Wait, what does that title say? I need to rest to overcome my plateau? There comes a time when we may not be progressing and we feel the need to do more or extra to get over the hump, but do we need to do more or rest more? Contrary to some beliefs you actually don’t get better during training, you get better recovering from training. There should be as much attention and focus put on your recovery as you do for the work you are putting in. Along with rest in its purest form, sleep, two other things we could be doing to make sure we are recovering properly are altering our volume of work, and being sure our nutrition is on point.
In a perfect world, you could fall asleep when you wanted and wake up 8-10 hours later feeling completely rejuvenated. Lets face it, LIFE happens and that’s not always realistic. You have a load of laundry to do, your team is playing the late game, the kids woke you up in the middle of the night, or you just didn’t sleep well because you have a million things running through your head. Although sleep may seem like the top option for rest, when feeling beat up or tired, just taking your normal workout hour and doing something else that you find relaxing, like reading, yoga, a bike ride or walk can prove to be greatly beneficial, not only for your physical health, but just as much for your mental health.
2. Altering the workload
During a storm in life or plateau in performance, it is okay to back down your training a bit. Point 1 talked about resting, but if you are as stubborn as me, that may not be an option. An alternative to completely taking a day out of the gym, would be lower your weights or scale the movements. This is where you need to be 100% open and honest with yourself on how you are feeling, but also honest with your coach so we can help you get through the day effectively and safely.
The last thing (and re-occurring, as you will find in many of these blogs) is re-evaluating your nutrition. You may think your plateau has something to do with how you are training, but it could all boil down to what you are putting in your body. Two quick questions you should ask yourself during a “low” are; 1) Are you getting enough calories and 2) Are you getting quality calories? Maybe you are eating too many dense carbs that are making you sluggish, or maybe you aren’t eating enough carbs which is causing you to be low in energy. These are two things to evaluate very quickly to make a change, if necessary.
Instead of always gritting your teeth and pushing forward, a small step back could be exactly what you need to make leaps and bounds of progress. In order to do so, you need to listen to your body and must be 100% honest with yourself.