Despite your usual exercise routine and healthy eating, sometimes the scale simply stops moving.
Generally as your body adapts to your exercise routine, it expends less energy in order to accomplish the routine. This is your body’s way of becoming more efficient. This is indeed good news and a sure sign of increased physical fitness. However, expending less energy means burning less calories and less weight loss, which can create the dreaded plateau. This is when you find yourself shocked by a sudden lack of weight loss.
No worries. You simply need to burn more calories or consume less calories. The decision is yours. I love food, so I take a look at my exercise routine first. The great news is there are a lot of ways to change your exercise routine.
Here are some of my favorite ways!
Increase Intensity of Exercise:
One of the simplest changes to make can be to increase the intensity of your current cardio. For example, if you are riding a bicycle you can increase the resistance. If you are walking on a treadmill, you may increase the incline or the speed. If you are strength training, you may increase the weight or repetitions of each exercise. During my weight loss I walked outside, and as my fitness improved I began to look for hills. Eventually, I added ankle weights and began alternating 1-3 minute runs with walking.
Change Type of Exercise:
Since your body has figured out how to make your current exercise routine easier, you need to find a new challenge for your body. If you live on the treadmill, you should try the bike or elliptical for a month. If you weight train, change the specific moves, reps, or weight. If you are using an exercise video, get a new one. There are countless different variations of squats, sit-ups, bicep curls etc. Keep your exercise routine fresh. Try reading fitness magazines and websites and watching health shows to find new moves. I find lots of new moves that way. I actually teach some of my personal training clients an exercise move I saw on The Dr. Oz Show.
Change Duration of Exercise:
If you are exercising less than an hour, you may simply increase the duration. Thirty-60 minutes is a good time range, unless you are training for a race or marathon. I started my weight loss with a 30 minute exercise video, and as my fitness improved I began using 50-60 minute videos.
If you don’t want to increase the duration or simply do not have the extra time, you may find it easier to incorporate interval training, which is simply alternating short periods of intense exercise with longer periods of less intense exercise. For example, if you are walking, jog/run as fast as you can for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then slow down to a walk for 1-2 min to cool down and lower your heart rate. Repeat this sequence for 20-30 minutes. For the bike, pedal as fast as you can for the same time intervals. You’ll burn more calories and you can increase your cardio endurance. It can also be an easy way to introduce jogging/running to your walking routine. I believed I would never be able to run for longer than a few seconds. Now I can run up to 60 minutes. I still do not love running, but I now understand how to enjoy a good run and it all began with 30 seconds.
Never Say Never. Never Set Limits. It Worked for Me! And it Can Work for YOU!