Losing weight, carving out a powerful physique, and otherwise claiming your health are goals that we all have, but the truth is that you will not always be able to reach for these goals in a linear fashion. You might go down the right road at first, only to find that you’re hitting a brick wall that refuses to budge.
Is the solution to curl up and go back to ice cream and cheesecake? Not at all, you future beefcake in training. You just need to learn how to break the plateau and reclaim those tight abs that you've always wanted.
Understanding the Plateau
What really constitutes a plateau? Generally speaking, it's all about the time. If you stop progressing for 3-4 weeks, that's understood as a stall or a plateau. If you stop moving forward in gains for a week, that's not a true plateau. A lot of things can affect performance, so it's important to explore all of the factors.
The Body, Electric!
We tend to move in plateaus when we do the same thing over and over in the gym, in the diet, and in life itself. When we know that we need to sleep more and we keep staying up all night to watch TV, plateaus tend to generate themselves.
Same when you know that you really need to stay away from the pizza and beer, but you indulge anyway. These are all things that might not make a difference here and there, but it adds up over time.
You need to jump back into the laboratory and explore the subject of you a little bit closer. You need to look at all of the different factors that indeed influence your body, including sleep, nutrition, stress levels, hormonal levels and even the exercise program that you’ve chosen.
Could Cycling Be Your Best Chance at Ripped Abs?
Everything in moderation–including moderation. That's the usual line when people start talking about fitness and exercise, but is that really the case?
We need to start looking at the way we train to figure out what's missing and what's not. Now, you might feel that you've really been hitting the gym hard–why aren't the abs coming?
You could be overtraining and not even realize it. If you find that your thirst for the gym is waning and even fading out fast, this could be your big sign. You also want to look at the nutrition side of things. Many people hunting for ripped abs aren't tracking, and they're doing themselves a disservice.
How can you improve anything when you have no baseline for activities already done? You have no idea how many calories you’re eating or how they're affecting you. That's a bad sign when you’re trying to tweak a program.
This means that if you are looking to truly keep a ripped physique, you’re going to have to track and measure results all of the time. If you don't, you will have a hard time getting anyone to really take you seriously, let alone try to help you. If you look at most of the leading bodybuilding and even regular fitness forums, stats and records are going to be the rule of the day.
Getting Back on the Wagon
You might feel a little frustrated when you find that your progress just isn't there anymore. Does that mean it's Congress? Not quite. There's always a new day, a new opportunity to improve. You don't have to feel like you'll never get those lean, ripped abs and that tire core that you want.
You may need to add some training days, or take some way. You might need to adjust your macronutrient profile and even the way you eat–meal timing can be pretty important, too. And we can't mention sleep enough. Even if you think that you’re getting enough sleep, you’re probably not really letting your body recover and heal. It's just as important to rest as it is to hit it hard in the gym.
The more you stress and obsess over your abs, the higher the likelihood that they won't appear. Cortisol is a mean, mean hormone and you don't want to mess with high levels of cortisol–inflammation and stress go hand in hand. When you're inflamed, you can't progress very well either. I wish you the best of luck in getting the abs you desire–don't let those plateaus get you down!