Typically when you start working out there are a lot of quick gains. You can lose weight easily, gain muscle, and gain strength at a fast pace. Your body isn’t used to the stress you are placing on it and adapts at a very quick pace. But as the years go by these gains and changes become smaller and less frequent. You have to adapt and work harder to see results.
Congratulations, you have become an advanced bodybuilder.
Even if you aren’t a bodybuilder per se, but just a fitness enthusiast, the feeling is the same. You look in the mirror or check the scale and just don’t see any big changes from week to week or even month to month. So what should you do?
Quitting is not an option. Yes, you look great and all of those years of work have given you a lot of knowledge and a certain level of satisfaction in the results from your hard work. But shouldn’t you be able to keep taking steps forward and not march in place?
Of course you can, but to do that you have to be willing to change.
First let’s overhaul the workout routine. By now you have probably tried numerous exercises, set & rep combinations, as well as workout splits. More than likely you have a routine that fits your schedule well and utilizes some of your favorite exercises. So let’s scrap all of that and start over from scratch.
Sure, that might sound a little crazy, but think about back when you first started and everything was new and different. The body had to adapt to being trained in this new manner. So recapture some of that old magic. First, try a completely new split that you have never done before. Maybe you have been doing Chest/Shoulders/Triceps for years. So break it up and do Chest/Back together or try a Push-Pull system. There are tons of options available to pick from.
Next use completely different exercises. There are so many options available now at most gyms between free weights and a variety of great machines. So for this new split, make sure to use all new exercises even if you hate them. You want to attack your body differently from new angles and get it out of its’ comfort zone. If you don’t regularly use decline dumbbell presses then add them to the routine.
For sets and reps try different combinations than before. Maybe consider alternating heavy and light days every other workout. Or look at trying something like a Heavy-Duty method. Again with so many options out there, dust off one or two and give them a whirl.
It is time to take a good, long look at what you are taking in. Sometimes we can slack off a bit in this area because we get bored. But proper nutrition and supplementation is a huge key to our body’s ability to adapt and grow.
First do some basic calculations to ensure you are getting enough calories and protein to spur muscle growth. Aim for the 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight if you are looking to add size. Next ensure you are getting enough good amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t already consider adding a creatine cycle to your mix. Look at the quality of your protein shakes and supplements as well because all things are not created equally from the same quality.
Another option is to consult a nutritionist and go over exactly what you are taking in and see if they might have tips and ideas for better ways to fuel your body. There are also plenty of articles and books on the subject that can be easily found.
Make sure you have adequate rest. Even the most advanced trainers can still get over trained. Before you start a new routine take 4 to 5 days completely off from the gym while you review your diet. Then get fueled up with plenty of rest and food and jump back in. Consider adding an extra day or rest or two every couple of weeks and see how your body responds. Ensure you are getting 8 good hours of sleep on the nights after a workout for maximum recovery.
The Bottom Line
You should never give up on being able to change your body. Sometimes you might hit a plateau or sticking point but with a good plan you can always overcome an obstacle. So take a step back, review, and charge forward to attack with renewed enthusiasm!