Balancing Your Body and Mind

Good Advice for Running Plateau’s

Running PlateausAnyone who has been exercising or weight-lifting for an extended period of time will eventually hit one. It’s never an issue of will I plateau, but when.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual gym goer, a highly-conditioned athlete, an amateur body builder or a professional fitness model. You will hit a plateau eventually if you are exercising and training on any kind of regular basis.

Training plateaus can be particularly frustrating because they will typically occurr when you feel the strongest or following a period of rapid progress. So psychologically, they can be demotivating because they take the shine off from all of that progress you’ve made over the previous weeks or months. You’ll feel like you are spinning your wheels and going no-where fast, and it can make working out less rewarding.

The good news is that there are a number of proven techniques that you can use to break through a weight training plateaus.

In some cases, you’ll be able to break your plateau fairly easily with just one or two of these techniques.  In other cases, especially if you’ve been training for for several years and are already in a very good physical condition, you may have to try multiple approaches or some of the more advanced techniques to shock your fitness level.

One bad habit that can create a plateau fast is, over-training.

Overtraining (training far beyond your current fitness threshold) is VERY important to understand in order to prevent.  Not only will overtraining cause create a plateau, but you can over-strain your muscles, resulting in injury (a far worse plateau!).  So how do you know what your threshold is?  It depends on your individual conditioning. A marathon runner’s stamina limits for instance, is conditioned differently than a power lifter’s strength limits.  If they did the other’s full fitness routine, they would overstress the under-trained areas.

Training muscular endurance has a point of peak effort, the same way strength training does.  So I believe in balanced training.  I used to only focus on one method at a time, because I wanted to gain size and bulk.  But after looking deeper into WHY I was exercising in the first place, I realized I truly wanted truer vitality, and mistook huge muscular size and strength as the goal.   Well, I also wanted to look good naked ;P. I wasn’t in competitive sports, not pro-bodybuilding, yet I was training like I was. I was out of touch and following too many magazine articles. But it was only complicating achieving the results I was really after.

vitality_enduranceAs far as which cardio window burns what. I think it’s a matter of heartrate, instead of a general set amount of time. Running at 10 is much easier for me now than it was a 6 months ago. My heart rate was through the roof after 1 minute then, now I can maintain that speed for 15 minutes. Before I would overtrain if I ran beyond 30 minutes, now, my threshold is at 50 minutes.

First it takes time to warm up, like an engine, get the blood and other factors pumping and secreting. Then other stages of conditioning and endorphin releases begin. Usually it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to warm up. After that, those other systems “turn on” and start doing their thing. Usually right around the 15 minute mark of continuous movement around the 110 to 120 heart rate range, perspiration starts flowing on all areas of the skin, slight increase in body temperature (thermogenesis), and you may end up feeling the runner’s high, or an effortless flow. This indicates youre at the mid point. You will soon approach your body’s threshold point, and if you push a little bit beyond it each time (not too long), you will increase your output bit by bit. It’s definitely not an overnight thing.