If you are working toward specific fitness goals and have been diligently following a plan that works for you, it can be very frustrating to suddenly find what feels like a halt in your progress. This is often called a fitness “plateau,” or a period of time when you are no longer seeing measurable results. It happens to everyone at one time or another, and it certainly does not mean you have been doing something wrong. It just means it is time for a change. But to make an effective change, one has to be open to new ideas, new experiences, and new goals.
My friend Candace had been following the same diet and exercise routines for years with great success when she hit her plateau. Weeks and then months passed, and it seemed the scale would not budge. She found herself complaining, comparing herself to others, and arguing about how she was doing everything “right” without seeing results. Finally, she decided to hire a personal trainer to get the one-on-one advice she was seeking. He adjusted her diet plan and shifted her weekly exercise routine to include more challenging activities. After six weeks with the trainer, she dropped 5% body fat, and began enjoying a new level of cardio fitness. When I asked her what made the difference, she was quick to explain. “I had to get over myself first. I had to realize that what I was doing was no longer working, and be open to the new ideas and suggestions of my trainer.”
The truth is, anyone can tell you what you should do differently. Eat more protein, add more cardio, take more classes, or eat fewer carbs. But advice from the outside when you are not open to it on the inside is about as effective as rainwater penetrating a tin roof, and can often be perceived as offensive. Change has to happen on the inside first. In order for any new information to get in, we have to first accept that it is needed, and then be open to the right information for us.
If you find yourself in a place where you are no longer seeing results, it is essential that you avoid using this as an excuse to quit. Fitness is the journey of a lifetime, and hitting a fitness plateau can be the beginning of a new path, which you simply have not yet discovered. In fact, you can even consider it a gift. For if you were not searching, you certainly could not find.
Author Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Success comes from within, not from without.” If you are frustrated with your current situation, and seeking fresh direction or different results, focus on changing on the inside first. Decide to be open to new ideas, new levels of expectation, and new beliefs about what you can do. In my experience, if you are asking, then the answer is already on its way.
Every decision counts.