For the last several weeks, you were making huge progress in the fat loss department through your exercise regimen. Your motivation was high and the pounds of fat were just falling off your body as you felt yourself building strength. But suddenly your progress has come to a screeching halt, and you’re left wondering why no matter what you do, the remaining fat you’re trying the shed seems to be clinging to your body for dear life.
It’s important to understand that fat loss plateaus are a natural part of fitness, and at some point, everyone’s progress will stall. Think about it like this: if you could lose 2 lbs per week every week for the rest of your life, at some point you’d weigh nothing. For those that experience a plateau in the middle of their fat loss journey; muscle memory, a predictable routine, and the body’s natural tendency to hold onto a few extra pounds for survival and child bearing purposes may be preventing you from reaching your goals. Some may use a plateau as an excuse to revert back to old habits, while others may view a plateau as the extra push necessary to get back into high gear.
Pre-planning the week is the most crucial strategy to overcoming a fat loss plateau. Those that take the time to develop a diet and exercise plan to follow for the upcoming weeks are twice as likely to reach their goals than those that prefer to wing it. To reach your goals, you need to plan a road map of exactly how you’ll get there or you’ll spend your time driving around in circles. Knowing how long your training sessions will occur and the exact exercises and muscle groups you’ll be targeting will allow you to get straight to work without wasting time in the gym, and you’ll be more likely to go knowing that you have a specific plan you need to execute. Pre-planning weekly meals and meal prepping for the work week will take the guess work and mindless munching out of your day, getting you one step closer towards your goals.
Mixing up your workout routine and ramping up the intensity is the most effective way to break through a fat loss plateau. Alternate the weight lifted and the repetitions completed. For example, one week lift lighter weights with more reps, followed by a week of heavier weights and fewer reps to keep your body guessing.
To achieve fat loss, it’s important to create a consistent calorie deficit. When your diet and exercise routine began, you may have immediately cut out sugary drinks, fast food, and sweets, which initially led to a consistent reduction in fat. Now that your body has become use to these new eating habits, a consistent calorie deficit is necessary to continue losing fat. Beware of hidden calories that may be messing with your goals. This includes mindless snacking, the hidden calories used in restaurants including butter and oils, and the consumption of extra condiments. An extra few hundred calories a day could be the difference between a plateau and fat loss.
Don’t let this plateau side track you from reaching your goals. Create a plan and stick to it to get back on track.