Stalling in Your Workouts?

Lifting weights to prevent stalling out in workoutsOh hell. Not again.

You’ve been busting your butt in the gym, you are sweating, working hard, but…

…nothing is happening. You are stalling in your workouts.

You look just about the exact same as you did last month.

The scale didn’t budge, your clothes fit about the same, and in your opinion, you look the same in the mirror.

So basically, nothing. Nothing changed.

This makes you frustrated and maybe even a bit angry. Here you are working out, eating better, doing your cardio and lifting weights, but your body just stopped changing.

You’re probably wondering if you should change things up a bit, maybe some new exercises, a new routine (or even just getting ON a routine), could Crossfit be an answer, or what about the latest workout plan on that person’s website. You know the really in shape guy?

Sound familiar?


Why You Are Stalling

Right off the bat, nothing is more demotivating to a person than when you stall with your fitness goal.

I see it time and time again and this one of the reason many people come to RTC. They’ve just stalled, and they are lost on what to do next.

Now when our staff talks to someone that has stalled, we have one question that we always ask, and this usually leads us to the answer on what has happened.

“Have you gotten any stronger, faster, or went longer with your weights and workouts in the past month?” Simply put, did you get better or are you lifting the same weights and doing the same workout as you did last week or last month?

That’s the question I want you to ask yourself now as you’re reading this.

Did I do more this workout than the last workout?”

If you have to think about it at all, then the answer is most likely no, AND this is the reason you’ve stalled.

Let me explain.

If you can remember when you first started, you probably saw changes pretty quickly; we call this newbie gains. Basically when you are new just about anything that you put an honest effort into you WILL GET BETTER, and in this case, it was your body.

You gained some muscle, lost some fat. Because you went from doing nothing to doing something, your body just made radical changes.

But, after some time, the changes seem to slow down, almost at a crawl or nothing at all. This is normal with most beginners because eventually what you were doing to make the change is no longer working. The is because your body as adapted to the work (the workouts and exercises in this case) and no longer has a reason to change.

Now to make your body start changing again, you HAVE to give it a reason to change.

You have to force it.

Let me show you how.


Progressive Overload

One of the founding principles that RTC is based on is progressive overload. What progressive overload means is asking, or forcing, your body to do more in today’s workout that it did in the last workout.

Let me give you an example:
In your last workout, let’s say you did a leg press of 200lbs for 3 sets of 15. Those are your numbers. 200x3x15.

Now, you have to beat those numbers in your next leg press workout, but you can do this in several ways.
1. More reps. 200x3x16 or more
2. More weight. 210x3x15
3. More sets. 200x4x15.

Any of those three would work, but you have to pick one. Do one more rep, one more set, or a few more pounds.

Let’s say you decided to do more weight, 210x3x15. Great! Good job! Now in you NEXT leg press workout you’re going to have to beat those numbers again either by one more rep, one more set or more weight and you keep progressing this way until you no longer can beat your numbers, which I’ll cover shortly.

When you’re consistently beating your numbers from your previous workout, your body has NO CHOICE but to change. In this case, to get stronger and more athletic looking legs.

Now if you’re lifting the same weights, reps or sets, doing the same workout as last time and you’re not beating your numbers then your body as no reason to change. Your body has no reason to get stronger more athletic looking; it has no reason to drop weight, it has no reason to be better because it’s already adapted to what you asked of it from the previous workout. Thus you stall.

But, when you’re always beating your numbers from your previous workout then each and every week your body is changing. Get leaner, stronger, more athletic looking.

Now… there is something to consider here because eventually, you will not beat your numbers. So what do you do then?


Can’t beat your numbers?

It will happen, no matter what eventually you will not be able to beat your numbers from your previous workout. When this happens, do this.

First off make sure that it wasn’t just a bad day; for example your running on 4 hours of sleep, you were sick or something of that nature because any of those can take away from your body’s ability to do better. If it was because of one of those life reasons, then simply try again next time.

Now if it wasn’t for a life reason, why you missed your numbers, then it’s time to change exercises and start the process again.

Instead of leg press, you could do a walking lunge, or Bulgarian squats, maybe even squats, or even just another machine. Doesn’t matter, pick one that you feel that is a good exercise for you and start the process over again.

From my experience after the newbie gains, this usually happens every 4-6weeks that we have to change the exercises up.

Side note: I’m not a big fan of changing the entire workout (all exercises) every workout. Some motions need to be kept in until you can’t beat your numbers, this is another way we can measure progress. Otherwise, you get into the ‘exercise or muscle confusion’ loop where you’re always doing different exercise but not getting better at any particular one, and this leads to an eventual stall of progress. Maybe you’ve experienced this too?


Starting Tomorrow

If you’re trying to make that total body transformation or enhance the way you or certain muscles look then I want you to start tracking your numbers from your workouts.

Do this in your smartphone, the notes section will work just fine, you don’t need anything fancy.

Then each workout strive to beat your numbers, and when you do, you’ll find that your body will no longer stall but instead continue to make consistent change week after week.

When that happens, you’ll understand why people get so addicted to working out.



In Health and Awesomeness,

Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.

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