This is inevitable. When the goal is to drop body fat and strive to get into better shape there will always be a point where you’ll hit a plateau, or two or three. And it happens to everyone. And when that happens its important to make some changes to re-ignite the fat burning mechanisms. I will mention the ways you can overcome a plateau in this article.
What most people don’t understand is that we all have a ‘set weight point’, or what refers to as maintaining a body weight that keeps homeostatis (or balance in the body). When we diet and try to go below that ‘point’, the body will try to fight it in many ways. For instance, metabolism will slow down, making the progress harder. Leptin release, a hormone that tells the brain its full after a meal, will slow down the magnitude of release; triggering hunger sooner and more frequently. Ghrelin, the hormone that tells you when its time to eat, becomes heightened and will become much more active when dieting / restricting calories. Just with these two hormones your body is fighting to get away from your set point. There is a complex process to losing weight but it can be achieved while minimizing muscle loss, tolerating the process, and reaching your goals.
Here are some ways to get past a plateau:
1.) cut calories:
dropping calories when the fat loss stalls can help get things moving again. The longer a person diets, the easier it is to adapt to the calories they’re eating. With a minor adjustment in caloric intake, fat loss can continue to drop.
2.) increase cardio:
you can increase it in one of two ways. Either bump up the intensity and perform intervals more frequently or add time to your cardio sessions. Start with small increases, you don’t want to add so much so that when there’s another plateau (or two) you get stuck doing 2 hours + of cardio!
3.) change up your workouts:
if you typically follow the same sort of workout plan, switch it up! Your body will burn more calories and its a good change to your muscles; helping them grow. Try supersets, drop sets, giant sets, failure sets, or German Volume Training, to name a few..
4.) increase the intensity or volume of your workouts:
if you typically stick to say, 3 sets of 12 for all your exercises try doing 5 sets of 7 or 8 sets of 3. It will further help burn more calories, especially by recruiting more muscle fibers to lift the weights once you get into the later sets.
5.) add another workout day:
if you typically train 3 days/week, add another one in. People may say they don’t have time to do anymore then they currently are, but everyone has time to prioritize and choose what to do with their time. It can be done 😉
6.) make sure to get enough rest:
you might think thats a strange tip, but its when you rest the muscles recover and grow. If you’re not sleeping enough (7-8 hours minimum) or always on the go and not giving yourself any downtime, then your efforts can be slowed and compromised. Just think, the sleep we get will help with the energy you need for your next workout and prevent injuries, among many other benefits.
Hope this helps explain some of the ways you can get past a plateau without getting frustrated, or even giving up.
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