How To Avoid Fat Loss Plateaus!
If you’ve been stuck at a certain weight or have noticed that your body looks and feels the same, even though you’ve been working out consistently You’ve hit the dreaded fitness/weight loss plateau.
But don’t worry; this happens to all of us, no matter what shape you’re in. See, your body is super smart and one of the things it does best, is to adapt to almost any situation. It’s what makes your body resilient and enables you to survive even in the harshest of conditions.
However, it’s also the reason why you may have gotten stuck in a rut. Here’s the thing, your body adapts to just about anything if you do it long enough. How long it takes varies with the kind of demand you put on it, but a good rule of thumb is 30 days. So if you do something consistently for 30 days, you’re body has the ability to get used it.
For example, let’s say your daily workout routine is running, and say you run 4 miles a day. In the beginning, the run will be challenging. That’s because you’re introducing your body to new demands. And since your body is doing something it hasn’t done before, it’s also going to expend more energy doing it. Now fast forward 4 weeks or more, and let’s assume you’ve been running consistently (5 days a week), by this time the 4 mile run is going to be a piece of cake. This happens because your body has adapted to the demand by making your muscles stronger and improving your cardiovascular fitness to provide better endurance. This is how you get into better shape.
However, as you get into better shape, it also means that you can perform the same activity much more efficiently, and that means it takes less energy to do it. Less energy equals less calories which means less fat burning. A definite dilemma if your goal is to get lean and fit.
So how do you keep getting into better shape, while continually burning more fat and calories?
Your body responds to change. Changing the kind of demands you put on your body is what keeps your body from adapting and lowering your calorie burn.
And these changes don’t need to be drastic. Let’s keep with the running theme. If you absolutely love to run, then mix up your running workouts. If you’re used to doing hour long runs at a steady pace, then mix in some short sprint interval workouts to get your fast twitch muscles firing which require different energy levels. Keep in mind that change can come from many variables including your effort level (intensity), distance and duration.
This is why in our small group training, boot camps and Training for Warriors systems, all the workouts are performed at all different intensities and distances in various interval formats. This way you’re constantly changing things up, so you can continually challenge your body.
Another reason for changing things up is your susceptibility to repetitive stress injuries. Doing the same movements over and over again can cause immense stress on your joints.
So if your activity consists mainly of one activity, then it’s also a really good idea to change up your activity as well. This will help you take the stress off your joints, while varying the demands it puts on your body, so you keep burning more calories. It’s also a great way to keep things fresh, so you don’t get bored.
This principle can’t be emphasized enough when it comes to fitness.
Change is GOOD. Change is what you need if you want to break through any plateau and start making progress again.
Here are the 4 keys to constantly challenging your body, so you can keep getting fit while burning as many calories:
- Vary your intensity (effort level)
- Vary your duration (workout time)
- Vary your movements (change up your exercises)
- Vary your activity (if you’re always running, try biking or swimming instead)
Note: 1 and 2 are inversely connected. If you increase your intensity then you should decrease your duration and if you decrease your intensity then you should increase your duration.
So if you’ve been stuck in a rut with your weight loss or fat burning and haven’t seen much change on your body as of late…start something new. Challenge your body in a different way than it’s been challenged before. You should be feeling sore in areas you haven’t before and feel energized and re-invigorated, then you know you’re on the right track for making continual progress!