You’ve been working hard for awhile now. You saw some results at first but now things seem to have stalled out and you’re not losing fat at the same rate you once were. Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. Millions of people feel the same way. Stalling out physically can also stall your motivation if you feel you aren’t achieving your goals fast enough. Don’t despair. Make these 3 changes to reignite your gains:
- EAT MORE PROTEIN. If you follow this blog, this will sound familiar. Adding additional protein into your diet will help you in a multitude of ways. First, It will help with building and repairing muscle. Having more muscle will increase the intensity you can train at, thereby increasing the number of calories you burn during a session. Secondly, protein takes awhile to digest. Digesting any macronutrient costs energy. The term for this is the “thermic effect of food.” Protein has the highest thermic effect on the digestive system. It’s siege warfare vs. the body’s quick strike on carbs. In other words, eating lean protein will actually cause you to burn fat. Lastly, building off the previous point, having a slow-digesting food in your stomach will help you feel more satisfied throughout the day. You won’t have random snack-binges full of carbohydrates that kill your diet.
- VARY YOUR ROUTINE… BUT NOT TOO MUCH. This is sort of a Goldilocks and the 3 Bears deal and we all typically fall into one of 3 categories. Some people hit plateaus in their progress because they do the same workouts every day, week after week. Your body naturally becomes more efficient at an activity over time and expends less energy to perform. Others stall because the next workout comes out of left field and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to their week-to-week routine. When you change the exercises every day, it becomes difficult to gain technical proficiency at any of them, which can lead to stalling the intensity you train at. The third category is the happy middle ground. You want to have a plan based on your goals. Play around with the intensity, varying it each day, and mix up your modalities on a daily basis. Nobody needs to run every day and you should participate in at least one strength training workout weekly. Again, more muscle means the ability to train at a higher intensity, thereby burning more calories in a session.
- REMOVE RUNNING FROM YOUR ROUTINE. This could almost be included in #2. I’m no a huge fan of running. Unless, you’re a capable runner (most of us aren’t), you’re doing damage to your joints for long periods of time. Eventually, this will lead to injury and lost time. Furthermore, long steady-state running paces are easy for your body to get used to. Once it becomes acclimated, it will stop using as much energy to run the same distance in the same amount of time. Lastly, steady state aerobic activity of any kind only burns calories for as long as you’re participating in it. Instead of running, try repeated sprints if you’re near your target weight. If you want something lower impact, try a weight circuit using only “lighter” dumbbells. This way, you’ll be able to train at an incredible intensity, while providing yourself rest time to recover. The benefit of this is that your body will be in “fat burning mode” for long after you put down the last weight.