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Breaking Through Fitness Plateaus: What to Do When Your Body Stops Changing

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This advice and guidance is geared towards women who are no longer in the beginning stage, are well into their fitness journey, and have specific goals of shaping their bodies.

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By Cheryl Coppa

Life is ever-changing. It only makes sense that your fitness training should be as well. Looking back from the beginning of Ola Ka Ola - fitness, and support have always been a constant, regardless of life’s circumstances, for myself and so many of our members. Even though fitness was a constant, it was, and is, ever-changing. We, as individuals, are always changing, our circumstances are always changing, and so are your health and your strength!  

When it comes to fitness in particular, you can’t do the same thing day in and day out, and expect to see a change. Now, let me be a little clearer- this is all based on your individual goal! If your goal is just to keep moving, be above average, and be able to live independently, then your training protocol will be pretty simple and it won't have drastic changes. Only the changes your trainer delivers, keep you enjoying your training and keeping it fresh and up to date with what's hot and what's not. If you are a brand new beginner and your goals line up with the goals I mentioned above- check out this BLOG for the proper protocols to make this happen. 

If you have a very particular goal of looking a certain way, maybe you are looking to lose a certain amount of weight, then your training lineup will have to change as your body’s abilities and strength have changed.

This does not always mean going heavier, it does for most of the time. But eventually, you will max out on what weight you use - especially since we are working out at home (at least we are here at Ola Ka Ola). You can only increase your weight so much. For example, you are not going to be doing bicep curls with 40lb dumbbells. 

Which Weights Are You Currently Using?

The first thing to look at would be what weights you are using. Are you still using the 5lbs and 8lbs dumbbells you started with? Then for sure, you need to up your weight. Think about the weight you lift and push in your life. Kids, grandkids, pets, moving furniture, lifting groceries, big bags of animal food, lifting and carrying cases of water. Your weights should eventually be heavier than all that! 

“Think about the weight you lift and push in your life. Kids, grandkids, pets, moving furniture, lifting groceries, big bags of animal food, lifting and carrying cases of water. Your weights should eventually be heavier than all that”

You can start with no weights, then get small weights, and continue to build as your form is perfected and your strength improves. 

Long-term goal - you should have a variety of weights ranging from 5lbs to 25lbs. As your body gets stronger, you should have more variety in your weights. Think about the weights you use for your arms and legs. Look at the difference between your legs and your arms. Your legs are SO much bigger than your arms, so as you get stronger, your leg weights should be heavier than what weights you are using for your arms. Especially if you have body-shaping goals. 

Avoid Becoming Too Comfortable and Repeating the Same Program

Maybe you are following a program from start to finish. That's great, then what? Repeat that same program and repeat it again and again? You certainly can, but then eventually you will plateau because your body has adapted to do the same work, so you will no longer see and feel the same changes you did before. 

There is nothing wrong with following a program. Programs are great and I create and recommend programs all the time. They have you at a starting point and bring you to a measurable endpoint. We just have to be careful not to get too comfortable and keep repeating the same program. I can speak firsthand. When I first started my own fitness journey back when programs were sold on DVDs, I would do the same routines over and over again. Skip the ones I didn't like and just do the ones I liked and got comfortable with. Two major mistakes there, I got comfortable and the program was not designed for what my body needed. It was just a lack of knowledge on my part. Without going too deep, it's important to have programming that is FOR the female body. Especially if you are postpartum (by 8 weeks or 20 years ) even more so if you are a woman over 40! 

Here’s How to Do It

As previously mentioned, you will cap off eventually how heavy you go, so how do you increase/progress from there? There are so many ways to keep your body challenged, we do it every day/week! Just switching up the tempo of your exercises increases the intensity. Things such as adding pulses or holds or different combinations. This really fires things up and I know our community can attest to this no problem.  

I’m going to give you an example of a generic goal with a basic plan. Now the thing here is, you can’t just Google a workout or YouTube a workout to fit this category and expect to achieve your result. If you are not working with a personal trainer 1:1 or a trainer guiding you with small group training. A trainer who oversees exactly what workouts you are doing and what weights you are using, and increases the intensity of your workouts by variety or timing, you really have no idea what you are grasping at. It’s all random. This could be just great if you don't have a specific goal! But, if you have a specific goal to hit, you need a specific plan and guide and accountability helps too! 

“If you have a specific goal to hit, you need a specific plan and guide. You can’t just Google or YouTube a workout and expect to achieve your result.”

For Example, if you tell me you want to lose 10 lbs and you want to be able to see more definition, I would ask you to do this:

1 - Lower body workout

1- Upper body 

2- Full Body 

1- HIIT 

AND to eat 100 grams of protein a day. 

Even though you have these focused categories, these actual sessions will always be different and keep you challenged FOREVER! Forever sounds scary, but seriously, you want to lose 10lbs! Do you want to lose it and gain it back? Or do you want to keep it off? This is why your training and fitness are constant. This is why your plan is ever-changing. You need a plan that changes with you. This is why people hire personal trainers. 

Here at Ola Ka Ola, we have our very unique solution:
 A place where you have this personal guidance. Whether you choose to train LIVE with your trainer and other women or you are following on-demand on your own time.
With the constant variety, you will never get bored and you will continue to be challenged based on the level and type of classes you take.
And to keep this as a constant in your life, we help you find the JOY, FUN, and FRIENDSHIP in the process.
Your fitness goals no longer become a dreaded chore, but your constant power and feel-good session.


If you are already a member and your current plan needs to be re-evaluated, reach out to me, and let's switch things up for you. 

If you are not a member and have a specific goal, you have found your solution! Once you are a member we will chat goals and plans! 

About Cheryl Coppa

✔️ A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Core and Pelvic Floor retraining)
✔️ A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40
✔️ Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial
✔️ Pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist
✔️Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola
✔️ 41 years young, wife & mother of 3


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