Many who follow a fitness and exercise regime at some point hit a plateau – and progress stalls. Even after weeks or months of success, it seems to stop, despite us not changing anything. However, not changing anything may be the exact cause of the plateau. Christopher Lee, a Buffalo fitness trainer, explains how to get off that plateau and restart progress.
How to Overcome a Fitness Plateau
As your body becomes accustomed to the calories you consume and the level of activity you do, your metabolism decreases, and we need to jump-start it again. Following are some ways to give your body the extra kick it needs to push past that plateau:
Cut More Calories
No one should consume fewer than 1,200 per day, so if you still have room to trim some, do so. Don’t go below that 1,200 calorie mark, however. Eating fewer than 1,200 calories each day increases your risk of overeating because that amount of calories isn’t enough to stop you from feeling hungry.
Turn Up the Heat on Your Workout
The average person should exercise at least 30 minutes each day, five days a week. Anyone trying to push past a plateau needs to work out for more than their usual time. If you can’t take a longer workout, Lee recommends increasing the level of activity and calories burned during the regular workout session time.
Do More Activity Outside the Gym
Calorie burning doesn’t just stop once you walk out the gym door. Do extra activity at other times during the day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do more yard work, etc. The extra calories you burn doing little different things will add up nicely and kick your body off that plateau.
Reassess Your Habits
Lee explains that it can be all too easy to loosen the rules without really realizing you’re doing so. He recommends that everyone keep a food and activity journal. That way, we can look back through it to see if we’ve slipped up here and there or loosened those rules. For example, have you let yourself get away with less exercise lately? Have you been eating more calories lately? Research has shown that relaxing the rules now and then can contribute to plateaus.
The worst thing you can do is let a plateau turn into a sinkhole. Instead, be honest with yourself and analyze your recent habits and what you could do to change your caloric intake and activity level.
About Christopher Lee, Buffalo New York Fitness Trainer
Christopher Lee operates out of Buffalo, New York. His training methods focus on the importance of science-based nutrition and injury prevention in achieving fitness goals. When he’s not working, you can find him practicing martial arts, at a hot yoga class, or spending time with family and friends.