All the time I hear from my clients that they have been stuck at the same weight for days, weeks or even months. They become very frustrated and very often give up.
They have episodes of consoling themselves with bags of cookies because they have convinced themselves that they cannot lose weight. They officially have reached a
plateau, meaning that all their progress has come to a standstill.
We are all unique and thus there is no way to predict when we will arrive at a plateau. You can jumpstart your metabolism and with a little tweaking you will be in your jeans in little time. There are three components to unleash a plateau. They are a solid nutrition plan, plenty of rest and a varied exercise regimen.
You must account for the calories that you burn during your exercise program. Typically you should be consuming an average of 300 more calories if you are exercising intensely like power walking, spinning, running or on a bicycle with resistance. If you are eating too little calories your body will think it is in a starvation mode and it will hold onto every calorie and slow down your metabolism. You should never consume less than 1200 calories because then your body is probably breaking down lean body mass which
is your active metabolism.
I find many clients do not realize the importance of drinking water. Hydration promotes stable energy levels and prevents muscle breakdown. So make sure that you drink before, during and after your workouts. I have seen clients lose weight consistently when they drink 8 glasses of water per day.
Rests in Your Exercise Program
You should allow 1-2 days of rest between working the different muscle groups. During an intense workout session tiny tears occur in the muscle fibers which explains the muscle soreness. In order for those tears to repair themselves you have to rest those muscles. For example, if you lifted arms on Monday you should wait at least one day, preferably two before overloading those muscles again. If you do not rest long enough for repair to occur you will actually get weaker.
Incorporate variation into each workout. Variety is important because your muscles become very efficient at the exercises they are used to doing. Switching things up and doing something radically different is more challenging to your muscles.
You should change your exercise routine every 6-8 weeks. It is like keeping your muscle groups surprised so that they will work harder. You will thus burn more
calories and build more lean body mass in the meantime. On the opposite days you should throw in some power walking. Make sure that you get into a sweat and you can feel the furnace burning those calories. I always tell my client to walk for 5 minutes and then run for 1 minute and then repeat these bursts every 5 minutes.
I find that my clients are not aware of the importance of muscle repair during sleep. Inadequate sleep prevents the ability of the muscle repair to occur, making plateaus more likely. Everyone has different needs for sleep but most experts recommend getting at least 8 hours per night. Make sure that this sleep is consistent during the week and the weekends. If you are exercising intensely your need for sleep may be even higher—up to 10 hours.
I hope this will help you set up a personalized plan that will get you to start losing weight again. Please feel free to call me with any questions about your nutrition program.