Lets face it, plateaus suck. You’re working your butt off each day, staying consistent with your exercise, and eating just as you should be. Progress is coming along great. You’re losing a solid couple pounds each week on the scale. There’s actually a noticeable difference in your body when you look at yourself in the mirror. That’s when it gets exciting, but then WHAM! Your body basically says, “Sorry sucker, I’m done losing weight.” You go a solid couple of weeks without an ounce of change in body weight and there aren’t any noticeable differences showing through the mirror anymore. What the heck happened? You were still doing everything you were before, so why did your body plateau?
There are many different reasons as to why your fat loss can stall. Today we’re going to cover the main reasons I see with my clients and guide you on how to bust through it.
Lets get into it.
#1. Have any variables changed to your diet since you were making progress?
- You may not realize it, but a lot of the time when progress starts to come along we tend to sometimes let off the gas a bit. Maybe you started eating out a little more often? I never tell my clients they can’t have meals out, but it’s important to realize that when you do eat out the variability in your food intake rises. Just because you think you know the exact macros to the meal you ordered doesn’t mean it’s correct. Your portion sizes are always going to vary at restaurants. The people preparing the food can always add a little extra oil here, less meat there, etc. Over time that adds up and can mess up your progress! Get back to cooking the majority of your meals and weighing out the portion sizes so you know exactly what you are getting from each meal.
#2. Have you been getting in the same amount of training and cardio sessions as you were when you were making progress?
- If you’ve missed a couple weight lifting sessions, or haven’t got in as much cardio / activity as you were before, this will stall out progress in a hurry. You must realize that those workout sessions are a key factor to your success as you are burning a good amount of calories in each session that is helping create distance from your maintenance level of calories and producing fat loss. If you’ve missed a few sessions, get consistent with your exercise and see if your progress kicks back up.
#3. It’s time to drop your calorie intake and/or up your activity level.
- Alright, so your nutrition and exercise still seem to be intact. This means your body has most likely made significant enough changes that your maintenance level of calories has lowered. Remember in order to lose weight you must be in a consistent caloric deficit (-3500 calories = 1 lb of weight loss). In order to lose 1 lb each week you will need to eat 500 calories less than your maintenance level each day (-500 calories x 7 days = -3500 calories). With the math out of the way, the lesser amount of weight your body weighs, the lesser amount of calories your body requires. So, in order to create a more significant caloric deficit there are two options. You may add in extra cardio/activity sessions, or drop your daily food intake. If you choose to add in more cardio, I suggest to my clients adding in 1-2 more sessions each week at the same amount of time you are doing your other sessions currently. If you choose to drop your calorie intake instead, drop calories by 50-75 daily. If you are tracking carbs and fats, I suggest taking this deduction away from carbs. Keeping your protein intake the same will help with muscle retention, and keeping your fats at relatively normal levels will increase hormonal health. *If you do not track calories, make portion sizes from 1-2 meals smaller in carbohydrates each day (cut by roughly half). This will automatically drop your calorie intake for the day.
Hopefully I was able to give you a few ideas on how to bust through a stubborn plateau. The important thing is to not let the plateau get you discouraged. The last thing you want to happen is to get frustrated and give up. If there is a will, there’s a way. If you’re struggling and can’t push past a stall out, feel free to leave us a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.