Fitness Friday: Plateau

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – You’ve been exercising consistently– lifting weights, running on the treadmill, watching what you eat, but lately you’re not seeing any changes. It’s safe to say you may have hit a plateau. WINK News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm is here with his tips to help you out.

Reasons for Weight-Loss Plateaus
Leaner Body Needs Fewer Calories
The main reason people experience weight-loss plateaus is that their new, leaner bodies require fewer calories to maintain their weight when compared to their previous calorie needs at a heavier weight. When you initially reduce your caloric intake, you drop weight quickly.
Muscle Loss Slows Metabolism
Another reason people experience plateaus is that they are losing muscle, which torches calories. This is especially true if they lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolism slows down. This translates to fewer calories burned performing the same activities you had at a heavier weight. With continued weight loss, you need to exercise more or consume less in order to continue to create a calorie deficit that will lead to further weight loss.
You’re Not Assessing What You’re Doing
Think for a second: Where did you get your fitness program? Often, training is not realistic or does not match to the person’s capabilities. If this could be you, ask an exercise professional to look over your training program or devise one for you. I provide comprehensive medically based fitness assessments to all of my health club members and physical therapy patients where a custom workout program is developed. You have to track your workouts in order to properly progress. This goes for tracking your food as well. If you bite it, WRITE it in your food log.
You’re Not Eating Enough
Pushing yourself to your max without fueling correctly can definitely be the cause of a plateau. It could even force you to go backwards. Your muscles are quitting on you because they’re not getting proper recovery time or enough energy for them to rebuild to become leaner. If you don’t eat enough, your body will hold onto fat in to protect your heart and body. Instead, reevaluate your nutrition plan and make sure it correlates to your training.
You’re Not Doing What Will Help You Reach Your Goals
If you’re looking to build up your strength, be sure your training focuses on that. There can be a downside to adding in days of running or biking just because you think you need to. When it comes to resistance training, too much cardio can cause a plateau where concurrent training of cardio and weights performed frequently on a weekly basis have negative effects on strength and muscle development. If your focusing on strength gains, have your program cater to that.
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
One of the most overlooked things that can cause a plateau disaster is not getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, which puts you in a state of stress, which can cause belly fat gain. It’s important for your muscles to recover so that they can grow and become stronger over time.
You’re Not Tracking Your Progress
The best way to notice an issue or a gain is to keep track of your progress week after week. Patterns can be found in almost everything we do, and these can be useful for identifying our readiness for training. You can begin by tracking things like resting heart rate, sleep, and mood, using your smartphone. If your numbers indicate low, elevated, or inconsistent patterns, it may be time to adjust training intensity or duration.
You’re Not Hydrating Enough
You know it’s good to drink water, but not doing it could actually be the cause of your plateau. The most common cause of peaking during workouts is not being fully hydrated. As you change your exercise program to break out of a plateau, the changes you make in your workout routine won’t be fully realized unless you feed your cells with water, water, water—plus, good carbs. Be sure to drink and hydrate before, during, and after training.


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