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The Slump

The Slump


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To every woman out there who has been through this before, let this be a way of bringing all of our concerns together. You get halfway to your goal for competition prep and before your are stalled!! 8 weeks out and nowhere to go, it happens to the best of us.

First, I must say that I can delve out the advice just as well as I am happy to be the one receiving it!

So, any thoughts on your methods of dealing with plateaus, feel free to let me know. I think a fair share of us ladies have been in my current situation. You are eating well, training seriously, and nothing is budging!

You know you're not quite to an over trained state, but you feel lethargic and low on fuel. You add in the right foods for energy and the scale (hopefully, temporarily) goes up. Your logical part in your brain knows that more muscle equals more weight, but too many of us have been conditioned that a number can make or break your resolve.

Your pants get tighter from building muscle, but society says that's not okay. Your shirts fit snugger because those delts are coming in. Next thing you know, you are walking around feeling like your body just isn't sitting right.

Isn't it a shame these standards have been ingrained into us?

I should be proud of all this muscle gain, but I find at this time in the process I tend to feel like a lumbering fool, clumsy with new lean mass.

I will also add I have had arthritis and fibromyalgia most of my life so the intense parts of my muscle development can be downright painful. Usually though, I find this great burst of energy when I break through a strength plateau.

More times than not, sleep gets better and days become more productive. However, it can be terrible when you are training during the dull wicked winter months! I have decided once again to not let the fatigue win. Time for a little tweaking!

I myself have been making some serious moves this week to get my tush out of this mess!! I can feel the anxiety and depression trying to weasel their way into my drive and focus. I don't want any part of this negativity and nor should any of you ladies!!

So, to avoid over training and breaking down my structured plan, I will be making some adjustments!

As of next week, its back to crack of dawn cardio a few days in the week. It's time to shock the body!

Now, when I say this, I don't mean a grueling hour at a shot. Just do 20-30 minutes before your breakfast. I will be doing this in hopes my body gets very confused. I also pray it gets my mindset back on track as well.

Endorphins are better served with breakfast :)

I teach a very intense HIIT class with weights 5 days a week. I think my body has adjusted to interval training as it has any other in the past. This just goes to show you have to keeping changing your timing and routines.

The activity levels of women like us are so different than that of the general public. I have my dedicated people in my classes that have dropped 15lbs over the last 2 months which is wonderful, but how do you know when YOU need a change? We are measured on such a different scale, pay no attention to the pun. The people I train have never had their butts kicked like this, but I have. You have too!

Every time we succeed in climbing the mountain, the next one has a steeper accent. We may find what works only in time to have our bodies get accustomed to the method.

So, as I struggle with my own gains and losses, I thought it pertinent to reach out to all of you. I can't be alone in this battle.

As people, we don't deal well with change, at least on a basic metabolic level. Our minds and bodies crave routine. I think its time we all shook it up. Anyone in my position I urge you to add in a little something or change your timing. Listen to the body, it's rarely wrong!


Author: Jen Fleck

Member Comments

Great article Jen! You are definitely not alone. I actually don't have much problem with plateaus these days, but I remember what they are like, and they STINK!

Because of my diet, I rarely feel sluggish any more. The fatigue is gone. As you know, with Fibro, fatigue and depression are as bad as the pain itself, so having that part relieved is a blessing. I also lift a little differently than most. I train to failure every day, every set. I've heard the scary "no's" to training to failure, but it's honestly the best way I've found to build muscle, which in turn, helps my Osteoarthritis and Fibro. You can't say "no" to results, right?!?!?

Now that I'm @ 8 weeks out from the Emerald Cup, I'm actually excited to add my cardio back in! As you said, the endorphins are awesome! They help with pain, boredom, and stress, therefore will help plateaus also. I don't bow to the 45 mins morning and night like most competitors. I use to, but exhaustion and pain were too much. I now do 20 mins HIIT, changing up the intervals here and there.

These are just some of the aspects of MY training. Different things work for different people, but the more ideas you have to try, the better chance you will find something that works for you! :):):)

I too struggle with plateaus. I lost 1/2 an inch off my waist after doing cardio for 20 minutes before breakfast and 20 minutes after work for the month of January. Then I reached the plateau so I tried to switch it up and incorporate HIIT into my morning routine for February. That did not workout as well as I had wanted. I gained the half inch back. So I am back at the 20 minute cardio only in the morning with the intent to increase it to 45 minutes over a two month period and adding in the HIIT a couple of times a week. I'm not preparing for a contest, I am creating my lifestyle, if that makes any sense.

I love this piece by Jen! aford congrats on building a healthy lifestyle that works for you! While much of this is science, some is just figuring out how to apply the rules to YOUR body.

Jen, thank you so much for continuing to share your ups and downs with all of us. I'm presently 3 weeks out from my first competition of the year and have really enjoyed reading your articles.


Thanks so much Kristin for your comments! I will continue to write if people continue to read. It is as much an outlet for my issues as it is for my inspiration.
Never Give Up!

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