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Powering Through a Weight Loss Plateau

January 4th, 2010 Comments off

A change of pace can reignite your metabolism

When people are trying to lose weight - no matter how valiant their efforts - there often comes a time when the scale stops moving. It’s known as a weight loss plateau and it happens to the best of us.

There are a few reasons for plateaus. When our bodies weigh more they are forced to work harder, meaning they burn more calories. So as we lose weight our bodies inevitably begin to burn fewer calories during the same activities.

The calorie burn of aerobic activity is further reduced if our bodies become used to a cardio routine. Only if the body stays challenged will it continue to burn calories at the same rate.

Best ways to beat a weight loss plateau
Before you decide to restrict your diet, make some changes to your fitness routine. If you don’t already lift weights, now is definitely the time to start. When you build muscle your metabolism speeds up. If you build enough muscle while losing weight your metabolic rate may not even decline.

Compound resistance training moves - If you spend most of your time in the weight room doing isolation exercises, such as leg and bicep curls and decline bench crunches, you’re missing out on what compound exercises have to offer. By doing one set of deadlifts you’re working not just your glutes, but your hamstrings, lower back, abs and more. It’s the perfect way to challenge your body without spending any extra time in the gym.
• Superset your strength training
- Supersets are when you move from one strength training set to the next with 30 seconds or less rest time. Some people simplify this method by doing a circuit. They perform one set of each exercise in their routine and repeat the circuit up to two more times. Switching just one of your weekly strength training sessions to supersets can be enough to get your body burning again.
Switch up cardio - Even if your cardio involves a strenuous 40 minute elliptical session, five days a week, at some point your body will become efficient at it, burning less calories as a result. That’s where cardio variation comes in. Try switching to the treadmill or stationary bike one or two days a week, or use more than one cardio machine during a single cardio session. When using the elliptical try choosing a different preset program than you’re used to and switch between workouts that are low, moderate and high intensity. One of the best ways to beat a plateau is by incorporating intervals, which can mean alternating between brisk walking, jogging and running during the workout.

Before you get too concerned, ask yourself if you’ve really stopped losing weight. It might be as little as a fourth of a pound a week, but it’s still something - 12 pounds a year to be exact.