a hard push to increase the weights you are using, or if you always train in the 8-10 rep range switch to higher and/or lower reps.
Hurt More, Not Less
Essentially, you probably need to see what you need to do in order to make your body HURT more than you have been. Obviously I mean that you need to make sure that your muscles hurt more from the exercise and not joints or other pain that is not increasing the mechanical damage to your muscle fibers. At the end of the day, that is really the only way to grow.
If your goal is to lose fat there are several things you should consider.
The first place to look is at the quality of your diet. The worse it is, the less you need to do in order to experience some fat loss. If you are still eating lots of sweets, fast food, etc. then all you need to do is swap some of the “bad” stuff for clean foods. Fairly obvious.
The next place to look if you are already eating fairly clean is to reduce the number of carbohyrates you are eating. There is a reason that while there are many different diets eaten by bodybuilders, the one thing that almost all can agree on is that when reducing calories, the first place they all generally go is from carbs. Some people still do very low fat and higher carb diets and experience success with it but they tend to notice a drying out of their skin and hair.
The Secret to My Success
I have always followed a high protein, lower carb and moderate fat approach for getting lean and I feel it really is the best for natural bodybuilders that don’t use drugs. This was what allowed me to compete at the highest levels of the sport against athletes that were using steroids and it will almost certainly give you the best results. You don’t have to take my word for it – just try a higher carb approach and I bet you’ll see that it won’t be as successful for you.
The last tip I’ll leave you with is that eating more frequent, smaller meals will allow you to lose fat much more easily and with a lot less suffering than eating 2 or three larger ones. I’ve tried it both ways and I can assure you that it makes a very big difference. The only thing that you’ll probably need to start doing is carrying at least a meal or two with you so that you can have access to clean food when you need it.
There’s a lot of science to back me up on what I’ve talked about but I’ll leave that to others who can better address it.
The main thing I want to leave you with is that regardless of whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, the only constant in the pursuit of your goals is to keep changing things.