Let’s face it, if you’re feeling like crap you will not be very motivated to workout. Without eating enough of the right foods to fuel your training program, fatigue may beat you to the finish line and your muscle gains will come to a quick halt.
Blast Through Bodybuilding Plateaus Just Like Rocky Balboa
Worry no more! Here’s the inside scoop on how to eat to beat fatigue and overcome those training plateaus to maximize your muscle building efforts.
Get your confidence back!
The first thing you need to do is re-gain your confidence. Plateaus in training happen to every weight lifter at some point in their lives and it is no reason to give up lifting weights. I know many people who couldn’t get through it and so they gave up. Wrong!
Change your exercise order
The first thing you need to do is change the order that you do your exercises. Many people do the same workout for years at a time and after a while their muscles become bored and stuck. Change the order you do your exercises. Even go so far as to chuck away some exercises for a few weeks and try something new. If you do a split change the muscles that you pair together.
Rocky did this when he had to learn to box with a different leading hand. He had to change the way he worked his muscle by changing the exercise order.
Change your lifting style
If you are one of those dudes at the gym who lifts his weights super fast and with plenty of energy then slow things down. Do every single repetiton as slow as possible. It might mean you only get out four or five but it will give your muscles a new way of training and force them to adapt to something new.
Rocky (in every movie!) kicks up a gear and goes from slow boring training to hard and fast lifting to really boost his muscle development. Maybe we need to do the reverse.
Take a few weeks off
At the end of every year I take off a few weeks from training. I still go for jogs and do some pushups occasionally but I don’t go to the gym and I don’t push my body too hard. This is one of the best secrets there is. Your body will recouperate, revive and you will find you grow and come back to training with more passion and energy than ever before. During my weeks off I eat well and take care of my system. Injuries recover and I feel like a new man. If you are stuck on a plateau maybe you are overtraining and your body can’t keep up anymore.
Rocky overtrained. No doubt about it. If you don’t take a few weeks off every now and then you will burn out. Once a year is plenty.
Clean things up
After a few years of lifting weights you can get into certain bad habits. Leaning back when you do a barbell curl, bouncing the bench press off your chest, etc. All these things lessen the amount of stress you put on the muscles and retard your progress. If you are stuck on a bodybuilding plateau try re-learning all the techniques and make sure you lift cleanly. Really hit those muscles you are targeting well.
Watch Rocky’s boxing style in episode one and compare it with episode three. Everything cleaned up and he became a huge, ripped and skilled fighting machine!
Find different ways of adding resistance
The absolute basic principle of bodybuilding is that you need to gradually increase the work you are doing so that your muscles keep responding and growing. If you are on a plateau it means you have stopped growing. Therefore, find new ways of adding resistance to your exercises so that your muscles are forced to respond.
If you can’t add anymore weight to your bench press try doing pushups as soon as you finish your set; something your muscles aren’t used to. Or, instead of trying to add more weight take weight off each set so that your muscles get more of a “endurance” type workout. Be creative and find new ways to challenge your body. This tip is cash money! Rocky ran stairs, chased chickens and did all sorts of things to develop his skills. Be creative!
Don’t neglect your diet
Proper nutrition and a good weight training program need to be combined if you want to start putting more muscle on your scrawny body. Trying to train intensively when malnourished or feeling fatigued is a recipe for disaster.
Make sure that you are getting adequate calories and protein in the diet for supercompensation to occur. Supercompensation is the period after a training session when the muscles have a higher performance capacity. This is important to progress to lifting heaver weights. Due to your increased activity level it’s a good idea to increase your protein intake.
If you can’t get enough protein from raw foods then protein supplements is a consideration. Just make sure you buy a good quality whey protein. If you are unsure of what whey protein you should get, read supplement reviews online to know what others think of different brands.
Food is fuel for your body
Consuming food during the time that you are most active allows a steady flow of energy to your muscles and, most importantly, to your brain. It doesn’t make sense to bank the majority of your calories until dinner and afterward, when your body requires the energy earlier in the day.
Snack throughout the day. Your breakfast and lunch fuel will only last a few hours, so you need to be snacking during the day to maintain energy levels. I would suggest you avoid sugary snacks, which will give you a burst of energy but not much of anything else.
Replace coffee for more water
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep your caffeine consumption to a moderate amount, no more than about two cups of coffee per day. Water is the most important nutrient that the body needs, so make sure you are drinking enough water.
The bodybuilding plateau is a scary and annoying time for any lifter. With a few minor changes to your training and diet, however, you can get your training and muscle growth back on track. Don’t be afraid to change your old habits to get some new results. Just like Rocky.