Clients often reach training plateaus after initially experiencing periods of success by strictly adhering to their program guidelines. For example, someone trying to shed body fat may find they are no longer losing weight at the same rate they did when they first began following their diet and exercise program diligently. Similarly, a person trying to overcome chronic back pain may be experiencing stagnation in the alleviation of their symptoms even though they are performing their corrective exercise homework on a regular basis.
The key to overcoming these inevitable plateaus is not to encourage your clients to work even harder on their current program, but rather to introduce other program variables that might seem, at first, unrelated to helping them reach their goal. For example, people who have reached a fat loss plateau usually think they need to be even stricter with their diet and exercise regime. However, this can lead to overtraining, starvation, and burnout causing even longer plateau periods. An alternative strategy would be for trainers to help clients become aware of those non-exercise related factors that might be contributing to the client’s weight loss plateau like lack of sleep and/or sufficient recovery. Similarly, clients experiencing pain relief plateaus should be guided by their corrective exercise specialists to other program variables such as stress relief techniques, sleeping/sitting postures, nutrition and/or life coaching. Helping your client see the benefit in committing time and energy to the non-exercise related aspects of their program can help them bust through training plateaus and soar to new heights.