If you've ever aspired to achieve anything worthwhile in life, you've probably learned that success does not occur in a straight line, point A to point B. But you could straighten the line out as much as possible if you can learn how to and understand the dynamics of overcoming plateaus. If nothing more, you will prevent yourself from backsliding.
The same holds true with fitness. When you are trying to lose weight, build and sculpt muscle, drop body fat, and improve strength, success doesn't occur in a straight line. What usually happens is spurts of progress and relative improvement met head on by "stagnation", also known as a "plateau", that must be overcome.
What the plateau effect is saying to you is that your body has adapted to the stimuli of the program you are on. It will not change if you don't change your approach.
How do you change your approach to overcome the plateau and prevent stagnation in order to progress? You shock it. You shock your body.
In "Natural Fitness for the 21st Century", (Copyright 2002-2003) I allocate a good portion of the book to explaining ways to naturally change your body and overcome plateaus by using shock method formulas that keep your body progressing.
By doing something different, you keep your body's biological foundation and equilibrium guessing, and this leads to transformation of the muscles and body in general.
This goes against how most people naturally train. Most people get into a routine and keep doing the same thing over and over, which is exactly why they can only progress so far and never get to "Point B".
Understand, success is never a straight line, but you can keep it as straight as possible and at least prevent backsliding by using this approach. A plateau is where most people think they failed and many give up. But this is only because they are viewing it as more than it is, which is a point to shock the body into progress and change.
The simplest way to shock the body? Try something new. The best way? Make it challenging. This requires creativity when it comes to your training. You must change up time, technique, weight, reps, and sets along with intensity. Nutrition changes also help.
So before you feel like giving up and you can't progress anymore, maybe ask yourself, "Is this really as far as I can go? Or is this just a point where I have to change up my approach to continue to advance and progress?"
The same thing works with life.