This is final part of the 2 part series. You can read part 1 by going to the link http://www.healthcentral.com/diet-exercise/c/58426/21349/1-5-loss/
If you think you are doing everything right and seem to have stagnated with your weight loss or fitness goals, you might have hit a plateau. It can be frustrating if you do all the right things such as staying consistent with your training and eating right but stop seeing results that you expect. Remember plateaus are not a bad thing, it's natural and here are 5 tips to help you kick start your healthy weight loss.
Take A Break
Most people are surprised at this answer but let me give you an excerpt from a question from Tammy who says
I have changed my diet and exercise lifestyle in the last 4 months... to date I have lost 59 pounds and workout 5 days a week... I love it...but my weight loss has slowed and I am getting frustrated. I am exhausted from working out so much. Should I change something to kick start my weight loss again? I have 46 more pounds to lose.
To begin with she has been losing an average of 3.5 pounds a week for the last 4 months. This is about 1.5 pounds higher than the recommended 2 pounds per week. Much of this could be water weight but she could also be losing muscle mass and her metabolism might be getting ready to come to a halt. However, because she works out very often, she is most likely just burning fat at a very high rate, therefore, it is important that Tammy takes a break. She is exhibiting classic signs of overtraining. When your body is exhausted, you will find working out difficult and get frustrated easily. Suddenly the 30 minute run you could do the week before is suddenly more difficult. My recommendation is to workout for 6-8 weeks and then take a week off. During your week off you could do cardio for a maximum of 2 days and then focus the rest of your time on other aspects of fitness, such as deep breathing, meditation or flexibility.
2. Increase Intensity
Instead of pulling back, you could increase the intensity of your workouts, where you add more reps or weight to your workouts or you can increase your running, biking or elliptical speeds. The idea is to burn more calories in a shorter period of time which also promotes the "after burn effect". This happens after your workout, your body burns more calories to build and recover after an intense workout.
3. AM Cardio or Cardio In The Fasted State
Many in the fitness industry call it by various names such as "AM cardio" or "Cardio in the Fasted State". This technique is quite controversial, but who can argue with results because many have experienced significant loss of body fat by doing cardio first thing in the morning before breakfast. In fact I personally use it when I'm getting ready for a major appearance, photo shoot or video production and it has been embraced by a lot of body builders and figure building contestants. The science behind AM Cardio or Cardio in the Fasted State is that blood sugar and insulin levels are usually low and very stable in the morning which creates a perfect environment for burning fat. Remember you are not running the 100 meter dash and you are not supposed to be gasping for air when doing morning cardio because you are working too hard and might begin to break down muscle tissue. Your goal is to be able to have a brief conversation without losing your breath.
4. Pyramid Your Weight Training Sets
A study conducted by the Department of Exercise and Wellness at Arizona State University revealed that people who changed the number of repetitions during their workout noticed an increase in upper and lower body strength twice as much over a 12 week period compared to those who changed repetitions every month. My favorite way of changing reps is trying a pyramid workout. Pyramiding involves changing the weight and the number of reps with each set. So you pyramid up in weight and pyramid down in reps for each set. Below is an example of a 3 set pyramid workout for a bicep curl that I have used
Set 1 - 15 reps, 20 lbs
Set 2 - 12 reps, 25 lbs
Set 3 - 10 reps, 30 lbs
5. Tighten Up Your Nutrition
The truth is that almost everyone could do with improving their diet. I would try a week or two of almost perfect nutrition. This is where you never skip breakfast, eat 5-6 small meals each day, never eating until you are full and avoiding late night junk food. I would also suggest reducing the amount of food you eat by 20%. Remember you don't have to eat your entire plate, leave some leftovers for later.
Move Your Body, Move Your Life
Published On: March 10, 2008