Now that you have conducted your mini assessment, what was the result? If you discovered that you were fully committed to all areas mentioned in the previous article and still are not seeing results, then you have certainly plateaued. Undoubtedly, this can be a highly frustrating and discouraging time, but do not fret. Implementing some, or all of the following changes will help you power through your plateau.
- Adjust your caloric intake. As your weight decreases, so does your caloric requirement. If you are taking in the same amount of calories as you were when you initially began your quest to drop the pounds, then chances are it is time to reduce your calories. Reevaluate your caloric requirements and adjust accordingly.
- Up your fitness game. The body is an adapting machine and it learns quickly. Incorporate some new exercises into your routine. Challenge your body by performing moves you have not done before. You may also want to consider increasing your resistance when strength training. Strive to increase your resistance by 2-5 pounds every other week. Also, consider switching up your cardio routine. Incorporate a healthy mix of steady-state cardio (continuous effort at the same level of energy output) and HIIT cardio (high/low intensity
intervals such as sprinting 30 seconds, followed by walking 60 seconds for 5-6 intervals).
- Regularly track your progress. Maintain a nutrition and workout log. Having a visual aid for reference better helps you identify when it is time to switch up your program. Take front, back, and side photographs of yourself every two weeks.
Incorporate these changes and watch the magic happens. Do not get discouraged. You can do this! Stay focused, trust the process, and remain consistent. Recommit to your fitness goals and newly commit to the changes necessary to power through your plateau, and watch the magic happen!
A few months have passed and you’ve settled into your exercise routine. You are encouraged by the progress you have made and feel great. Then, it happens – you hit a wall. You’re doing everything right and still, nothing seems to be happening.
It is called a plateau. Even the most experienced athletes have experienced it. For many people seeking to lose weight and reach their ideal goal, this event marks a pivotal moment. It marks the moment when you decide to both dig in your heels and keep moving forward or, you allow the temporary frustration of no progress to derail your efforts, completely. There is hope; you can break through that wall. In this two-part article, you will be able to identify your plateau type (there are two types). Next week, we will look at what you can do to power through your specific plateau.
When your body becomes unresponsive to your nutrition and fitness program, you’ve hit a weight loss (or body) plateau. Your body is a true work of art and has an incredible ability to adapt, relatively quickly, to change – for a time.
If you are pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion and muscle fatigue each training session but failing to gain the strength or increased size (if that is your goal) you desire, this would indicate a training plateau.
Take the next week to track your meals, your exercise, and your sleeping patterns. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I been as consistent with my meals as I could have been?
- Am I exercising with maximum effort or have I become a little lax now that I have seen some progress?
- Am I allowing myself to get sufficient rest for my recovery?
If you are doing all of these things correctly, and consistently, odds are you have plateaued. Don’t quit! Remain focused and learn how to power through the plateau in next week’s post.
You’ve been consistent throughout your exercise routine and have the progress to prove it. Nutrition, exercise, and rest have all served you well. Then, something happens that requires you to take time away from your routine. Should you be worried that you missed a week? Not at all. However, if your week turned into one month or more, you should be aware that your performance level will be lowered.
Most people believe they can return to their regularly scheduled workouts as if they never missed a day. This is not the case. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve fallen out of your routine, you definitely want to modify your activity to make it less rigorous when you pick up again. Don’t expect to walk into the free weight area with the same strength you had over a month ago.
While this may be a little discouraging, there is good news. The body is an amazing vessel. While it will take you some time to return to the level of fitness you achieved before, you have the advantage of muscle memory. That means the body remembers all those hours spent performing movements to build strength and endurance. It gives you an advantage because it allows you to return to where you were fairly quickly (certainly more quickly than if you have never done anything at all).
Returning to your original Beast Mode requires you start slowly. Opt for a lighter load the first two weeks, choosing resistance that challenges your current level. Don’t get caught up in how much weight you were able to move before. Instead, view these first two weeks as a re introduction. How quickly you respond is unique to you. The key is to start slowly, get over the two-week hurdle, and remain consistent; you’ll be back to your former fitness level before you know it.
It seems every other ad on television offers some miracle diet for rapid weight loss. While these methods may yield results, they only work if one remains on the specific meal plan. Unfortunately, studies show that most people who subscribe to extreme dieting for weight loss regain the weight lost and more.
One of the reasons diets fail is due to our personal relationship with food. Emotional eating is a real problem for many and can lead to food addiction and obesity. Another reason diets are unsuccessful is because many who diet consider it an unpleasant experience. Here are a few tips to help you break free of dieting’s vicious cycle:
- Perception is everything. Nutrition is a lifestyle not a life fad. Self-assess your perception of nutrition and dieting. Permanent weight loss is not achieved and sustained through temporary measures. You must be committed to the changes you are making and that requires consistency throughout.
- Food is fuel. Drastically restricting your calories is like attempting to drive cross-country on fumes. Understand that your body requires sufficient energy to function properly. Even at rest, your body requires calories for basic tasks (nervous system, brain function, etc.). Restricting too many calories lowers your metabolism and can lead to other issues like fatigue. Make sure you are consuming sufficient calories to support your efforts.
- Commit to consistency. Rome was not built in a day and you did not pack on added pounds in a day either. Commit to your new way of eating, remain consistent, and most importantly, do not allow setbacks to derail your entire effort. If you consume something at breakfast that you should not have, do not let that be your excuse to order a pizza for lunch. Pick up where you left off and keep going.
Fitness is a multibillion dollar industry and the variety of fitness options available are plentiful. While many women are exceedingly comfortable in the gym, a significant number of women still avoid strength training. One reason for this aversion is the fear of becoming “bulky”. While there are some women who build significant bulk, they are not your average fitness enthusiast. They have supplemented, dieted, and trained for many years to achieve that degree of fitness. If you are one of those women buying in to this myth, you are doing yourself a disservice. Strength training is your friend.
Multiple studies show that strength training is highly effective in the battle of the bulge. Incorporating a strength training regimen elevates your metabolism for periods longer than cardio. Because muscle is denser (requires less room) than fat, you will actually become smaller. In addition to the physical benefits, there are also health-related benefits to support why strength training should be an essential part of your regimen. Here are just a few of those reasons.
- Strengthen your bones. Bone density loss is a condition of aging. Strength training is an excellent way to improve bone density and it can also help to prevent osteoporosis.
- Maintain lean muscle mass. Strength training helps you maintain muscle mass and strength, both of which we lose as we age.
- Improve heart health. Did you know strength training is also good for your heart? Committing to a regular routine can reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure.
Implementing a strength training routine two days per week into your weekly activities can yield great results. Do not be intimidated by weight training. If you try it and find you do not like handling weights, try resistance bands or even body weight routines. Something is better than nothing.