Weight loss plateau breaker
You want to lose weight and get a flat stomach so you start watching what you eat. You start to do regular exercise. Your new mantra is ‘move more, eat less’. The needle on your bathroom scales tracks the pounds you are losing every week. Your friends and family start to notice the difference. The weeks turn into months as you continue to make progress.
Then one day you check the scales and they refuse to budge. You wait a week and check the scales again. Still no move. You feel discouraged and depressed. You have hit a weight loss plateau. You need a weight loss plateau breaker. Let me share my top tips with you:
Don’t lift light, lift heavy
You should be incorporating strength training in your exercise routine. Strength training is essential because it builds lean muscle. Lean muscle raises your metabolic rate which is the rate at which your body burns calories. The higher your metabolic rate the more calories your body will burn, even when you are sitting down or lying in bed.
Unfortunately too many people make the mistake of lifting light weights for many reps, possibly even using pink fluffy dumbbells. You are not going to build muscle if you are doing 20 reps of a light weight. I recommend lifting a weight which is heavy enough that you can only lift 5 reps. 5 reps is the optimum rep range for building lean muscle for a slim and toned physique. This approach is common for athletes who need to build strength without bulk.
Increase the weight you lift over time
The purpose of lifting weights is to build muscle. If you are lifting the same weight week after week you are not building muscle, you are maintaining the muscle you have. You need to gradually increase the weights you are lifting to build your muscle. Dumbbells are the ideal equipment for weightlifting as they can are safe and can be used at home.
I do not recommend fixed weight dumbbells as you cannot adjust the weight. Get an adjustable dumbbell set comprising of a bar with spinlock collars and different weight plates.
Turbo charge your cardio with High Intensity Interval Training
If your cardio workout is going for an hour’s jog around the park or on the treadmill this can certainly help you lose weight. However there is a much more effective way. High Intensity Interval Training [HIIT] involves alternating short intervals of sprinting and jogging. Because your body is working so hard, HIIT workouts are very brief, lasting around 20 minutes or less.
However, because HIIT workouts are so intense, your body continues burning calories for up to 48 hours after your workout which is known as the ‘afterburn effect’. With gentle exercise like jogging, your body does not continue burning calories after the workout. When you include the afterburn effect, the total calories you burn from a HIIT session can be up to 9 times as much as you would have burnt in an hour’s of jogging.
Avoid fast energy release foods
Fast energy release foods are digested rapidly by your body causing a spike in your blood sugar level. Your body cannot burn up this sudden surge of sugar and it is stored as fat. After the food has been digested your blood sugar levels will crash leading you to experience hunger pangs and food cravings.
Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta and white rice are fast energy release foods and should be avoided. Foods with added sugar like candy and sodas are even worse and will sending your blood sugar levels through the roof. It is important to note that fruit juices and smoothies are fast energy releasing as the fruit sugars are highly concentrated in the juicing process.
You can make good progress if you do nothing else but eliminate fast energy release foods. A recent study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that soda drinkers lost weight merely by switching to sugar free drinks.
Eat slow energy release foods
Slow energy release foods are digested slowly by your body and produce a sustained source of energy for your body throughout the day. They will banish hunger pangs and allow your body to naturally regulate your food intake.
Protein takes long to digest and stops you feeling hunger pangs by suppressing a hormone in the stomach called ghrelin which stimulates appetite. Protein is also essential for building lean muscle. I recommend that you eat protein with every meal and snack. Good sources of protein are chicken, eggs and nuts.
Fruits and vegetables are excellent slow energy release foods. They are high in fibre and your body takes long to digest them. The best vegetables to eat are dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale.
Whole grains are also high in fibre and digested slowly by your body. Brown rice, brown pasta and oats are good examples of whole grains that will give you slow releasing energy throughout the day.
Ditch the scales and use a tape measure
If you are following my advice you will be losing body fat and replacing it with lean muscle. Now muscle is more dense that fat and is actually 10% heavier than fat. So your lack of progress on the bathroom scales may be because you are replacing your body fat with muscle.
So how should you track your progress?
The best way to track your progress is to measure your waist. A good proportion your body’s excess fat is stored around the waist. As you progress you should feel the fat burning off your stomach revealing the muscle tone you are developing underneath. Your waist measurement will reduce as the excess fat is eliminated. If you commit to my weight loss plateau breaker tips you will make consistent and steady progress. In time you will develop a lean body with a flat stomach. You will look and feel amazing.