"Mikey, I can't seem to shake this weight loss plateau. I've dropped (insert number of lbs of fat) and I can't seem to get past that. Any suggestions?" - I've been asked that or something similar dozens of times.
I think I've written a post or two about it before, but when the alarm at 4 AM went off this morning, I knew this was what I was going to write for you since I've been approached by it through email or visits at my gym a lot recently. It was either this or the fact that I'm going to win my first fantasy football game since week 1. That's right, homie. Holla'!!
Insert awkward silence here - "Awkward Silence"
We've all hit the dreaded weight loss plateau. It happens. It even happened to me. You're doing all the right things like eating better, working out hard and getting plenty of rest. But you've hit a wall and you can't find a way around it.
Well, that's not cool. Good luck!
That was fun and awesome to type. But so are the tips below to help you break your weight loss plateau. Over the years as a trainer, I've discovered some cool ways to get around that annoying plateau. Some of it is basic common sense and you just needed it to be drilled into your head one more time before actually doing it, while some of it may take you out of your comfort zone.
Well, you can either stay comfortable in your comfy zone, or you can quit being a wuss and implement it, then finally be victorious in your quest of breaking your weight loss plateau. Let the wusses stay in the comfort zone. The comfort zone is not for you. Put on your gloves and let's go to war...
Sneaky Way 1 - Track your calories either by hand or through free resources like fitday.com. Is it annoying and a little time consuming? Yep. But if it was easy, wouldn't everybody be lean? Just sayin'. Sure, you may THINK you're bringing in 1500 calories, but once you plug in each and every bite you take and discover you're consuming 2000 calories, then you know what to adjust.
Sneaky Way 2 - Try intermittent fasting. There are several ways to do this. One of the popular ways is 24 hours off. Mondays are my fasting days and typically my most productive days. Another option is 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8 hour window of eating every day.
Sneaky Way 3 - Adjust your nutrition a little tighter. Simply replacing one of your starches for non-starchy veggies will reduce your calories by up to 200. Veggies don't have to be boring either. As a matter of fact, I got some awesome turkey chili with plenty of veggies in it in the fridge right now. As you lose fat, I don't care what the experts say, it does get tougher. But you just tweak and retweak and your weight loss will continue.
Sneaky Way 4 - Use total body workouts. Whether you have been on a body part split or an upper/lower split, if you incorporate total body workouts, you will give your body a nice shock and burn more calories. The key here is to use big, compound movements. I've got some sample routines at my blog. Even if you are short on time, you can still work your whole body.
Sneaky Way 5 - Staying active on your "off days". Even on the days when you're not working out, you can break a weight loss plateau by staying active on your off days. I've discovered that this works better for your mentality then it does for actual fat loss (and yes, it helps with fat loss... but more with your mentality... dang it, now I'm repeating myself and this is a long sentence between the parenthesis). When my clients (and including myself) stay active, I'm less tempted to splurge when I'm not supposed to. But burning a few more hundred calories is pretty cool, too. This can be done by going for a low-intensity walk or jog, playing with your kids, etc., etc.
Sneaky Way 6 - Switch your exercises to single limb movements. In other words, instead of squats, incorporate Bulgarian squats. Switch Romanian deadlifts for 1-legged Romanian deadlifts. Insead of the barbell row, switch to the 1-arm db row.
Tell knock-knock jokes to your favorite body parts.
I know that sounds freaky, but I wanted to make sure you're paying attention. (By the way it doesn't work, but it's still fun)
Sneaky Way 7 - Cheat. Yep, I said it. Cheat on your diet. Some people are so "gung-ho" that they forget to cut loose and enjoy life a little bit. When you're constantly on a calorie deficit (awesome, I sepelled deficit right!) Ha! Good one... you will probably find yourself struggling through your workouts and find yourself a little cranky. Plan a reward meal or two. It does wonders for your mentality and it can actually help you with your fat loss. You get the occasional boost as well as raise your leptin levels. That's a whole new post that I will not even type. A guest post perhaps is in order for that one...
Boom goes the "sneaky ways to bust through weight loss plateau" dynamite
That should help.
Mikey, CFNC, CTT
Mike Whitfield has been seen on the blogs of Men's Health, Times Union, and the AJC. He specializes in fat loss plateaus and jump starting a weight loss program using his specialized metabolic workout finishers. You can learn more about him and his story of losing 105 lbs at:
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