I've seen my share of plateau's as a personal trainer, coach, athlete and my personal routine. Hitting the wall with your times, weight loss, or fitness numbers. But, the majority of them have never actually been a plateau. It's more about complacency.
A plateau means that you are working your plan exactly as it's written. You are following your food and fitness plan to a “T” and you are pushing yourself each and every workout. After 6-8 weeks you will find that workout has gotten too easy. It's time to change it up so you can continue to get the ultimate results for your time spent. THAT is normal and that is a plateau. This is why trainers and coaches keep track of things for you. There's a science behind it.
However, many aren't doing the above as described. It's not about a plateau, it's about not following through on the plan.
If your weight loss has stalled then you need to take a good hard look at what you are doing. When you started your weight loss journey I hope you went into it with a strict plan. You figured out your food and you have your workouts figured out for each week and each day. After a few weeks or a few months, it's very common to fall off of this plan. Here is where the complacency might be the actual issue.
My biggest suggestion is always to track your food. 98% of the time this is where the problem is. You “think” you are still on track. It's amazing how many little things you may have let creep back into your day. Too many condiments, a pop here and there, not enough water or you're portions have creeped back up. Take two days and really keep track of everything you put in your mouth, food and drink. I love MyFitnessPal for keeping track of food because it also breaks down nutrients.
If you think it's your workouts then this is an easier fix. Keep track of your workouts on the calendar. Unless you look at your phone calendar often each day, I suggest keeping track on a physical calendar on the wall. You need that reminder in your face of how many workouts you've accomplished. It will also help to know that others in the house will see it. Then when you are doing those workouts you need to make sure you are putting 110% into them. Don't just go through the motions, make that time you put in count.
If you are doing all of those things and you're still stagnate in your weight loss, then you are in a plateau. There are quite a few ways to fix this!
- Depending on your diet plan, raise your protein a little more and lower that fat and carb ratio. It's impossible for me to go into specifics without knowing your plan. For example you may be doing 50% carb, 30% protein, 20% fat. If you find that you may need some more energy than that, up the carb to 60%, lower the fat to 15% and the protein to 25%. Typically it's the carb ratio is too high, then you'll want to get more protein and lower your carbs.
- Change your carbs if you didn't earlier. Go to low glycemic index (GI) carbs like quinoa and brown rice. Take out all the white sugars, white flours and processed foods. These low GI carbs take longer to break down and give you more sustainable energy instead of the quick rush of sugars (energy) to your system.
- Add a cheat day in. You are just at a little stumbling block. Instead of falling off the wagon take 2 weeks and allow yourself to have a weekly cheat day. Don't go crazy on that day but give in to that cupcake.
- Change your workout. You should be doing a new workout every 6-8 weeks. This also means cardio. Your body adapts to the workouts. After a few weeks your body stops expending as many calories when doing the workouts. Your body has learned to conserve energy and do the workout more efficiently. Changing your workout then forces it to adapt to something else. Changing your workouts could mean a whole new training program or you could add more weight, increase your reps, increase your time on cardio or distance OR you need to speed up your cardio. For example if I'm training for a race and have been for quite some time then I need to run either faster or farther to get the same benefits I did at the beginning of training.
There are so many options for how to get over a plateau. The hardest part is recognizing it and not letting it ruin your motivation. It's going to happen. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose then it's probably going to happen more than once. Be prepared for it so you can move past it quicker.
Are you looking for a plan to get your weight loss going or to get out of a plateau? Start with the Advocare 24-day Jumpstart. I include a personalized fitness plan for all my customers.
How have you worked through a plateau?
PS – change up your plan and be accountable. Join the 6 Week Fitness Mission today.
PS – I find my fitbit helps me stay accountable daily. Even my husband will ask here and there what my step count is 🙂