Whether your aim is to lose weight, to get ripped, to feel good in a bathing suit or to better your health, there can often be a few roadblocks that keep our progress at a plateau. Let’s take a closer look at some sneaky culprits that can undermine your fitness goals and talk about some ways to bust through that plateau.
- You’re not having fun. Chances are, if you’re not enjoying yourself while working out, you’re less likely to give it your all and less likely to stick with it. If you’re only focusing on extrinsic factors (like looking good at the pool) your workouts may become repetitive and boring. And while extrinsic factors might get us off our couches initially, this study explains that that kind of motivation can be short-lived. Intrinsic factors – like enjoying exercise– contribute more to adhering to a program in the long-term.
- You’re flying solo. Finding it tough to drag yourself to the gym or to dig deep on that last set of squats? This study shows that motivation to work harder increases with a partner. Plus, performance more than doubles when we are pushed by someone else … as opposed to working out solo. The best way to push past a plateau is to team up with a personal trainer who can keep you accountable, motivate you to work to your full potential and customize workouts that are enjoyable.
- You’re not drinking enough H2O. Being even slightly dehydrated can wreck havoc on your metabolism. That’s why it’s important to keep drinking – even if you don’t feel Also, dehydration can sometimes be misinterpreted as hunger, causing you to pack in unnecessary calories. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Keep a container with you at all times, and make sure to increase your ounces on workout days.
- You’re not eating often enough. Skipping meals or eating too few calories if you’re working out hard can make for a sluggish metabolism. To keep your metabolism humming, aim to fuel up every 2 to 3 hours with healthy food, and don’t forget to feed your muscles post-workout.
- You’re relying only on cardio. If you’re slogging through hours of cardio and still not losing weight or gaining muscle, it might be time to mix it up a bit with HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training). HIIT is done at 85 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate, alternates periods of intense and moderate activity, and is often more effective at burning fat than steady state exercise (like jogging or cycling). A study showed that those who did HIIT (as opposed to steady state exercise) had superior end results of more fat burned and weight lost. Not sure where to begin? Start here.
- You’re not sleeping enough. Skimping on either quality or quantity of sleep can drain energy and motivation, causing poor performance during workouts. It can even make you fat by altering the hormones that control hunger, causing us to crave more carbs and fats – and ultimately making us overeat. Aim for 8 solid hours of sleep per night.
- You’re letting stress get you down. Stress is a normal part of life, but if it’s not dealt with in a healthful way, it can seriously derail fitness and weight loss goals. By not offloading stress properly, cortisol can build up in the body, which often shows up as stubborn belly fat. Meditation, deep breathing and mindful walking/running are just a few ideas to get you on a more peaceful path.
- You don’t have a plan. Sure, moving more and eating less are the best ways to lose weight and get in shape, but doing those things only when you feel like it won’t give you the results you want. You need consistency, motivation, a workout specific for your body type … and, let’s be honest here, efficiency (because who has time for hours at the gym?). The best and simplest way to achieve those ideals is to partner up with someone professionally trained to show you the ropes.