Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau

A how to guide

Understanding your body better will help you to understand your weight loss plateau for what it really is. Better still, it will teach you how to avoid it. Here are four common factors that could cause a weight loss plateau effect, and how to avoid or break through them.


NOT VARYING YOUR ROUTINE

The human body is highly adaptive. It will adapt to changes in weather, diet, body mechanics and even your workout routine. Sticking to the same workout routine gives your muscles, nervous system and body the chance to adapt and get comfortable. Those bodyweight moves at 3 sets of 10 you’ve been doing for the last 3 months have become natural to your body, hence you won’t experience the same results as before. Simply put your workouts just won’t be as challenging anymore. Period. Varying your workouts will deny the body of this learning opportunity and chance to ‘’get comfy’’ allowing you to prevent that nasty plateau.

NUTRITION SOUQ TOP TIP:
Cycle your workouts every three weeks. Use a varied combination of resistance training, cardio and plyometrics. This will keep your body guessing as you steadily progress towards your goal.


POOR DIET

A weight loss plateau or weight gain can occur when you are eating more calories than your body is burning. Weight loss can and will only occur if the body is put into calorie deficit, meaning you consume less calories than you burn. Eating the right food in the correct portions at the right time helps to regulate blood sugar, stave of hunger, keep the metabolism high and keep the weight loss train rolling. Eating 5 smaller portion meals a day (combined with exercise) with a lower carb content and higher protein and healthy fat content has been proven to stave off hunger and keep the weight loss plateau at bay

Another common mistake is neglecting water intake in your diet. The body requires water to maintain a good metabolism and keep your body in an environment primed for fat burning.

NUTRITION SOUQ TOP TIP:
Stick to a healthy diet that gives you just the right calorie count for your bodyweight, height, age and sex. Combine this with 2-3L of water per day and a regular exercise regime.


STRESS

Stress has many effects on the human body. It can cloud your judgment, offset your biological cycles, and mess up your weight loss goals. Stress hormones will affect how you eat. They trigger the release of neuropeptides that make you crave carbohydrates. Stress will also increase the production of cortisol that slows down your metabolism. This possible carbohydrate overconsumption combined with low metabolism rates will cripple your weight loss campaign. Dealing with stress as soon as you can will keep your mind and body in the right state for steady weight loss.

NUTRITION SOUQ TOP TIP:
Be mindful of your stress levels and do your best to limit stressful situations. Should you become stressed be sure to take time to wind down. Meditation is a fantastic tool to free the mind so you and your body can focus.


YOUR INTENSITY ISN’T HIGH ENOUGH

Your last workout was too easy? You weren’t sore the next day? These are both signs that the intensity of your workouts isn’t high enough or they aren’t frequent enough. If you are in good condition and have built your fitness up gradually you should be exercising at least 5 times a week. Of course not every session needs to be MAX out as your body needs time to recover, but if your are consistently finding that your workouts aren’t physically challenging or your aren’t experiencing that same soreness like you used to it’s time to think about upping the intensity.

This can be done in multiple ways:

  • Increase the amount of sets/reps you are doing
  • Increase the amount of sets/reps you are doing
  • Increase the weight you are lifting
  • Shorten your workout, but increase intensity (this can be as simple as increase running pace)
  • Decrease rest time

NUTRITION SOUQ TOP TIP:
If your not sore the next day after training (particularly with strength training) your intensity potentially wasn’t high enough. Remember muscle soreness is your friend.

A weight loss plateau could easily push you to quitting on your fitness dream. Avoid it at all costs. Remember to eat and drink right, vary your work out routines, amp up intensity if needed and do your best to combat stress.


 

Author: Claire Trojkovic
Author Bio: Claire is a personal trainer from Australia and one of the top Nutrition Souq editors. She’s a fitness and travel expert with a degree in Literature and a Certificate 4 in Fitness and Nutrition. Her particular interests are yoga, bodybuilding, diets, weight loss, herbal remedies and travel. She also manages and writes on her own blog and has written guest articles for various online fitness publications.