Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To Break Through A Weight Loss Plateau

Here at Fitness Together our clients lose a lot of weight. Some 15 pounds, some 50 pounds, and some over 100 pounds!

Regardless of your weight loss or fitness goal it's not uncommon to hit a plateau. Even our clients, who are doing things right, will experience them from time to time.

Breaking through requires balance in your physiological (body), emotional (feelings), and psychological (mind) being. You can always break through your plateau! Refer to these 5 tips when you hit the wall.

Medical Issues

Do you have a medical issue that resists weight loss? There are times when thyroid or hormonal problems, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), can be to blame. Some medications will also prevent weight loss. These issues need to be diagnosed and treated by your doctor.

Calories Expenditure

An important question to know the answer to is are you eating the right amount of calories and burning enough off?

Everyone has their individual formula for weight loss. Seek out a weight loss professional or personal trainer with a nutrition background who can assess your current eating and exercise status. There should be a balance between your energy intake and output.

For example, you might be taking in 1400 calories a day, but only burning 900 through your basal metabolic rate and exercise. It's scenarios like this that need to be analyzed.

In my experience, those that have the least to lose have a harder time losing weight. So if you’ve already reached a lower body fat level for your age, sex and height, then you have to work extra hard, especially when it comes to food quality, to lose the last few pounds.

Try keeping a journal to effectively monitor and evaluate your calories and food intake.

Your weight and diet history

Did you recently lose a lot of weight? If you started at a specific calorie level, let's say 1400 calories, lost 10+ pounds and are still eating the same amount of calories, you'll likely hit a plateau. Depending on how much weight you're losing every month you're calories should be reviewed and/or adjusted every month or so.

A general guideline would be to subtract 10 calories from your starting calorie intake for every pound of weight loss. That's assuming you've kept up the same exercise routine too.

So if you’ve already lost 20 pounds, then you should be eating 1,800 calories instead of 2,000 calories. Take note that individual calorie requirements differ, based on one’s fitness level, exercise types, weight, age and gender.

In addition to the amount of calories consumed, the type of calories consumed matters too.Stick to a balanced plan consisting of protein, whole grains, fat, fruits, and veggies to get the most important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to improve your metabolism, increase energy level, have adequate recovery time, and function well during the day. If one of the food groups is missing, like carbohydrates, then your body's becomes inefficient and unregulated.

NOTE: If you're on a low-calorie or fad diet you're almost certain to hit a plateau. Because you cannot sustain a diet like that. These types of diets will also lead to muscle loss, slowing down of metabolism, and low energy throughout the day. It's what puts the "Yo-Yo" in diet!

Fitness Program

When I give a speech I tell a story of a guy I see at the gym. He's always on the same treadmill, in the same clothes, at the same time of day, and reading the same magazine. Everything about him, including his body, is the same!

Variety is a MUST to prevent and breakthrough plateaus.

To give you a little method behind our madness here at FT, we put clients in 1 of 4 zones, then 1 of 3 levels, then through 8 different phases. All the while changing exercise, reps, sets, rest times, etc...

That's A LOT of change!

This helps keep our clients engaged and having fun, as well as preventing any plateaus and creating muscle confusion. And this isn't just for weight training. It goes for cardio too. So walkers and joggers beware!

Stress and Emotions

How stressed are you? How much sleep do you get? Are you confused whether you're physically or emotionally tired? These are BIG reasons why you might have hit a plateau.

Rest and recovery are very important aspects to your diet and exercise program. If you’ve been exercising too much and eating right, but without enough recovery, then you will have a hard time adapting to your next training session. This would mean decline in performance and burnout.

If there is something going on in your life right now that needs to be resolved, then you should accept that things like this happen and should not pressure yourself about your weight loss. Maintaining your weight is already an accomplishment.

However, if you experience relapses, then you should think about resolving it. Sometimes adjusting your attitude or feelings toward something can be very beneficial for weight loss.

Next time you're stuck in a rut or think you've hit a plateau refer to these tips. Or call us! We're here to help. 

To your breakthrough!,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together

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