The One Mistake That's Keeping You on the Fat-Loss Plateau by Shin Ohtake
There are many different approaches to losing weight. One of the most common methods people gravitate toward first is steady-paced cardio and weightlifting. While this is better than no plan at all, it's certainly not the best strategy
Hitting The Fat Loss Plateau
I once had a client who, prior to coming to me, was working out for 1 1/2 hours in the morning followed by 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon after work -- just to maintain her weight and physique. You would think that a routine like this would have to yield incredible results, but it didn't. Even with her hard work, dedication, and good diet, she was just barely maintaining what she had worked so hard to achieve. She wanted to lose even more weight and it was becoming apparent that this regimen wasn't going to get her there. Where did she go wrong?
Part of the problem was that her body had completely adapted to her program (60 minutes of cardio followed by 30 minutes of weight training) and she was having to workout longer just to maintain her current fitness level. Additionally, she was missing the one key element that's critical to staying off the fat loss plateau and getting on the fitness fast-track...intensity.
The Key To Burning Fat Faster
The most efficient way to lose weight is to increase your metabolism by increasing the intensity of your workouts. This one key, yet often overlooked, element can mean the difference between maximum fat loss with shorter workouts, as opposed to mediocre results that are much too time consuming to maintain.
Your body needs to be stimulated enough during workouts to go into an energy deficit. This essentially causes your body to increase its energy output in order to make up for the energy deficit. The result? You've increased metabolism efficiently and fast.
Did you know that you can increase your metabolism for up to 48 hours after an intense exercise session? This is know as the "EPOC" effect and it's dependent on your level of intensity. So how can you crank up your workouts and turn on this post-workout calorie burner?
Intensity is simple to incorporate into your workouts, but exactly how to do it remains a mystery amongst most gym goers. Now, before you tell me that you're already working out hard, sweating heavily, and are out of breath, let me tell you why you're workouts may not be making the cut...
First, most people put much of their time and effort in doing cardio because they still correlate weight loss with long, moderate paced cardio. If you're doing cardio that lasts between 30 to 60 minutes (or more), you're intensity isn't not high enough. Even though you might feel like your working hard, you're ability to keep that pace for that long indicates that your intensity is, well, not intense.
Let me give you an example. If I asked you to run all out, how long can you go for? Most people cannot maintain a 100% work effort much longer than 15 - 20 seconds. Try repeating this same effort 10 times. Now that's a high intensity workout! But that's just the cardio part of high intensity training. (The second mistake many people seem to make is just "going through the motions" when weight lifting. Are you lifting lighter at higher reps, reading a magazine article or two between sets, or chatting with your friends? In order to get the most out of lifting, you've got to up the ante and start lifting at a heart-pumping pace.
You can achieve a higher intensity with weightlifting by incorporating full body, functional exercises. Of course, the more weight you lift with more speed, the higher your intensity will be and the more "fit" you will become.
The Bottom Line
Fitness comes down to intensity rather than time. If you're having to spend countless hours in the gym just to maintain your level of fitness, it's time you increased your intensity. Apply these principles to both your cardio and weight training routines and you've got a surefire solution to break through any fitness plateau.
Shin Ohtake is the author of the world-famous fitness program, MAX Workouts. To learn more about how you can get ultra lean and toned with shorter workouts, visit http://www.MaxWorkouts.com