When we first start training and working out consistently, we see – what I like to call – early #gainz. You’re hitting PR’s all the time, the number on the scale is plummeting, and you’re seeing muscles “pop” that you’ve never seen before. And… then… the plateau. You don’t PR every time you lift. Weight loss has stalled – if not reversed. And you’re no longer seeing new muscle definition.
WHAT DO YOU DO?!?! “Well I guess I need to do some ‘extra work'” is usually the answer.
So you start to do crunches in the corner after class. Run a mile before a WOD. Do some extra intervals on the Assault Bike. Start a squat cycle. Double up and do 2-a-days. Do “competitor” style training (I mean, if Rich is doing it). It only makes sense – do more of what worked in the first place.
But that’s the easy stuff. It’s easy to do more. It’s easy to add on 20 minutes to your WOD. It’s easy to throw on a vest to do box jumps. But, more doesn’t (necessarily) make you fitter. It’s the hard stuff that makes you fitter. What’s the hard stuff? Sleeping more, drinking less, eating well, and avoiding stress. THESE are the hard things that are GUARANTEED to improve your fitness, help you lose weight, and see muscle definition (trust me – your “core” is strong enough. Knock it off the extra crunches and eat some vegetables).
Most people don’t go the route of doing the hard stuff because it requires a pretty honest look in the mirror. So, do a little personal inventory before you go adding to your programming. I’ve created one for you. If you can answer “yes” to each FOR A PERIOD OF 12 WEEKS, then I think extra workouts may benefit you.
1. I get 7, uninterrupted hours of sleep a night.
2. I eat 6 (ladies) to 9 (fellas) servings of vegetables a day.
3. I eat an appropriate amount of lean protein daily.
4. I drink 3 or less (ladies) or 5 or less (fellas) alcoholic beverages a week. Remember: for 12 weeks 🙂
5. I do not make mention of – or complain about – my workload, schedule, or stress levels to anyone but my spouse or significant other.
If you’re a four-to-five out of five, you may benefit from “extra work” or “competitors programming” – otherwise you’re probably digging yourself into a hole for which you don’t have a shovel to get out.