Flex Friday: Overcoming My Workout Plateau

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During the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling kinda EH about my workouts. I want them to be great! I want to leave the gym sweating and crying from joy that the intense workout is finally over. I want the feeling of utter satisfaction when I’m done. It’s an intensity that many athletes can relate to: how far can I push my body (safely)? For a guy who’s worked out for 9.5 years, it’s been a challenge to overcome plateaus. I’ve tried lots of things. I’ve even tried different sports and types of exercise. Ultimately, weight-lifting suits me best. I get my alone time, I set my own pace, and I really enjoy it. Others may enjoy CrossFit, Zumba, running, or yoga; I enjoy weight-training.

So, to change things up, I’m going to switch from a 3-day muscle split to a 5-day muscle split. I’m doing this because it will allow me to work only 2 muscle groups a day and really focus on those two (except for Day 1. see below). I used to be afraid to do a 5-day muscle split schedule because I was afraid that I would lose mass. But, I know that with added focus (and exercise sets) during each training day, I won’t have that problem.

Here is what my OLD schedule looked like

Day 1–biceps/triceps/core
Day 2–chest/back
Day 3–legs/shoulders
Day 4–rest

Rinse. Dry. Repeat.

Here is what my NEW schedule looks like

Day 1–biceps/triceps/calves*
Day 2–shoulders/core
Day 3–legs (weights)/stretch
Day 4–chest/calves
Day 5–back/core
Day 6–legs (stationary bike)/stretch
Day 7–REST

*Calves on Day 1 will be in between sets as my “rest”

I’ve added more legs because I have more strength returning by adding the stationary bike. Even though it’s been almost 5 years since my knee injury/surgery, I still am limited. I’m not disheartened. I am going to keep pushing through! I still have the goal of eventually competing on stage at a Men’s Physique competition one day, but I’m not in a rush. I want to feel confident with what I bring on stage. And for those unfamiliar with the NPC Men’s Physique competitions, check out BodyBuilding.com’s feature on the top competition at Olympia in Las Vegas this weekend. These guys’ physiques are inspiring. It’s not just a physical thing. I fully admire and connect with the focus and determination they must have. It fuels me to set the bar higher and push through it.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop!

Thomas Ngo, RD, CPT
Registered Dietitian
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Facebook–The More You Ngo


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