So you’ve been eating well for a while, training hard and resisting every temptation that comes your way.
In the beginning the ‘sad step (aka)’ scales, played ball. You’ve dropped a dress size and were feeling great, but the last few weeks things seemed to have become a little bit stagnant and progress has slowed.
This is more common than you may think.
When plateaus occur, your initial weight loss plan may no longer be appropriate as you are in a different place than you were at the start of your journey, so you may need to review what you are doing and take things to the next level.
Here’s how we look to overcome weight loss plateaus
- REVIEW YOUR OVERALL CALORIE INTAKE – The initial calorie limit you gave yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey will need to be adjusted according to how your body responds. As your bodyweight changes, you may lose lean muscle tissue as well as fat (this isn’t ideal but it does often happen), as a result your metabolic rate may slow down. If you have stopped making progress you may need to look at a bigger calorie deficit, or if you track macros you may need to adjust them.
- CLEAN UP YOUR DIET – Sometimes it comes down to more than just number crunching. Simply hitting daily calorie/macro limits just won’t be enough for your body to burn fat. If you relying on too many ready meals, too many protein bars or picking at your kids food here and there, then all these things do effect fat burning and those extra do count towards your daily intake! Try switching to leaner meats and more nutrient dense foods to see a difference.
- SHAKE UP YOUR TRAINING PLAN – Doing the same workouts week in week out not only becomes boring and predictable but your body becomes familiar with it and in return your workout will become less effective. A change in routine does wonders for the body and mind. Try changing your muscle group split, the exercises you do or the intensity/volume. Read how to write your training splits here.
- PRIORITISE WEIGHT TRAINING SESSIONS BEFORE CARDIO – Weight training encourages your body to build lean muscle tissue which increases your metabolism which in turn burns more fat. You want to have maximum effort and energy to lift the weights both safely but also as heavy as possible. If you are doing cardio for a long time before you hit the weights section you would have already used up a lot of your stored fuel and your weight session will not be as effective. Try adding the cardio in later or do it at a separate time of day. Read more about the benefits of weight training here.
- ARE YOU GIVING 100% IN THE GYM? – There is a lot to be said that a workout is better than no workout, but you can’t expect to get 100% results with only 50% effort. If you don’t feel you have given each workout your maximum effort you need to look at the reasons why? Are you enjoying your training? Are you in the right mind set? Have you got enough energy? Addressing the reason behind your lack of effort and making a change to combat this could be all you need to start making progress.
- WORK ON YOUR TECHNIQUE – It is important when lifting weights that you execute the correct technique and engage the correct muscles. There is a difference between going through the motions and putting the muscles you are intending to work under stress. When you effectively work the muscles with enough load and correct form you will get stronger and build lean muscle tissue. Use our video demonstration library to check your techniques.
- MOVE MORE – Upping your output of daily activities such as walking, gardening, cleaning, effectively moving (also known as your NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) will help with burning excess calories. Walk to work, park the car further away from the shop, take the stairs, stand up to take the phone call instead of sitting down. The more you move the more your body will require energy.
- PRIORITISE REST AND SLEEP – Sleeping and rest is hugely under estimated when embarking any weight loss journey. It is during your sleep that your body repairs and recovers after your training sessions. You can read more on the importance of sleep here.
- UP YOUR WATER INTAKE – Water is the main component of the human body. Staying hydrated regardless of exercise output is essential, but if you are active it can really help you maximise your workouts and help with your weight. See how you could benefit from drinking more water here.
We hope this tick list helps with your plateau, or even better, helps you to prevent a plateau. We all need to make adjustments and reviews on our training and diet from time to time and these are all good pointers to look back on regularly.