You’re doing everything right. Counting calories and lifting weights and doing massive amounts of cardio. One day, you realize that you’ve stopped burning fat. No longer can you fit into smaller and smaller clothes; the scale is unchanged for days, perhaps weeks. How frustrating. You’ve hit a weight-loss plateau that can easily be broken.
Trick your body. Change up your routine. If you’re hitting the exercise bike or the elliptical, do something different. If you are doing the same exercises over and over again, your body “knows” what to expect. It’s called “specificity of training”. If you work out at a gym, change your cardio routine by jumping on a stair-climber, a treadmill, or a rowing machine. Try ten minutes of intense cardio work on a machine and jump on another and repeat. Mix up your routine so it’s not a routine.
Join a sport. An active sport is a great to change-up your routine. Sports like racquetball, tennis and basketball will work different muscle groups with lateral movement instead of the same boring forward movement on a treadmill or elliptical (that’s not to say that the treadmill or elliptical aren’t good machines, but mix it up!). If you don’t have a gym membership and instead get your cardio by jogging, try riding a bike or swimming or some other such exercise. The key is to try something new to “trick” your body into losing weight.
Weight train. The more muscle mass you have the more calories your body will need to maintain it. This is very important and very effective. You may feel more hungry after a heavy lifting session; this is your body trying to supply the needed calories to increase the muscle mass (tips on how to deal with this later). Ladies, don’t be afraid to lift some heavy weight. There are plenty of girls at the gym who may look thin but are a bit soft in the flesh. This may make them want to do more cardio to burn the fat. This is a perfect reason to hit up some weights and tone up. Eat only the right type of carbohydrates. It’s important to have carbohydrates in your diet and life without them, as many of us experienced in the early 2000′s with the Atkin’s diet is a pain. What works is to eat “good carbohydrates.” Multi-grain bread is fine, but have no more than a couple of slices a day. The point is to stay away from refined sugars. These are found in pasta, white breads, cakes and other sweets and all the things we think we love. Even small amounts can kill your diet so it’s best to stay away from them in the first place. The good news is when you eliminate heavy sweets from your diet, it only takes a few days to not crave them anymore. They will appear unappealing because such a diet forces you to make healthy choices in the food you eat.
Increase your protein intake. You have to supplement something for cutting your carbohydrates right? Protein is excellent. It promotes strong lean muscle tissue which is beneficial to fat burning. Protein fills you up better than a heavy carbohydrate meal. This is an added benefit to help cut your caloric intake.
Eat six small meals a day. Eating small portions throughout the day will help keep your metabolism going. This is an extremely useful tactic in breaking your weight-loss plateau. Eat something when you wake up in the morning, perhaps a small omelet or a high fiber breakfast cereal with low-fat milk. And as you continue throughout the day, snack on some raisins or cheese or some other natural, unprocessed food. Pretty much keep your meal times as normal; breakfast, lunch and dinner with a meal in between each and something for the evening. It’s not that important to count your calories, but try to be a scientist and find out what works best for you. What can you eat that is small and will curb your hunger for the next 2 and a half hours before your next small meal? Keep it higher in protein, small in calories, and nutritious. Powdered whey with Splenda works nicely. You can get it at any nutrition store. Just mix in the recommended amount in some cool water and it’ll give you a sweet tasting, 90 calorie protein meal. Perfect for busy professionals.
Change your long cardio session to shorter more intense interval training. Conventional myth states you have to participate in a certain “fat burning” zone in order to lose body fat. Stale, long, boring cardio is actually keeping people stuck in their plateaus. Instead, favor sprint interval training to set a new challenge to the body. Making this change will reinvigorate the adaption response. Initiate the intervals by incorporating one-minute bursts of intense activity then return to a normal pace for one to two minutes. Research has shown you will significantly raise your heart rate during and for up to 6-9 hours after the workout, thus burning more calories during and post exercise.