Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Hitting a plateau - what to do?
Have you ever hit a plateau with your overall health and not known what to do? This has happened to me more than once in my lifetime, especially when it comes to my muscle mass and fitness routine.
Today I came across another fabulous article by Seattle trainer John Verd about this exact topic. As I read through the article, I couldn't believe how relevant his ideas were to my lifestyle and habits in recent months. Just yesterday I was thinking about cutting back on wine, drinking more water, and getting more sleep. I also thought about how I've been inconsistent with breakfast on week days (which is very unlike me), and wondered how much it might be affecting me. Well, what do you know...
"Beat Your Plateau in 5 Steps"
It happens to all of us at some point.
Your workouts are dialed in, and your body is rapidly becoming leaner and more attractive. Friends and family notice and you feel fantastic.
And then it stops.
You are doing everything exactly the same as before except your body no longer responds.
You, my friend, have hit a plateau. It's a frustrating place to be parked, so read the following 5 steps to get your body back into results mode.
Step #1: Reduce Sugar. A very effective way to restart your results is to reel in your sugar intake. Inspect all of your food for added sugars and eliminate items that contain high calorie sweeteners. This means no sugar, corn syrup, honey or maple syrup.
If you've already eliminated processed sugars from your diet, and have still hit a plateau, then it's time to dig a little deeper by eliminating some of the natural sugars from your diet. Limit your intake of sweet fruits and eliminate dried fruits.
Step #2: Get More Sleep. We are supposed to get an average of eight hours of sleep each night. If you're not getting adequate amounts of rest, you're more likely to be hungry, overeat, and gain weight.
When you're tired, you don't feel like cooking a healthy meal, and you're more likely to opt for fast (fattening) food. Then your lack of energy causes you to skip your workouts. And to make matter worse, sleep deprivation causes your metabolism to slow down, slowing or reversing your results. To beat your plateau, make sleep a priority.
Step #3: Drink Only Water. To restart your results you'll need to make some changes. Sorry, but some of the changes aren't going to be fun. If you're one of the millions hooked on soda, alcohol, or other sweetened beverages, then your plateau will stay locked in place until you replace these drinks with water.
Keep in mind that your brain often confuses thirst with hunger. So at the first sign of hunger, don't grab a snack or calorie-filled drinks. Instead, grab a glass of water.
Step #4: Eat Healthy Breakfast. But not just any breakfast. Your plateau-breaking breakfast should be low in carbs and high in protein. Try eggs, lean breakfast meats, a protein shake, or a mini-muffin made with almond flour.
Fitting breakfast into your busy morning may take some work, but research shows that the habit of eating a healthy breakfast is key to losing weight and keeping pounds off. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier to give yourself time to eat breakfast
Step #5: Increase Exercise Intensity. It's time to start taking your workouts more seriously. No more going through the motions, it's all-out for you. If you want to get back on track with your body transformation, and to keep the fat melting away, then increase the amount and intensity of your exercise routine.
For most people, this is the most difficult lifestyle change of all, but the benefits are enormous. Try to get 30 to 60 minutes of intense exercise on most days of the week. When exercise is a normal part of your everyday routine, you're more likely to stick with it, and your body will become slimmer and more toned.
The quickest and most permanent way to beat that plateau is through a combination of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts.