Fitness Plateau How to Break Them
Everybody that has been weight training for a long period of time has probably hit a plateau. Myself included. When I first started weight training, my strength and size grew immensely, most people would call those the ‘newbie’ gains. That’s where your body is shocked because of the extra stress load that you put on it, that it has no choice but to adapt and grow bigger in order to take on the grueling workouts.
After a year or so, I noticed that I no longer was making the gains that I was in the beginning and decided to bulk, because all the big guys at the gym were telling me that’s the only way to get bigger and stronger. Well sure as hell, after a few months of eating, I got big… pretty damn big actually. I went from a tiny 142lbs to a HUGE and wide 179lbs, my strength increased a bit, but my body grew a lot bigger.
I decided to cut down to reveal all of the hard earned muscle, but not knowing anything back then, decided to listen to some dude at the gym who knew nothing and told me to just drop my calories to around 1200 a day and do cardio. LOTS of cardio. I did that and within 2 months I dropped down to 138 pounds, keeping little or no muscle that I had achieved from the bulk AND all of my strength + more was lost. Mostly because my body was suffering from the mad deficit of calories needed to sustain strength and muscle.
Since then I vowed never to go on a bulk again and if I did, it would only last a few months at most and not a year and some. I have no idea why I told you all of this, but this is what lead to my strength gains plateauing. The strength that I had lost was INSANE, I went from being able to bench 260lbs 5 times to barely being able to bench 170lbs. Within a few months of being 138, I reached a weight of 145 and my strength had not returned, no matter what I did, I could not break 200lbs bench. I tried eating more, but that only lead to weight gain and not very much strength gains, I tried high reps, light weight, I tried heavy weights low reps, basically everything to try and shock my body into growing and getting stronger and still nothing. Then one day I decided to go training with my one of my buddies that was a competitive bodybuilder. I trained with him for weeks and within those few weeks, actually during the first workout, I noticed that my strength had gone up I had benched 200 easily for 3 reps. Not a lot of you know this, but I LOVE flying solo in the gym. There is nobody to distract me, nobody to take me away from the focus of me and the solid iron I was lifting. But it was a miracle that day in the gym. I had spent almost a year trying to bust this weight and it seemed to move so easily that one day. Let me tell you how I easily broke that strength plateau.
Now I don’t mean attitude in the terms of psyching myself up and going to the gym and saying “I’m going to fuck up those weights and I will lift this weight for this many reps” I mean you’re preceded from a place of confidence, or you’re moving with the confidence that someone else has in you. This is why coaches are so important, this is why personal trainers are important, because when someone else knows the strength that you potentially have inside of you more then you know your own strength, YOU WILL believe in yourself and will easily be guided to do whatever it is you want to do. Now this goes for a lot of things throughout life, if someone believes in you, far greater then you believe in yourself, they will push you to succeed and you are almost guaranteed to succeed. Now what was keeping me from my strength gains was the fear of lifting heavier weights, It was engraved in my mind that I’ve been lifting 190 pounds so long that I should try again until the weight felt light.
After I did 190 pounds for 5 reps, my buddy told me that clearly I had 200 pounds in me for 5 reps, I told him: “no damn way. The weight barely went up on the 5th rep.” He then said “Don’t worry man, I got you on this.”
He then pushed me, he told me that we weren’t leaving the gym until I did 200 pounds that day, and you know what? I did it, and it felt damn easy. It was like a miracle had happened. Him believing in me, lead me to believe in myself and I lifted the weights with ease. This was a while back in 2010 since then my strength has been increasing slightly, but was reminded today about this so I decided to write up about it to help some of you out. This post was a little longer then I usually write up, but I felt that I had to share. Now go out there, hit the gym, grab a buddy and let break those plateaus.