What To Do When You Plateau
A weight loss journey is just that, a journey. It’s usually a long, bumpy road with a destination that sometimes feels very far away. Weight tends to come off quickly at first, the 50-minute Beatz RIDE seems a tad more manageable, and jeans start to loosen. After a few months, even though you’re sticking to your nutrition plan, and hitting the gym just as ferociously as you were before, the needle won’t move. We’ve all been there – it’s called a plateau. So, we spoke to Tobias Young, In-Shape Antioch’s fitness manager for the deets on how to beat the dreaded plateau.
What is a plateau?
Tobias explains, “A plateau is a point where the body becomes acclimated to doing the same exercises and tension load. When the body plateaus, your results come to a screeching halt. You may be working out over and over again, but the body doesn't seem to change.”
Why does it happen?
Your muscles and nervous system get used to doing the same thing over and over again and realize they don't need to change and evolve to keep up with the exercise.
Don’t worry, you can avoid it or breakthrough it!
What do you do about it?
In order to combat a plateau, you have to "shock" your body by changing up your routine. Tobias recommends changing up your "F.I.T.T."
“FIIT stands for frequency, intensity, type, and tempo. If you make adjustments to those key items, your body will need to adjust, and work harder, to try and keep up. This is how you break out of a plateau,” he finished.
How do you practically change up your FIIT?
So, add another gym session to your schedule – from three in one week to four. Try a new exercise to shock the body – so if you’re a runner, maybe try swimming laps in the pool. Try a heart pumping class like BodyCombat or a Beatz RIDE to increase your usual cardio intensity. Are you a cardio devotee? Add strength training a few days a week to build muscle and increase lean body mass to burn more calories at rest. Variety is not only the spice of life but it’s a key tool in breaking out of a plateau.
What else can you do?
Hitting the gym and sticking to a challenging and constantly changing exercise regimen but still not seeing any more results? Check back in with your diet. In addition to changing up your physical activity, nutrition can play an important role in breaking out of a plateau.
Tobias recommends changing your caloric intake, “For example, if your body maintains its weight at 2000 calories and you eat 2000 calories per day, you’ll need adjustments to see results faster. Putting yourself in a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day (through diet and exercise) can help you lose about 1 lb of fat per week.”
Chin up! It’s part of the process.
A plateau can be discouraging and frustrating, but try to stay positive, change things up and talk to an In-Shape personal trainer who can design a program specifically to suit your needs, goals, and fitness level. Stop by your local club on April 23 for a special event that’ll help you Spring Into Health with educational information on nutrition and exercise, free samples and giveaways!