One of the most frustrating aspects of losing weight are the weight loss plateaus that inevitably happen. You’re doing everything right – eating a clean diet and working out five days a week. Boom! The weight loss stops. When this happens, you may be tempted to cut back more on your calories. As long as you’re eating an appropriate number of calories, doing this may be self-defeating. Cutting calories more can slow down your metabolic rate and make it more difficult to break out of a plateau.
Instead, take a closer look at your fitness routine. Are you doing the same moderate-intensity cardio workout every time you exercise? If so, your body has probably adapted and become more efficient at doing that activity and you’re not burning the same number of calories you did when you started. Shaking up your cardio routine to “shock” your system may be just what your body needs to start losing fat again and why I developed XTrain.
Shake Up Your Cardio Routine
Shaking up your cardiovascular workout is one of the best ways to “shock” your body and help you break through a weight loss plateau. Plus, it’ll give you renewed mental vigor because you’re doing something new instead of just going through the motions. Break out of moderate-intensity cardio mode and work harder by doing high-intensity intervals where you work at a sweat-inducing intensity that makes it hard to talk for short periods of time. The advantage of high-intensity exercise is it gives you a greater EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption) or afterburn, meaning you’ll burn more calories and fat even after your workout is over. Instead of slowing down your metabolism by reducing calories, reignite it with high-intensity exercise.
Some people get into a rut by doing the same cardio routine every day. It’s almost inevitable that your body will adapt after a few weeks. That’s not what you want when you’re trying to boost fat loss. Mix up your cardio by doing a different type of cardio each day. Integrate cardio with strength training with circuits that alternate a minute of cardio with a strength-training move. Shake things up with a kickboxing, step or bootcamp video. Don’t let your body knows what it will be hit with next.
The key is to change things so you’re doing something your body isn’t accustomed to and then continue to vary it to avoid hitting another plateau. Enjoy the mental challenge of tackling something different too. The other key is to add intensity to maximize the afterburn to force your body to burn more calories and prevent a metabolic slowdown. Variety and intensity are the best ways to shock your system.
Ways to Prevent Weight Loss Plateaus
Changing your fitness routine is one way to shock your system and break through a plateau, but it’s important to prevent future plateaus as well. Here are some tips:
- Enjoy a cheat meal that’s high in carbs once a week. If you’re eating a low-carb diet, shocking your body with carbs and more calories boosts leptin levels, giving your metabolism a boost.
- Cycling calories is another approach you can use to avoid a fat-loss plateau. If you normally eat 2,000 calories a day, eat 1,700 calories some days and 2,300 calories on other days so your body isn’t getting the same number of calories each day.
- Keep a food diary and record everything you eat to ensure you’re not consuming more calories than you think. Be sure to include every snack and every beverage you drink or it won’t be accurate. Some people unconsciously revert back to their old eating habits after they’ve lost a little weight.
- Make sure you’re sleeping at least 7 hours a night. Inadequate sleep can stall fat loss.
- We talked about cardio training, but strength-training is just as important to boost your resting metabolic rate.
- Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Your body has to expend more energy to break down protein so it subtly boosts your metabolic rate.
The Bottom Line?
When the fat loss slows and you still have a ways to go, shock your body by changing your cardio workout and avoid getting into a rut again by varying your routine. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
Science Daily. “Interval Training Burns More Fat, Increases Fitness, Study Finds”
American Council on Exercise. “Weight Loss Plateaus and Pitfalls”