What To Do If You Have Stalled In Your Training
This is a common issue among relatively newer exercisers and athletes. They see great progress for the first six months to a year, and then it happens. Out of nowhere it seems as though they can’t get stronger, or more enduring. Maybe their physique has even stalled. It’s happened to everyone — myself included. And it will happen to you too, if it hasn’t already. Don’t believe me? Just give it time. It is inevitable.
You will not continue to add 30 pounds to your back squat on a monthly bases for the next 24 months until you shatter the world record with a one ton squat. You will eventually reach your limit with the given training stimulus that you are currently delivering to your body. If this is news to you, there’s no need to be alarmed there are a few ways to get through this issue. Notice I didn’t say around the issue, because there is no around. There is only dealing with the facts. Let’s begin.
Add some variation to your training. This isn’t the only thing one can do, but it will be the focus of this blog and many other ways surely branch from this one principle. You can’t do the same three exercises at the same weight for the same rep and set scheme for the rest of existence and expect to get any better. That’s pretty simple, right? Where it begins to get a little muddy is when training age and genetic predisposition are taken into account. Simply put, training age is how long someone has been training and genetic predisposition is what training stimulus best works in favor with that person’s genetic makeup. You could also add the complexity of sport into that. If you’re training for a specific sport, then the training that you do has to elicit the necessary adaptation that you’re seeking to improve in that sport.
Let’s take CrossFit™ for example. This is the poster child for varied exercise, as constantly varied is in its mantra; (Constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity). If someone is doing a general physical preparedness (GPP) program — such as most CrossFit affiliates program for their members — you will be generally good at most things. That is by definition what CrossFit™ is intended to do. Make you pretty darn good at many things. Does that mean you’ll ever see a CF Games athlete stand on top of the podium of a specialized sport, like swimming, at the world or Olympic level? It hasn’t happened yet, and is tough to say for sure. However, that begs the question, do Games athletes do GPP CrossFit™? No. They train specific to their needs, to eliminate any weaknesses they may have, to prepare for the upcoming season. Many of them seek out specialty coaches to hone their skills in specific modalities (realms of fitness). So to put it simply, even the worlds best CrossFitters train specifically, and not just at random. They prepare for specific stimuli in training, rather than general stimuli.
This same principle can be applied across all types of fitness. Louie Simmons invented the West Side Barbell™ method for power lifters. This is also known as Conjugate Method. The theme is variance of movements, loads, tempos, reps, sets, etc. to keep the body adapting. This is not randomized and is a meticulously thought out cycle of training that at first glance looks like a Sudoku puzzle. If you want to be the strongest power lifter in the world, you have to train smart, according to your needs.
Do you see a theme building throughout this blog? When you stall in your training (not if) you have to have a plan in place to get out of the rut you’re in. This isn’t easy if you don’t know much about how the human body functions in terms of training adaptation, recovery, nutrition, etc. I know. It must seem like I segued you from one problem — stalling in your progress — to another problem — not knowing how to fix it. Well I didn’t bring you this far to crush your spirits.
The most obvious and easy way, in my mind, is to hire a professional to help you achieve your goals. One of the biggest pros to having a professional handle these intricacies is the peace of mind you get from not having to put a ton of thought into how the plan is structured and why. All you have to do is execute the plan and you will get progress. The hardest decision to be made in this scenario is the one where you decide which person to hire to get you to the destination. Still not convinced that this is the easiest way? Consider that most all professionals have their own coach or trainer who guides them. And that trainer or coach has their own coaches and trainers. The reason for this is pretty simple. When self-evaluating, you are more prone to over-analyze your situation. If you started your fitness journey on your own, like I did, you know how hard it can be to write a plan, stick with it for as long as it works, and make the proper switches when it’s necessary to make them. I have my own fitness coach as well as nutrition advisor. It’s easier for me that way. I can focus on helping others on their journey and just execute the plan that is laid out for me.
How does that translate to you? Well, if you’re a busy person who is struggling to balance work from home life, imagine also trying to develop the appropriate micro, macro and mesocycle of training for your long term health and success. Because let’s face it, any fool can write killer workouts and make everyone in the room roll around in agony afterward, but to remain healthy for the long haul you have to be smart about how you place those killer workouts. I hope this article helped to shed some light on a situation that we all have and will go through in our training. I tried to keep it short and sweet as there are so many rabbit holes we can dive into with this one. I wanted to share my experience and what has worked for me. I would love to help you on your journey to becoming the healthiest, fittest version of yourself. If you liked this blog, please let me know how I can help you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries on training and nutrition.
Instagram: @cfjustintyler23 for more on nutrition, training and some shenanigans.