Monday, May 16, 2011

Peaked, stuck, leveled out in progress & muscle gains?

Have you been working out for several months or longer, and now feel like your muscle gains and/or progress has landed on a plateau somewhere?

Yeah, I'm talking about the feeling of being stuck, peaked, leveled out or whatever you want to call it...

A lot of people encounter this "peaking out" dilemma, and it is actually perfectly normal. Unfortunately, when some people get stuck in progress while trying to build muscle or achieve certain physical fitness goals, they often lose interest or just throw their hands up and quit working out altogether.

...But before I say anything else about this subject, maybe you need to ask yourself, "what are my goals?" Maybe you're fine with your current level of fitness and would like to spend more time on other things, perhaps even go out and have some fun - ha!

Anyway, many times when a person experiences these "plateau effects" and seem to be stuck in progress, they either need to take some time off, change their routine or completely alter the type of exercises they have been performing. For example, several years ago, I felt that I was tired of lifting the same ol' weights, doing the same boring bench presses and exercises, and was having to drag myself into the workout room because it got to where I dreaded lifting all that heavy weight. So, I decided to buy a Power Tower and started to build muscle without weights (pull-ups, dips, etc.). When I needed extra resistance, I would simply use a weighted vest. Now, after using the Power Tower for a few years, I'm about ready to start lifting heavy weights again and now I wished that I wouldn't have sold my damn weight bench to begin with! Ha-ha! But that's just an example, as changing the routines and exercises often temporarily rescues people from the "muscle building plateau" status.

Taking a break can also be great... Don't worry about losing muscle mass during your transitory hiatus; plus, if you've been working out for a few years, try to remember the points that were being made in the post "the mystery of muscle memory," as this should help you rest assured that your body will have no problem gaining what little muscle you may have lost during your period of inactivity.

When you do feel "leveled out" or whatever, this may also be a good time to become more quick & flexible with the muscle you already have. Being bulky isn't everything; in fact, many folks find that it slows them down and actually hurts their overall level of physical fitness. However, not everybody has the same goals, but I'm just saying that it might be a good idea to get out there and utilize you muscles in more natural movements as opposed to basic lifting, curling, pressing, etc. You know, things like shadow boxing, martial arts, various types of stretches, manual labor that replaces automatic gadgets (like chopping down trees with an axe instead of using a chain saw, using a push mower instead of a riding mower), and so on...
Speaking of boxing and martial arts, you may also be interested in my "picking out the right heavy bag / speed bag stand" entry, in addition to the "body opponent heavy bag" post.

Personally, I think some people may just need a little additional motivation. For example, when I used to feel stuck or in a rut, I'd just look at some motivational posters for my workout room, and alter the way my weight room looked by buying bikini posters, pictures of barely clad women, etc. Yep, throw in some nice visuals along with some motivational music, and you may be well on your way to new physical fitness goals that will free yourself from that "peaked" feeling you're suffering from.

---End of Post "Peaked, stuck, leveled out in progress & muscle gains?"


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