The infamous "plateau" plagues even the most dedicated athletes: you're training and watching your diet, yet the numbers on the scale, stopwatch, or tape measure refuse to budge. "A plateau is not necessarily bad," says Carol Ewing Garber, exercise physiologist and professor of movement sciences and education at Columbia University. "With increasing fitness you will see smaller and smaller gains—especially if you are very fit."
But most guys, whether they're in good shape or still have some work to do, expect to reap the rewards of hard work. Which means that a plateau, in addition to hitting pause on your results, can also do a number on your motivation. The good news is that you don't have to simply ride one out. Whether your plateau relates to weight loss, building muscle mass or improving your athletic performance, there are several things you can do to get your body back on track.