The Plateau

Emily —  July 15, 2013 — 2 Comments

There’s nothing quite like the excitement that comes with the first few months of getting into weight training. My body and mindset started to change. My confidence and desire grew. I started to sleep better, move better and feel better. The light bulb went off and it was like, “Woohoo! This type of workout is WORKING for me!”

Then it got even better. I went from doing body-weight movements to using dumbbells and kettlebells. Instead of a PVC pipe, I actually got underneath the bar. Then that bar got loaded with a little plate, and then a larger plate, and then the infamous Miss Fit-named  “big girl plate” (45 pounds). Every time I lifted, I performed it with a little more confidence and a little more weight. I felt like I was becoming a real lifter, and it was awesome. I actually felt that I was starting to look like I spent time in the gym. My posture was better, I’d shed some fat, and I was starting to see some muscle definition in places that had always been “soft.”

But then, I felt like it’d be a while before I would see any more changes in my figure in the mirror. And there were days when I’d hit the gym, bump up my weight, and I wasn’t able to get it off the floor with good form. Nooooo!!!

My progress seemed like it was stalling, and I was having a hard time dealing with it.  I thought that maybe I was “off” or just doing something wrong.  Maybe my diet wasn’t on point or I was too stressed. I racked my brain certain days: “I’m doing exactly what I was doing before when I made great improvement, so what’s the problem?”

I expressed my concerns to Jim, and he said what I was going through was completely normal. Well, who wants to be normal? Of course, I wasn’t satisfied, so he explained it to me in a way that got through to me. He said something along the lines of, “If you kept making jumps with your weights the way you did the first few months, you’d be lifting 600 pounds before we knew it. Is that realistic?”  and  “You look great! What could you possibly be unhappy with?”

Did I think it was realistic to look like Marilyn and lift like Arnold? Of course it’s not. Weights on the bar have to plateau at some point, and even wax and wane. Same goes with aesthetics. It’s hard but true, and the battle to get to that next level to hit those PRs (personal records) or levels of leanness can be quite a bit harder.

I heard Greg Everett, trainer and co-host of the Paleo Solution podcast, say something a few weeks back that resonated with me. Someone had written in to get help with their struggle in the weight room, and he said some variation of, “People need to remember that what got you from A to B might not be what’s going to get you from B to C.”


So this is when the real work begins. I’ve gotten from A to B, and although I know it’s going to be a lot of work and not as instantly gratifying as it was in the beginning, I need to be patient and confident that my work in and out of the gym will get me from B to C, even if I have to be stuck on a plateau every once in a while.










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2 responses to The Plateau

  1. Very nice post. You put your experience in a very relatable way to me. I recently had a two month plateau with my deadlift. It was a very frustrating time, but also very rewarding to be on the other side of it now.

    • Emily

      I’m so glad that you were able to relate and that you’ve broken through your plateau! Congrats…slow and steady wins the race. Keep pulling. 🙂

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