5 Ways to Bust Through a Fitness PlateauArticle posted in: Fitness
Get up and get moving! It’s time to bust through that fitness plateau and show your body just how fun exercise can be. But exactly how do you bust through a fitness plateau?
Sometimes reevaluation and new motivation is all it takes to start losing weight again. What exactly do we mean by reevaluation? Well, if you’re still doing the same cardio workout you began six months ago, you’re due for a change. Your body has become accustomed to the work and you’re burning less calories. What do we mean by motivation? Find a buddy who’s following a similar diet or who can join you for a workout; friends can push you to keep going. Here are a few more ideas on how to move past a plateau. Just keep your chin up—you’ll get through it!
Check out five tips to bust through that fitness plateau and keep moving:
1. Go Back to the Basics.
Have you stopped food journaling? Recording your daily water intake? Did you put away your food scale? It’s easy to forget about that extra slice of cheese you had at lunch if you don’t write it down. It’s also easy to eat four or five ounces of chicken for dinner because it looks like a three-ounce serving. Those who carefully document what they eat on a daily basis are more likely to eat less than those who don’t journal, according to the International Journal of Consumer Studies. So open your South Beach Tracker App, get back in the habit and see if any red flags start to appear. If so, you know what to fix. If not, you’ll know the problem is not your diet but your exercise routine and/or water intake.
2. Try Tabata.
In 1995, Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata found that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which combines periods of very heavy effort with rest or low intensity recovery, is as effective as moderate-intensity continuous training and, as noted in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine study, resulted in a 28 percent increase in anaerobic capacity among subjects. Bottom line: Even if you only exercise intensely for a few minutes at a time, you’ll actually burn more calories and get more out of your workout. From Tabata timers to actual HIIT workouts, there are some terrific options out there to help you embrace this style of exercise.
3. Work with a Personal Trainer.
From motivation and education to exercises that will challenge your body, personal trainers are paid to help you meet your fitness goals. Sure, you can find—and implement—effective workouts on your own. But when you reach a fitness plateau, it’s hard to know if you need more weights, more cardio or if you’re simply not doing enough of either. A personal trainer can help you get to the root of your plateau and suggest exercises that you may actually enjoy and look forward to—like rowing, weight training, or Bikram yoga. He or she can also hold you accountable so you’re not as likely to skip a workout or call it a day after just 20 minutes.
4. Try Adding MCT Oil to Your Diet.
MCT oil is a tasteless, odorless distillation made from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, or dairy products like milk and butter. As soon as MCTs reach the gut they’re sent to the liver where fats are broken down for energy or storage. MCTs can easily enter cells without being broken down so they become instant energy for your body and brain. Instant energy, according to an April 2009 study published in the Nutritional Journal of Science and Vitaminology, can lead to a better workout. Researchers found that cyclists who ate two teaspoons of MCT oil with food before exercising were able to work out longer at a higher intensity and had less lactic acid buildup which leads to fatigue, muscle pain or nausea. The study also suggests that MCT oil may help you burn more fat for energy.
5. You’re Losing Fat But Gaining Muscle.
If you’re strength training, there’s a good chance your body is building muscle and losing fat. How can you know for sure? Get off the scale and try measuring your waist circumference. Paying close attention to the way your clothes fit can also help you determine if you’re gaining fat or muscle. Whatever you do, don’t stop strength training because a scale tells you you’re heavier. Weights build muscle and help strengthen bones, helping you live a longer life, says Harvard Health. Strength training can also help prevent metabolic slowdown so you’re less likely to plateau again.