Everyone has been there. You are in the first few months of training hard and eating well, and the weight is melting off. After a while, you may notice your progress start to taper until you reach a plateau. Ironically, most of the time when you reach a plateau, you may be working out and dieting harder than ever. Other times, it is just due to repeating the same routine that over time has lost effectiveness. Either way, don’t panic if you hit a plateau. It is very common and also easy to fix.
Apply these three tips to get you back on track:
1. Take a Week Off
If you keep training hard while enduring a weight loss plateau, it will only set you back further and put you at risk for overtraining. Taking a week off will allow your body to rest and recuperate, and you will be able to come back a week later with renewed vigor and motivation.
2. Switch it up
Try using different training techniques, new exercises, and switch up your sets and reps. If you are repeatedly doing the same workout (even if it worked great for the first several weeks) your body will adapt and become more efficient, which will make your progress come to a screeching halt. If you’re usually weight training, switch to yoga and running for a week or two and you will break out of your rut.
3. Have a Cheat Meal
I know, it sounds counterintuitive. In the same way that you want to introduce new exercises to your routine to stimulate the muscle fibers differently, you want to make sure your diet isn’t the same foods and calorie counts all the time. A cheat meal once per week can actually help you lose weight. What happens on a strict diet is that in the first few weeks, you will drop weight fast. The deficit in calories and absence of junk food will cause rapid weight loss. Over time your body will become accustomed to the new daily calorie counts, and your weight loss will begin to slow down. A cheat meal will not only give you a mental break, but it will boost your metabolism by having you digest significantly more calories than usual. The key is to make sure your cheat meal doesn’t turn into a cheat day.
Parker is an internationally published fitness model and a contributing writer to Men’s Fitness and numerous other fitness magazines. You can get his tips and follow his progress here: Parker Cote