Plateau- The bad 7 letter word!!

I get asked about Plateaus a lot and a simple answer is that a plateau is our bodies way of protecting ourselves from ourselves. At some point in your journey to becoming fit you will hit a plateau.

The human body works very hard to keep energy intake and output in balance. Our bodies don’t like to lose weight, weird eh? Having weight(fat) on our bodies has been a survival mechanism for years. In times of famine, in winter our ancestors needed that extra 10 pounds of fat to survive.
After your initial weight loss, your progress will start to slow down and eventually stop even though your exercise and food intake is consistent.  Consistency than becomes the problem.
There are many reasons why plateaus happen.

Problem 1. Eating too Few Calories.

Why: You need to eat!! Our bodies need the fuel, would you attempt a road trip on fumes in your gas tank? When you decrease your food intake, your body lowers its metabolic rate it does this so the body to function properly(cell repair,heart and brain function etc….) but ultimately your body requires fewer calories which creates hunger and prevents you from losing fat.When your body thinks it’s starving it stores EVERYTHING as fat because fat keeps us alive. That’s the survival instinct I was talking about earlier.
Keep your caloric intake slightly below your maintenance calories (BMR) so that your energy and metabolism remain high. Never have a deficit above 700 calories (ever).A deficit greater than 700 calories makes it very difficult to maintain your lean body mass, because when your body is hungry it starts to eat away at the amino acids found in your cells. Google BMR calculator so you can find out how many calories you can have.


Problem 2. Loss of lean body mass
Why? Muscle burns twice as many calories as fat does, maybe you’re not lifting enough weights?  Loss of muscle mass happens as we age in fact anything over the age of 25 can be an uphill struggle to keep muscle mass.

Make sure your exercise program is combined with a fully nourished body, Check out the food guide make sure your consuming all three macro nutrients (Protein, Fats and Carbs) By choosing an all-round healthy diet rich in fruits veggies,dairy and proteins you can create a safe calorie deficit.  

Problem 3. Weight loss

How can weight loss cause a plateau? Well similar to knowing you BMR the less you weight the less calories you need a day(the lighter the vehicle the less gas it uses). 

Revisit your BMR, calculate it again and adjust your calories as needed.

Problem 4. “The Postman Syndrome”

Why? Our bodies respond best to change, have you been doing the same workout since day 1 of your routine? Because of the constant changes our bodies compensate by burning extra calories. Eventually your body will adapt to the same repetitive workload and you wont burn the extra calories you used to.

Keep your body on its toes, it takes roughly 6 weeks for your body to get used to an exercise. Maintain the guessing game and constantly adjust F.I.T.T. Frequency,Intensity, Time and Type.

Problem 6: Over-training:

Why?  When you constantly train hard all day everyday your body can’t keep up with the cellular repair and muscle repair. Our bodies rebuild at rest, and if your body can’t build lean muscle mass it can’t burn calories as efficiently.

Take sometime to recover. if you feel a burnout coming take a day or 2 off, if your already at the burnout point than take a week off of exercise(still eat healthy). it gives your body time to repair and should re-energize your zest for exercise.

7. Enhanced Physical Condition
You could just be in really good shape all ready.

Solution: There isn’t one really, just keep at it, you have reached the top of the mountain and your health is at its peak. This could mean a lower resting metabolic and heart rate ( good thing). Just keep on doing what you love.


2 responses to “Plateau- The bad 7 letter word!!

  1. Great info, thank you. I am going to address my plateau with your suggestions.

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