FIT THURSDAYS: Overcoming weight loss plateaus
By Elaine Delaney, Personal Trainer
Do you feel you are doing everything right, increasing your protein, reducing carbohydrates, lifting weights and plenty of cardio but somehow you have stopped noticing results and those jeans are still feeling a little snug? Don’t get discouraged. It’s a natural process, often referred to as a plateau. It can occur if your training routine is almost identical from week to week; this includes cardio and weights e.g. running the same 5km track every other day or squatting 35 kg for 8 repetitions X 3 sets at every gym session.
Why does your body plateau?
Plateaus often happen between 4-6 months of a weight loss/body building programme. It occurs , when your body adapts to your training routine and calorie intake, therefore at this stage there will not be a significant change in body composition and maintenance is the only reward.
How can you avoid/ delay the process?
Do you run several days a week and feel like you are in good shape? Then you hit the beach and suddenly you are out of breath after a brief period in the water, this experience gives you a rude awaking as to what your overall fitness levels are.
The best way to obtain a high level of overall fitness and avoid plateauing is cross training. Cross training involves several different forms of cardiovascular and endurance exercises including:
Cardio Exercises Endurance Exercises
Running Push Ups
Swimming Pull Ups
Cycling Box Jumps
Skipping Jumping Jacks
Why not try a new social activity like roller skating or salsa?
Cross training is a great way to recruit different muscle groups, prevent injury, avoid burnout and keep the element of fun when exercising.
The same principle of plateau occurs with weight lifting, your repetition maximum is consistent for the past number of weeks and you are struggling to lift or progress on to heavier weights. Reduce the load of the weights and increase the number of repetition for approximately a one week period. You will be surprised the impact it will have on the muscles and future weight lifting workouts.
So remember, if your fitness routine needs a shakeup, variety is the spice of life and the secret ingredient to optimal fitness.
As for your diet….
Larina suggests increasing your calories, or simply how much you're eating. More often than not, you've been eating less and less in an attempt to lose weight. Your body reacts by holding on even tighter to your fat stores. Why? Because once you eat so little for a while, your body thinks your in a famine. Give your body confidence again by varying your calorie intake. Bump it up anywhere between 100-600 extra calories for the next three days, then return back to how much you're currently eating. Or simply just eat an extra small meal, or a couple of extra snacks if you aren't counting calories. It sounds counter-inuitive to eat more to lose weight, but trust me, it will help! Others say don't ever go below 1200 calories a day, I say not to drop below 1300-1400. If you're actively working out to lose weight and watching what you eat, and eating well - your body needs food to heal, repair, develop and maintain muscle. If you dwindle your intake down to bare minimum, you can risk injury, burn out, wreck your metabolism, and of course - hit a plateau.
Also - if you're fixated on the scales and that number, don't be - your body is changing! That plateau may simply be your body building more muscle, and losing body fat - so you're weight stays around the same. Judge your changes by the way your clothes fit rather than the number - it's a much better indicator of progress.
Hi all, my name is Elaine Delaney co-founder of Euphoria Fitness Sydney.
I hold qualifications in health promotion, physiology and fitness. Since a young age, sports and fitness have been my passion and now I want to utilise this knowledge and experience to help other achieve their health and fitness goals.
My philosophy is life is small changes in your lifestyle can have a massive impact on your health. The key to achieving optimal health is good nutrition and exercise. In modern day society your fitness regime requires flexibility and commitment.
Euphoria Fitness provides specialised one to one or group personal training, for more information on the service provided simply use the contact details below.
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