Powering Through Plateaus "10 Tips that Might Help"

Powering Through Plateaus

Powering Through Plateaus 

  1. Routine is the enemy: To really change your body, your training must be consistently intense and varied. If you do the same class every day, your body is going to adapt. You must keep creating a challenging stimulus so your body can’t get too accustomed to what you’re giving it. Change happens outside your comfort zone.
  2. Strength training is required: Stop doing hours of cardio and back-to-back indoor cycling classes. Focus on building lean muscle mass so that your body becomes a lean, mean burning machine. Chronic cardio can remove muscle mass (fast twitch) and increase cortisol levels, causing you to store fat. When seeing patients I like to use the example for my cardio exercising fanatics “stop turning your body into this super energy efficient machine by doing cardio – ultimately this will cause you to burn and use calories more efficiently which will slow down weight loss”  “Sort of like a Toyota Prius hybrid car (great gas mileage) I want you to be a top fuel dragster (poor gas mileage = more fuel burned).
  3. Increase your intensity: Perhaps you are diligent about switching up your routine, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. Here’s a possible solution: Lift heavier and/or go faster. Instead of doing a million reps at a low weight, try doing more weight for fewer reps. Similarly, instead of doing your standard run switch it up with sprints instead. Better yet – do your high intensity strength training followed by a slow cardio exercise to burn off the fat you mobilized with strength training.
  4. Prioritize protein: To build lean muscle mass, you must fuel your body with protein to create an anabolic foundation. Eat some high-quality protein with every meal, along with healthy portions of veggies. During the weight loss phase focus on 0.5 mg of protein per kg of body weight not to exceed 21 grams of protein per meal. Interested in building muscle and not focused on weight loss? Increased protein to 1.5 mg per kg of body weight and space those meals out not to exceed 26-30 grams of protein per 3-4 hrs.
  5. Ditch the processed foods: Say no to fake food, and yes to nutrient-dense whole foods. If it comes in a package, a bag or a box, steer clear. And don’t forget that real food doesn’t have ingredients—it is an ingredient. Remember these the more time humans have touched a food your eating the less nutrient-dense it is. As an example: fresh vegetables are better than frozen, frozen is better than canned.
  6. Tailor your intake to meet your nutritional and caloric needs: Perhaps you have already dialed in your diet, but are still in a fat-loss slump. Take a closer look at all those bites, nibbles, tastes and snacks you may be mindlessly consuming. Raw nuts, avocado and almond butter are great healthy options, but you still need to keep an eye on your portion sizes.
  7. Hydrate: Your body cannot perform optimally if it doesn’t have enough water. While coconut water and tea add to your overall fluid intake, don’t forget to drink plenty of plain water as well to make sure you’re meeting the recommended daily intake.
  8. Get enough sleep: Adequate rest is just as important as nutrition and fitness. If your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, you simply won’t get the results you want.
  9. Don’t overdo it: Sometimes plateaus show up when we are overtraining. Look at your fitness schedule. Are you sore all the time? Do you allow your body to recover by implementing full rest days? Remember, rest days are essential to allow your body to build the lean muscle mass you are working so hard to achieve. Rest days can include physical activity. Many times a day after a hard workout the body will benefit greatly from a 30-45 min slow aerobic activity to promote blood flow and healing from the previous day. “Slow” is key for a recovery workout.
  10. Have fun: The best exercise is the one you are actually going to do. The most important part about any fitness regimen is consistency. Find something you actually enjoy doing and then give it everything you have. Ideally, it becomes a positive outlet that empowers you to be better, both in and out of the gym.
Author
David J. Bauder, PA-C David Bauder, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant and the medical director at Weight Loss and Vitality in Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC. He enjoys helping patients optimize their physical and mental health to improve their overall well-being. He earned his physician assistant degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Afterward, he gained admission into the reputable graduate program for physician assistant studies at the University of Nebraska Health Science Center in Omaha. David has over 25 years of experience working as a physician assistant. He’s practiced in podiatry, family medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, urgent care, and functional medicine.

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