Don’t Let a Fitness Plateau Hold You Back

Don’t Let a Fitness Plateau Hold You Back

Jul 07 2015

Two things in life are certain: Death and taxes. For the athlete, add a third: The Fitness Plateau.

By: Shelley Irwin

It’s a Monday morning and you’re just not in the mood to get out of bed for a run, let alone jump in the pool for a few laps. Don’t panic. It’s a normal emotion and it’s the Monday following a tough race weekend or maybe it’s from a long run that took up most of your Saturday!

But now it’s Tuesday, and the symptoms persist.

Heaven forbid, it carries over into Wednesday.

Welcome to what may be serious signs and symptoms of the dreaded fitness plateau. You’ve hit the point in your progress where everything seems to stall.

If you want to see constant progress that doesn’t plateau, the body needs to change things up both physically and  mentally.

Why the plateau? Experts in the field say the cause can be attributed to your body’s ability to adapt. Or, in other words, your body feels like it’s in a comfort zone. Are you following the same trail you did this time last year, so you could just get it done without a new experience? Or have you added more speed or a hill or a tempo run in the last month to change it up? If you want to see constant progress that doesn’t plateau, the body needs to change things up both physically and quite frankly, mentally.

Not to worry, goal achievers. Here are three steps to get you through this unusual, albeit common “situation”.


Recognize the symptoms. Give yourself a forgiveness pass and take a week off. Leave on a jet plane. Journal your thoughts. Just let go of the temporary guilt, because you know what? Plateaus happen.


Time off is healthy, but fitness loss does begin to set it if time off isn’t taken advantage of. Get back into the saddle with a renewed course of action. Find a new route. Try a different gym. Change up your playlist. Cross training will benefit your physical needs so take up spin or do yoga. You could also run with a friend or mentor a newbie. You can even go the whole 9 yards and hire a coach who’ll keep you accountable to the new goal.

Action Plan

Priority Health - Personal Wellness - Fitness Plataeu - YogaJust do it. Break up your new pattern into smaller increments. What’s your three month plan? Your six month goal? Hit the small objectives to get you to the big goal, without sacrificing fitness setbacks. PLAN your rewards. Buy a new piece of gear. FEEL that ultimate return to the endorphin high.

The bottom line is, if you want to have an awesome relationship with your body, you need to listen. The symptoms of a fitness plateau are real and your body is talking to you when this happens. The signs your body is giving you are great reminders that will help you fend off injuries or burnout.

Take care of yourself as this is a lifelong journey. Now, roll out your red carpet and get moving!

Priority Health - A Healthier You - Triathlon - SwimAbout the Author: Shelley Irwin is an award winning radio announcer at WGVU Morning Show. In 2008, She received her fifth consecutive Gracie Allen Award from American Women in TV and Radio for excellence as a program host. Shelley also is an amatuer athlete currently representing Team Priority Health in runs, triathlons and bike races