Weight loss plateau: 5 ways to break through
After you’ve been eating a healthy diet, exercising, and losing weight for a while, it’s not uncommon to hit a weight loss plateau. Even though your exercise and eating habits are on-track, your weight stubbornly remains the same. It can be very discouraging, but don’t give up. There are a number of proven ways to break through a weight loss plateau and turn your body back into an effective fat-burning machine.
1. Change up and/or increase your work-out routine
If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, try shaking things up a bit. Change the time of day you work out, the number of days per week you go to the gym, and/or add some higher intensity training activities. If you do a lot of walking, try cycling, swimming, or jogging — anything that changes the way your body is working.
2. Increase muscle mass
Increasing your muscle mass boosts your metabolism and causes the body to burn more calories around the clock — even when you are resting or sleeping — which is a huge help when you’ve hit a weight loss plateau. For best muscle-building results, utilize compound resistance exercises that simultaneously work multiple large muscle groups, such as squats, deadlifts, and variations on the bench press.
Squats: Good form is key in order to get maximum benefit and minimize the chance of injury with this exercise. It’s a great idea to work with a personal trainer or a more experienced lifter to make sure your technique is correct.
Deadlift: This exercise should be performed on the days you work your back. It’s a great movement for overall strength, as well as building muscle mass within the mid-to-lower portion of the back.
Bench Press: For many fitness enthusiasts, this is the bread-and-butter exercise for building the chest and arms. But, it’s surprising how many people do this movement with poor form and shortchange themselves from getting the most from it.
3. Accurately track calories in and out
Using food-tracking apps like MyFitnessPal and activity trackers like FitBit and/or heart-rate monitors can help you find under-counted calories in, and more accurately measure calories expended to ensure you are maintaining a healthy calorie deficit. As your weight loss progresses and healthier eating habits take hold, it’s normal to gradually decrease the quantity of calories you consume. But, cutting your caloric intake too low can inadvertently switch your body to starvation mode and trigger a weight loss plateau.
4. Rest, recover, hydrate
When you are deprived of adequate rest and sleep, your body cannot effectively recover and rebuild after exercise. And if you’re tired when you hit the gym again, you don’t put as much effort into your workout. Fatigue can also tempt you into unhealthy snacking, encourage reliance on caffeine, and give you an excuse to avoid the work to cook a healthy dinner and order takeout instead. Try to create a regular sleep pattern and make getting enough rest and sleep as important as getting enough exercise. Also make sure you drink plenty of water during your workout and all throughout the day in order to stay well hydrated.
5. Get professional help
Put a nutritionist and/or personal trainer on your team. As you hit a weight loss plateau or results are not happening as fast as they once were, it is easy to lose motivation or even give up. A nutritionist or personal trainer can work with you to make sure your eating and exercise plan are compatible with your health and weight loss goals, and help keep you on track to a successful outcome.