Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday - 5 Ways to Keep the Scale Moving

Not much is as frustrating during an exercise program as when your results stop progressing. But it happens to everyone. When it happens to you, the solution isn't as obvious as you may think. While the logical answer is to kick your workouts up a notch, eat cleaner, or eat less, that might be exactly the opposite of what you should to be doing.

What is the dreaded plateau?
It's part of the body's natural process to hit a plateau because it's always trying to regulate itself. Its regulated state is called homeostasis. Your body is a creature of habit, but it doesn't care whether those habits are bad or good. The more you do something to enact change, the more it adapts and tries to limit that change. This can be a good thing because less stress is placed on the body. But it's a bad thing if you're unhealthy because that is the state your body is willing to call homeostasis.

Here are 5 tips to help you snap out of it:

Back off. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't exercise; it just means that if you ease up a bit, you'll likely recover and get stronger. Oftentimes your body is overtrained, exhausted, and just in need of a break. If you are finding it suddenly difficult to get through a workout that was easy the week before, this is most likely the case. You should cut down on your intensity and focus on technique and flexibility. It's a perfect time for a recovery-specific workout like some easy cardio, yoga, and/or stretching. Another option would be to lower your workout weight or pick easier workouts. Gauge this so that you finish workouts feeling refreshed rather than run down. When your energy level returns, launch back into your original program, or a more difficult one, harder than you did before.

Turn it up a notch. Because a plateau may also happen when you're purely bored and/or listless. The easiest way to increase intensity is by adding resistance. Change bands or add weight so that you start failing at around 8 to 10 reps on all of the exercises, which changes the energy system you're using. This added intensity will force your body to adapt and turn that improvement line skyward again. You'll know if this was the right tactic in one of two workouts because you'll either respond by feeling energized or you'll hardly be able to finish the workout.

Streamline your diet. Most of our diets could always use a little improvement. If you've been giving yourself little rewards for a job well done (a good idea in general), then it's time to stop. Try a super-strict week wherein you do everything perfect.

Add some morning cardio. Twenty minutes or more of easy- to moderate-level cardio in the morning on an empty stomach can help get your metabolism steamrolling again. You can train your body to more efficiently use stored fat as fuel, and this is one of the easiest ways to do it.

Add or subtract 500 calories per day. If everything else seems fine and you're at wits' end, then try this. Your diet might just be miscalculated and you could be under- or overfeeding yourself. This is common, especially as you get fitter, because your body composition changes, which is why adding calories is one of the main ways our members kick themselves off of plateaus. Five hundred calories per day works out to 3,500 per week, which equates to a pound. Keep in mind that this will only work if you are eating proper nutrients. If not, try #3 first, and then try altering the number of calories you're eating.

This content is excerpted from an article by fitness guru Steve Edwards on Beachbody.com. Come join us for more great tips and articles just like these.

- Coach Jenn
My Goal is to Help YOU Reach YOURS!

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