You have been to the gym, started a new weight loss program and have seen some pounds drop! Two months later you find yourself stagnant, working harder and losing less weight. Well, you've hit a plateau. A weight loss plateau usually occurs within about a month or two of starting a reduced-calorie diet, and/or fitness program and may reoccur from time to time thereafter. During such a plateau, weight reduction stops completely or slows down to almost nothing. Your body's reaction is to maintain a state of homeostasis, regulating its internal environment to maintain a stable condition. This doesn't mean that you will never lose the weight you want or look the way you would like, but it does show that your body occasionally will provide some resistance. Your body, in response to this new stimulus you have created with your health and fitness program, has adjusted. It is getting used to the increased activity and changes in the calorie intake level and the natural instinct to conserve. Your body has become more efficient and doesn't need to use as many calories as it had in prior workouts.
In terms of food, here are some reasons you may hit the weight loss plateau. A plateau may occur because your body simply wants a "rest" to cope with your calorie-reduction; or your calorie-intake is in balance with your calorie expenditure; or you have reduced your calorie-intake too low. If you find a plateau occurring in your workouts, your routine may be stale and repetitive. Or you could possibly be overtraining and not allowing your body to get sufficient rest.
Here are tips for busting through a plateau and moving forward with getting great results.
Try to be patient. Your weight loss plateau will disappear, I promise. But it typically takes anything between 1-4 weeks.
Rest. If you are experiencing signs of overtraining or seem to be in a rut, take sometime off. Maybe take a few days or even a week. You may find your body rejuvenated and ready to respond to your fitness program. Change your routine. If you have become comfortable in your workouts, change them.
Don't do the same thing every week. Change the exercise sequence by mixing up the order during a workout. Change the variables by shortening your rest time between sets or adding more reps (if you normally do 10 reps, lighten the weight and do 15-20 reps) for a week. Or change the equipment. Move from the treadmill to the stairmaster or move from dumbbells to resistance tubing.
Don't be afraid to increase the intensity. Its easy to become comfortable with our intensity level. Don't be afraid to add more weight, or increase the speed during your cardio workout.
Your body will adapt to the stimulus you place on it. If you find yourself comfortable with your fitness program, you may find a plateau right around the corner. When this happens, take to time to rest and re-evaluate what you are doing, and make some adjustments. You should then be back on the road to great fitness results.