So you've been working out all summer. While everyone is relaxing by the pool, you've been making waves. When everyone was out having fun, you were knocking yourself out in the hotel fitness center. While your neighbors were buzzing around on their riding mowers, you were pushing yours and clipping hedges by hand with the sweat pouring down your face.Now your weight is at a standstill. It hasn't budged for weeks. Is that the thanks your body gives you for all your hard work? Not only that, you don't feel good anymore. What gives?
It's possible you over-trained. Good, hard workouts are great for losing weight and getting great muscle definition. But training hard requires more rest than the basic cardio and weight machine workout If you are doing HIIT, Tabbata,Bootcamp or Crossfit workouts, be sure to get adequate rest. Never do them two days in a row for two reasons: 1) risk of injury greatly increases and 2) you will begin to feel ill and lack your normal zip. The reason for rest is to give your body the time to rebuild muscle fibers you just broke down in your workout.This is a tip from the heavy lifters because they have this down very well. Rest is the interlude between activity and success.
Another reason you may have hit your plateau is because you need to make changes to your workout plan. The pitfall of working out regularly after work is routine keeps you going to the gym. You know if you stop anywhere except the gym, you will just go home. On a rest day, take the time to plot out changes in your workouts.Think them through while you are doing your cardio so you can put them into practice the next workout session.Try these things to help your self get back in your zone:
Change your workout patterns.
For example, if you are doing a regular weight routine with the body areas assigned to days, try putting in a full body day or a functional training routine. Rearrange your days so you don't overdo the muscle groups being worked.
Change how you do your cardio.
If there is a track in your gym, the push off phase will rev your workout up if you alternate it with the treadmill. The treadmill is often underutilized. You can do Fartlek training which means you go as hard as you can until you are exhausted, then drop it down into a low jog or walk. There is no timing involved, just your listening to your body. This will allow you to find out better what your body can do and where it struggles. You can also take up a different form of cardio.The elliptical will challenge you differently as will Jacob's Ladder than the treadmill.
Take a break.
What? Yes, take a one or two week break from your routine.Do only cardio during that time. Keep it light. This works great if you are on vacation. Adjust your food intake down by 250-500 calories because it won't require the extra fuel your HIIT workouts require, but don't go below 1,200 calories per day, ladies, or 1,500 for men. Then begin a totally new routine or exercise venue. This will stoke the fire again.
Examine your food intake.
Our bodies need 10-35% of total calorie intake of lean protein. Dieters often cut this down too low for fear of gaining weight. Plant-based proteins are great for weight loss. Try soy, quinoa, amaranth, or hemp seed. These are all complete proteins. Also, eggs are getting a bad rap nowadays. They are a great source of protein. Set up your meals so they are supporting your higher energy times, but are lighter during lower energy times. Cut out simple sugars and carbs like corn syrup , white sugar and white flours, sugar alcohols (look on nutrition label), Avoid trans fats, saturated fats, and processed foods. Keep healthy oils in your diet. Increase whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Just a few simple changes will help you punch through your plateau. You will be glad you did!
May God bless you!
Images: top, by MattSkogen on Pixabay. bottom, by Emma Hall on Unsplash.