I have recently researched this question because I have been at this point before. I wanted to share with everyone what I have found that can cause a plateau in one’s body when weight training. Keep in mind that everyone has a different body type, but these are the general reasons this type of situation can occur. I have been guilty of falling into some of these bad habits myself.
Time of Day
If possible, try working out in the morning rather than the evening. When one weight trains in the morning, this gives the body an entire day to refuel with a normal eating schedule. This allows the muscles to gain from the nutritional benefits all day and ultimately grow faster. Moreover, this does not leave an excuse to skip the gym later in the day, like after a long workday.
When one weight trains at night, the only meals left after the session will be a post workout shake and dinner. When it comes to seeing a true transformation, nutrition to replenish those muscles are so important. This same concept goes with an intense lift and HIIT session. The fat burning session is not only during the workout, but also throughout the entire day with increased hormone levels.
If one does the same exercise each week, the body will adapt to it. In order to avoid plateauing, mix the exercises around. This means changing the sets, reps and order. In other words, if each week the routine is curling three sets of 10, change it to four sets of 12 or add in a drop set. It will make a significant difference.
Form is so important when weight training. Having proper form will help one avoid potential injuries. When working out, be a muscle builder not a weight lifter. It does not matter if one can curl 40lb dumbbells if they are throwing their back or entire body around just to get through one rep.
It is not impressive! Use a weight that one can focus more on the contraction of the muscle and not just moving around a weight.
In addition, there are millions of resources online through websites like bodybuilding.com and YouTube channels with professionals explaining proper form. If that does not work, ask someone who works at the gym for help. That is why they are there!
An unbalanced diet will not help the body transform. If the goal is to lose weight, this does not mean to skip meals. A missed meal will put the body into starvation mode. Body fat will not come off this way.
Plan the meals ahead of time. If time is an issue, pack an apple or almonds before running out of the house. I promise it will be much more beneficial eating that than french fries at Wendy’s.
Stick to a diet rich in whole foods and good fats. In addition, take in as many green vegetables as possible! If it is hard to take in as many vegetables throughout the day, try juicing. It will make a difference!
Doing too much cardio (even low impact) can burn away muscle. If the goal is a tight body, focus on intense lifting sessions with cardio at a different time of day or another day. If doing an hour a day of cardio and already lean, those bodies are not going to add muscle.
Cardio sessions are for people who carry more weight initially with the goal to lose weight. Once the body begins to lean, change things with a focus on a clean diet and high volume intense training sessions with min to no rest periods. Recommended forms of cardio are: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), plyometrics, super-sets and active rests.