Are you experiencing a weight loss plateau? Read this article to learn how you can start losing weight again.
So you have lost a significant amount of weight then all of a sudden you stopped losing weight. You’ve evaluated your nutrition and exercise habits to see if there was something you were not doing right, but everything looked okay.
Welcome to a weight loss plateau, the most dreaded place for Fit Friends.
But you don’t need to panic because there is a way out. Stay with me, and I’ll show how to bust through the plateau.
First, let’s talk about the potential causes, and after that, we’ll talk about the solutions.
The three potential causes of a weight loss plateau
- Your body has reached energy balance
- Your body has adapted to your exercise routine
- Your body mass has reduced
You have achieved energy balance
What is energy balance? Energy balance is when your body can balance your food intake with your energy expenditure. When your body reaches that stage, your weight becomes stable.
ENERGY BALANCE =Stable weight
When you are just starting a new exercise program, you know how challenging it can be. Remember how you felt the first time you attempted to jog or run? It was like your heart was going to fall off your chest, right? You were forced to slow down and “respect yourself” because it was too much work on your cardio-respiratory system. But, as you continued to train and build endurance, you were able to do with ease what was once hard for you.
The exercise didn’t become easier; you became stronger, and your strength has overcome the physical demand of your workout. You have developed strength through the process of adaptation.
Adaptation is one of greatest physiological benefits of physical training. It’s an amazing physiological mechanism that shows our growth and improvement potentials as humans.
How does this affect weight loss? It means you are no longer burning as many calories as you used to burn. The fitter you become the more work you can do with less energy.
Your body mass has reduced
If you put two people on the treadmills and they both run at the same speed, for the same duration. The larger person will burn more calories that the smaller person. Why? Because it takes more energy to move a larger body than it takes to move a smaller body. As you lose weight, your body mass decreases and as your body mass decreases your energy need also goes down.
Now let’s talk about the solutions
What can you do to start losing weight again? The answer is simple. Do something about your exercise routine. That single action will change everything!
Solution #1: Change the intensity of your exercise
There are three ways you can change or manipulate the intensity of your exercise
One of the best ways to increase exercise intensity is to manipulate exercise duration or reps.
For example, you can change the work/rest ratio of your HIIT workout to achieve just that. If you have been doing 1:1 (30sec work 30sec rest) try 2:1 (40sec:20sec) or 3:1 (45sec:15sec) to increase the intensity. You are still doing the same routine, but the dynamic has changed because you tweaked your work/rest ratio.
You can do the same with your resistance routine by increasing reps per set. If you are doing 10-12 reps per exercise, try 13-15 reps. You will challenge your body to work harder and burn more calories.
Adding more resistance is another way to increase exercise intensity.
This is how it works. If you’re using 10kg for squat and it is no longer challenging you, move to 12-15kg to increase the intensity and challenge your body.
Adding one or more sets is another way you can increase exercise intensity. And this can be achieved with both resistance training and interval cardio.
For example, if your interval cardio looks like this:
Cardio/Strength HIIT- 8 exercises. Work/rest interval: 45sec:15sec. Sets: 4
The above routine makes a total of 32 minutes. By doing another set (8 exercises multiply by interval time), you have extended workout duration by 8 minutes. You now have a 40-minute routine. You can do the same with resistance training. Add one or two sets, and you’ll see the intensity go up.
Solution #2: Change exercise order
A change in exercise order can challenge your body in a whole new way.
Let’s say your resistance routine has nine exercises (three upper body exercises, three lower body exercises and three abs/core exercises). What some people usually do is to alternate between body segments. To change the order, group all the three exercises for each body segment together as a tri-set and do them back without in-between rest exercises. When you are done with one segment, move to the next one and do the same.
Same exercises but you have introduced a new dynamic that will challenge your body.
Solution #3: Try a new exercise program
Change your exercise routine. Try something new to shock and challenge your body. Don’t keep doing the same thing for months without any change. Keep your workout fresh and challenging.
Remember, “If it can’t challenge you it won’t change you”.