If you’ve ever traveled down the path of any fitness or weightloss journey, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded PLATEAU. You’re rocking along, dropping pounds, gaining muscles, busting it out, and BAM! Suddenly, you’re going nowhere. And it’s frustrating! What you were doing was working, and now it’s not?!?!?
1. Adaptation – Our bodies are these amazing survival machines that adapt to the caloric intake and output over time. If you’ve been doing the same workouts, eating the same meals for a while now, there’s a good chance that your metabolism has adapted to become the most efficient for your daily routine. That’s great if we are cavemen trying to chase mammoths, not so much for moms chasing toddlers, lawyers chasing deadlines, or students chasing good grades (or beer).
2. Complacency – When we begin a workout or diet program, we are often super vigilant about getting the work in, counting calories, tracking the macros, etc. But as time passes, we get complacent and slack off a bit in the intensity department. This isn’t a bad thing in itself since it means our new healthy lifestyle is becoming our ‘normal’ lifestyle, But it can mean that little slips can make their way in unnoticed. Suddenly, we’re putting cream in our coffee again, using butter to cook our eggs instead of coconut oil, allowing ourself just one cookie…everyday… We get busy and miss a workout here or there…every week…
3. Body Composition – If you’ve got 60 pounds to lose and don’t workout or eat healthy at all, simple changes are going to make a HUGE impact immediately. The more you have to lose, and the less your body is used to a health lifestyle, the quicker you will have results from your health and fitness program. But if you’ve only got 10-20 left to lose and have been doing the fitness thing for a while, it’s going to take longer. That’s just how it works. Vanity weight takes longer. Let me say that again. Vanity weight takes LONGER. You’re body is already fairly healthy and will have to be convinced to let go of those last few pounds.
DON’T GIVE UP. You can break your plateau. Here’s some tips to get you over that hump…
1. Distract yourself with another goal, and just keep going. Put the scale away for a few weeks. Find a goal that doesn’t involve pounds, inches, etc. Do a squat challenge. Train for a race. Something, anything, to get your mind off of the numbers. And keep going. Give it 3-4 weeks and see if you’re body will jump back into gear. A lot of times it will if you just quick freaking out about it.
2. Get vigilant again. Track your intake, food, water, everything. You may be surprised that you’ve let a few extra calories slip in, or aren’t eating the protein that you should be. Make sure you haven’t gotten slack on your diet or are cutting workouts short unnecessarily.
3. UP your calories! You heard me. Make sure to do #2 first. If you haven’t been slipping and adding extra in your intake, then do it purposefully. Make sure it’s some good extras, like lean protein or healthy fat. For example, if you’re intake is normally around 1500, eat 1900 to 2200 for 2 or 3 days. Then drop back down to your normal 1500. This may wake up your metabolism in case it’s gotten into starvation mode and started to shut down. Also, make sure you’re not falling below 1200 calories per day as a woman or 1500 for men. That WILL cause you to enter starvation mode.
4. Change things up! Try a new workout program. Incorporate in some cross-training. Your muscles have adapted to what you’ve been doing so throw something new at them. If you’re not really sure what you want to do, or don’t want to commit to a totally new program, get a Team Beachbody membership and try the Beachbody On Demand streaming workouts. You get a 30 day free trial (no hassle to cancel on day 29), and it’s only $2.99/week after that if you like it. There are DOZENS of new workout programs on there to play with and wake up your body.
5. Get your hormones checked. If all else fails, check your hormones. Your thyroid, insulin, etc. may be going a bit haywire. That’s a last resort, of course.
I’ve had some hormone imbalance issues holding me back from weightloss before. Nothing big enough to flag on a test or require medication, luckily, but big enough that I felt it and dealt with the symptoms regularly. I was able to level out and fix by imbalance issues by making sure I got all my vitamins, minerals, and superfoods. I was taking gobs of vitamin pills until I finally gave into Shakeology. I also added weightlifting into my routine with the 21 Day Fix. My results from the combined complete nutrition and shaking up my fitness routine were mind-blowing. So, if you’ve hit a wall on your fitness goals, run through these tips to see if you can’t break that.