Good morning! Hope your day is off to a good start. Things are going well in this neck of the woods.
I have received a few questions from readers regarding a good way to work through a plateau, and thought I would share some of my suggestions.
While I am a certified nutrition coach, please be sure to discuss any changes with your doctor if you have any medical conditions.
What is a Plateau?
A plateau will typically happen after you have been following the same routine for a while. You may get great results in the beginning, and those will often begin to level off. You are working just as hard without any noticeable gains. It can be frustrating, and also often lead to backsliding because you feel like you goals are out of reach.
No matter what your age or weight this can happen to anyone. A lot of change is mental and rests in our attitude. We often are so focused on where we want to go that we do not see how far we have come. Take a few minutes to write down every success you have had. It can be that you ate a healthy breakfast 5 out of 7 mornings last week, you can lift more or run further. Maybe the scale has not moved, but your clothes fit better or you have more energy.
Everything is part of the bigger picture!
Here are some tips
Sleep is a really large factor in breaking through a plateau. Studies have shown that being overtired can make you more hungry and decrease will power for tempting snacks. It also can be hard to get up to workout or push yourself to go to the gym after work.
Getting enough rest is also huge in managing cortisol or stress levels. When we have a lot of stress we often develop extra fat deposits that tend to stick to our abdomen or middle section. Sleeping 7-8 hours a night will help to keep you functioning optimally.
2. Decrease Cardio/Increase Strength Training
It has been show that muscle burns calories at rests than fat. Cardio is an important part of the puzzle of course. However, adding another day of strength training or switching out a cardio routine for a strength based one will lead you towards your goals. Of course, it may not initially feel that way, but hours of cardio on end is just not the answer. If you are lifting weights take it up a notch and add more resistance.
3. Drink More Water
In order for a good nutrition plan & exercise to be truly effective, you need to maintain a proper hydration levels as well. This way the body fat released into the bloodstream due to exercise can be broken down and used as energy to repair, and fueling with the right foods will have provided us with protein that breaks down into the amino acids we require to use as the building blocks of muscle and to aid in the repair of those worked muscles.
So drink up! At least 8 cups a day.
4. Increase Whole Foods
Do not rely too heavily on protein shakes, snacks or bars. One small protein shake is fine after a workout, and one bar a day is appropriate. I like bars too, but it is easy to eat more than you should! Your meals should almost always consist of whole foods (produce, proteins and healthy fats).
5. Get Your Protein
Protein is essential for building muscle. You should be eating your bodyweight in protein every day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds then you should be eating 130 grams of protein. Of course, there will be days when you do not meet that goal, but that should be your general guideline. Chicken, fish, eggs, beans and Greek yogurt are great sources. Sunwarrior Protein Powder is made of rice, and it is my current favorite.
I hope this helps a bit!
Question of the Morning: Have you ever hit a plateau? What actions steps did you take?
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