|How to Bust Through the Weight Loss Plateau|
by Kim Roach
Has it happened to you? You begin to train hard and youíre
watching your diet like a hawk. You start seeing some
incredible improvements and then about 4 - 6 weeks into
the program it seems like your training program has gone
stale. The scale stops moving, the muscle stops growing,
and youíre starting to look at those desserts with a
Stop! Refocus yourself. You have most likely hit a training
plateau. Once you hit a plateua, it becomes much harder to lose
weight or gain additional muscle, depending upon your current
In the journey of fitness, plateaus happen to everyone. Your body
is designed to adapt to any training or nutritional program. This
adaptation response requires you to constantly make changes in
your training program.
If you want to continually make progress, you have to keep the
Fortunately, there are unlimited ways that you can break through
a plateau. Here are some tips to get your body moving again.
Tighten Up Your Diet
Keep in mind that a diet does not mean restricting your calories
to dangerously low levels. The key to a successful nutrition
program is to eat fewer processed foods and center your diet
around whole foods that are in their raw, natural state. To reach
a new level of fitness, you may just need to clean up your diet.
Most people do well on a diet composed of 50-55% carbohydrates,
30% protein, and 15-20% fat. However, a drop in carbohydrates
with a corresponding increase in protein can often help break
through a plateau. Some people are more sensitive to
carbohydrates, making it beneficial to limit this particular
macronutrient. Increasing your protein intake will also have
Increase Your Meal Frequency
Having 5 small meals a day can immediately rev up your
metabolism. Every time you consume calories, you give your
metabolism a boost. Women should aim for 5 small meals per day
while men should aim for six. Eating 5-6 smaller meals per day
will help you reach new fitness levels.
These frequent meals will also control your cravings and prevent
Cycle your calories
When you put your body through extreme calorie deficits, your
body will automatically adjust and begin to conserve energy
(also known as calories). Prolonged calorie deficits cause your
body's metabolism to plummet and go into starvation mode. In
starvation mode, your body tries to hold onto every calorie
possible in order to conserve energy.
Fortunately, using a method called calorie cycling, you can trick
your body into keeping a high metabolic rate while you're dieting
for fat loss.
Calorie cycling allows you to eat one to three days of higher
calories and higher carbs followed by three days of lower
calories and lower carbs. On these low calorie/low carb days, you
lose body fat rapidly. However, before your body can adapt to
these changes and go into starvation mode, you raise the
calories back up so that you don't hit a weight loss plateau. By
increasing your calories, you also increase your metabolism and
prepare your body to start burning fat again.
When youíre working towards fat loss, cardio should be one of the
cornerstones of your training. For optimal results, each session
should be a minimum of 30 minutes. However, if you find yourself
hitting a plateau, increase this amount incrementally by five to
ten minutes at a time. It is best not to go beyond 60 minutes in
a single workout.
By increasing your cardio time in intervals, you can bust through
a fitness plateau and find which session yields the best results.
If you are already performing cardio workouts that last 45-60
minutes and are still looking for ways to increase your results,
it's probably time to increase your frequency. You should always
start with at least three days per week of aerobic exercise. If
you find that your routine has hit a plateau or you want to
increase your rate of fat loss, begin to add one additional
workout per week until you reach six or seven cardio workouts per
You can also use a training technique known as double cardio.
Performing cardio twice a day can be used for short periods of
time to break through a plateau and get extremely lean. These
two-a-day workouts will provide you with an incredible boost to
the metabolism and enormous calorie burn. However, keep in mind
that this is not a long-term plan. It is only used to bust
through a plateau or reach a new peak in your fitness level.
To reach a new level of fitness, you may just need to push
yourself a little harder. Increase the intensity of your workout
and you will immediately find yourself burning more calories in
the same amount of time.
If your heart rate is 120 push it up to 130. If youíve been doing
30 minutes of walking on the treadmill, why not start some
jogging. If youíve been doing 30 minutes on the elliptical, why
not try some high intensity interval training to crank up your
High intensity cardio allows you to push yourself for short
bursts and then rest for a short period of time. The intervals
can last from 30 seconds to two minutes. These type of interval
workouts allow you to burn an enormous amount of calories in a
relatively short period of time. Interval training also produces
a greater post-exercise effect, burning calories even after the
workout is finished.
The possibilities are endless.
Donít let your Body Go Stale
If you have been doing the same form of cardio 5 days a week for
an entire month, you will likely hit a plateau. Your body will
quickly adjust to any training routine you throw at it. Once
this occurs, you will stop burning as many calories during that
particular activity and weight loss will slow down or possibly
even come to a screeching halt.
Fortunately, there are simple solutions to this problem. The key
is to add some variety to your workout routines. Try some
kickboxing, jump-roping, circuit training, or even swimming. If
you're looking to enjoy the outdoors, running, biking, and even
roller-blading are all great choices.
In fact, why not sign up for a boot camp class at your local gym.
This is one of the latest fitness trends that is becoming
extremely popular and can add lots of variety and excitement to
your workout routine.
If your weight training is going kind of stale, why not
incorporate some kettlebell training or some heavy bag work. You
can also change the exercises you do for each body part, use
different set/rep schemes, change the tempo, use shorter rest
intervals, or even change up your grip or stance width. Even
subtle changes can make a difference and activate new muscles.
More is Not Always Better
Keep in mind that there comes a point when you could be
overtraining. If youíve been doing high intensity cardio 6 days
per week and weight training for 4 days per week, you could
easily go into burnout mode.
Remember, muscles grow while they are at rest. You should be
taking at least one day off each week. When you find yourself
completely flushed, you may want to take off for a complete week.
This rest period will allow you to come back twice as strong and
make even further gains.
Always keep the body guessing. By adding variety to your workout
routines, you will begin to strengthen many more muscles and are
much less likely to develop weak points.
Track Your Progress
Throughout your training, it is crucial to track all of your
progress. Keep a weekly journal of your total body weight, body
fat percentage, and lean body mass. Otherwise, you will never
know what works.
To be successful in all of your goals, you must know where you
are, where you want to be, and how to get there. Along the way,
you are sure to run into plateuas and possibly even a few
problems. However, if you are tracking your progress, you'll
always know how your body is responding to your training. Any
time you find yourself off course, you can simply adjust your
approach and revise your plan.
Everyone is different, find out what works for you.
About the Author:
Kim Roach is the fitness reporter at http://www.healthyeveryday.com ,
where you can find the latest
fitness news , articles, and information.
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