Have you hit a weight loss plateau? Has your fitness plan stalled and you don’t feel you’ll reach your goals? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I can help you power back up and start seeing results again.
If you ever feel that you are doing everything just right with your fitness and nutrition plan but your results don’t seem to represent all of your hard work then I have a simple but effective piece of advice. Hitting a fitness or weight loss plateau is a very common problem in the world of sports performance and general weight loss. There are many theories on why our bodies sometimes hit a temporary yet frustrating roadblock but, by thinking outside the box, you can power through the frustration and start seeing results again. Keep on reading and you may be surprised at just how easy it can be to jump-start your flat-lined results.
All you need to do is take a few days rest in order to kick start your results. Honestly – I’m not crazy or cracking one of my usual jokes – you need to do something really different to put body back on track and move past your fitness or weight loss plateau. I believe that if you’re ready to break free from a weight loss plateau or prevent yourself from hitting a future roadblock then a good rest may just be the magic ingredient you need.
Being consistent with your activity level and nutrition plan is an important strategy when it comes to sports performance, weight loss and fitness but have you ever heard the old saying that “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”? In my opinion this saying is especially true when it comes to overexerting your body. Pushing your body to the point of exhaustion can spell disaster for your fitness level and weight loss goals. A plateau can happen at any point if you don’t schedule some quality down time into your program.
Three great reasons to rest your body
Here are my good reasons why a rest is sometimes more beneficial than a training session.
Your body needs to re-generate, restore and repair itself often. The most effective way for your body to naturally heal itself is for you to rest. Overworked muscles and overstressed joints just don’t perform as well and luckily our body lets us know when our muscles are overworked. Your pain receptors will make movements uncomfortable and your joints can become tender when you push your body too hard. The nervous system also needs time to rest in order to adapt and improve from training.
Always listen to your body and rest if you are sore.
Athletes train in cycles for a reason, the timing of training may vary from athlete to athlete but one common factor in every athlete’s training program are pre-planned rest days. One of the main reasons athletes rest is to avoid fatigue, but resting the body also helps athletes avoid common overuse or stress injuries. Many athletes notice an improved general performance after taking time off from training.
A well-rested body will get better results than a tired one.
If you are putting your body through the motions day after day, you can become complacent and your exercise intensity is likely to drop without you even realizing.
Have you ever seen a dog that hasn’t been walked for a few days? As soon as the dog goes out, it’s like a whole new world and they are just so excited. Well, it can be the same for humans when we’re working out. Taking a day or two off from your current workout routine can make you come back to the gym with a renewed commitment and excited approach.
There could be many factors that impact your results but if overtraining is one of them it is easy to fix with a simple day or two of rest. My goal is to help you discover ways to improve your current fitness level and emphasize that you should to listen to your body. We are all individuals and our bodies adapt at our own personal rate: giving your body adequate rest so it can be strong for your next workout is a smart approach to achieving sustainable results.
You only have one body so use it wisely.
Although I am encouraging you to add a few rest days into your intense training weeks, this is not an excuse for you to sit on the couch and do nothing all the time! A simple change of routine or incorporating activities that are at a lower intensity such as a gentle walk or swim are acceptable rest day activities. Occasionally my family enjoys a ‘duvet day’ where we sit back, relax and read or watch movies. We’re usually active and we like getting out and about but now and then it’s good for everyone to recharge.
I know that taking a rest definitely improves my performance and helps me reach the next fitness level. So, aim for one or two rest days a week but keep your completely inactive couch days to a few times a year!
Let me know if you’ve seen the benefit of rest days too. I love that something so simple can have a significant impact on breaking through a fitness or weight loss plateau – even if it does sound counter-intuitive. And, if you’re looking for more ideas on breaking through a plateau, check out Susan Bowerman‘s excellent post: ‘Weight loss plateau? 5 tips that will help right now’.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.