So, you are killing it in the gym, burning calories and shedding body fat like crazy and then it happens….the dreaded plateau. While it is only natural to be discouraged when the scale sticks at a certain number for weeks on end, you can get it moving in the right direction again with a little planning.
Fight Your Frustration
You will be far less frustrated when you hit a plateau if you understand what causes it to occur.Everyone who loses weight experiences this at one point during the fat shedding process. When you lose fat, you inevitably lose some muscle especially during the first few weeks of dieting. Once this muscle mass is gone, your metabolism slows down and that reduces the rate at which you burn fat and lose weight. This occurs even when you are faithfully eating fewer calories just like you were at the beginning of your diet. Now that you know what causes a plateau, you need to know how to make the necessary adjustments to start burning fat again.
Increase Workout Intensity
There are two ways to get your body humming along again and burning fat. The first option is to increase your exercise intensity and duration. Adding an additional 30 minutes a day to your workout routine may be all you need to get back in the groove. However, many people require a workout overhaul to start shedding fat again. If you aren’t lifting weights, this is the time to start. Adding resistance exercise will increase your muscle mass, which will fire up your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn long after you leave the gym.
Decrease Calories Further
The second way to get back on track is by cutting your caloric intake. However, this can be difficult if you are already restricting your calories significantly. This is one reason many bodybuilders wait until the last few weeks to cut their calories before the competition. If they start off with a very low caloric intake, they have nowhere to go when the plateau sets in. Note: Never start cutting phase with very low calories, decrease calorie intake gradually.
You may have the best results getting your body back in the fat burning groove if you implement both strategies. Reduce your daily calorie intake a small amount and ramp up your exercise intensity. Experts recommend changing your workout and its intensity every 14 days to keep your body working hard. This is also a good time to take a hard look at some of your daily habits. Sometimes when we stay on a low calorie diet for a period of time, we begin to make small mistakes. This is a great time to start keeping a food journal. By logging everything you eat for month or so, you will see if you are eating foods that are derailing your diet.
No matter how you choose to deal with a weight loss plateau, stay positive and keep working hard. Eventually, your body will begin to burn fat again and the scale will head in the downward direction. If you need motivation, think about how much healthier you are and how much better you feel with your active lifestyle. Celebrate the small victories in this journey to a fit body and you will certainly succeed.