The Cycle of Progress...

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”

~Bruce Lee

I might go a bit geeky on you today. 

Take a peek at the following chart.


The above chart is what happens during a journey of trying to change body composition. 

This is what happens when you are trying to shed that dreaded body fat. 

What do you notice?

You have the months going horizontal and the body fat going vertical.

Plateaus are necessary. 

Sometimes we get frustrated when we haven't seen results in awhile and you feel like your plateauing. 

But based on this graph, it's a necessary evil. 

You can see by the graph that each plateau includes a period of no progress, followed by a slight “sliding back” before you progress again.

Additionally – each subsequent plateau occurs at a faster rate than the previous one and is usually a smaller progression each time. 

Did you read the key thing there?

There is a period of no progress, followed by a slight "sliding back" before you progress again. 

Keep this in mind next time you feel like you're a bit stuck. 

The key to breaking that plateau?

A very slight change in your exercise and nutrition. 

 A subtle change (e.g. switching from the bike to the rower in your cardio workouts) is often enough to ‘kick start’ progress.

The progression of a single variable like load used in an exercise can keep forcing adaptations even when other variables remain the same.

So keep trying to bump up those weights :)

A good coach is always trying to stay one step ahead of any plateaus – by manipulating the training variables to ensure continued progress.

For example, in our programs at Spurling one of the tools we use is to adjust the rep range every single workout (using undulating periodization for the geeks out there) and change the exercises completely every 4 weeks. 

The bottom line is to remember that plateaus are not necessarily a bad thing.

They mean, with a slight adjustment you're about to make some good progress.

In actual fact, our ultimate goal IS a plateau – to reach a favorable body composition range and stay there.

Make sense?

I know this was a little overload today on the exercise geek side, but I think as a client it's important to understand that there is a lot that goes into the exercise selection process, it's not just random, and having the visual reference above to understand that plateaus are not bad things. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling