Hitting a Weight Loss Plateau | WHY?
..... you go and go, but there’s a fat loss plateau…and then progress gets slow.
“Newbie Gains” Don’t Last Forever!
When you first start exercising, or start a new exercise, it might be really hard at first, but then you hit your stride. You’re 3 weeks into Couch-to-5K and you can finally run a mile!
The same thing happens with fat burning. You’re consistently losing a pound or even two per week, and it really shows! That feels like a roller coaster too, in a good way, riding down a steep drop toward your ideal body composition and body fat…
Until your progress suddenly, mysteriously, just…stops.
Are you familiar with the term “newbie gains”? It means that if you’re new to weightlifting, you gain muscle quickly. Your nervous system goes into a (good!) freakout mode wondering how it’s supposed to deal with your sudden lifestyle change, and sends protein amino acids to your muscles, stat!
But then, the body gets used to what you’re doing, even if you’re increasing weights and reps. There comes a point when your body can’t keep up with the same increase in weights and reps!
For example, let’s say you start squatting with 60 lbs and add 5 lbs a week. At first, this is fine and dandy, but eventually your muscle growth per week just can’t keep up with the fact that adding 5, and 5, and 5 gets exponentially more difficult for the human body!
You wouldn’t expect yourself to be squatting 320 lbs one year after you started squatting at 60, right? No way!
But that’s what you’re expecting of yourself, if you keep adding 5 lbs a week and don’t anticipate having to slow down!
So…how is that related to a fat loss plateau? Well, I’m just saying that the metaphor is the same for fat loss as it is for “newbie gains” with muscle…You may lose fat quickly at first, but you can’t keep up that breakneck pace forever! (Nor should you want to!)
What causes the plateau here, though, is that your metabolism slows down when you lose fat quickly. Yep, as you might have guessed, that’s your body’s natural starvation response, even if you’re eating fats that help you absorb more vitamins and minerals than you ever did before.
It’s a simple matter of calories in, calories out.
....you need to be sure you’re aware of your maintenance calories, and know how to “reset” your metabolism if you’ve been at a calorie deficit.
Hit that reset button and clear out the starvation response by making sure you are really fueling up on your calories!
You should be burning a bunch off anyway, with my next and final fat loss plateau tip: mix up your exercises.
If you’re always on the same machines, stuck in your routines, same classes, same workout....your body gets really good at them…
But that means you’re so used to them that you burn less calories while doing them, and your muscle fibers are getting less damaged from the exercise, meaning that less emergency proteins flowing out to repair and build those muscles. Do curls one day and calf raises the next. Swim, bike, hike!
Celebrate the built-in, infinite variety that is exercise. You don’t want to stay on a plateau when you hit one, either physically or emotionally! A fat loss plateau can be discouraging, no doubt, but that’s exactly why you have to be committed to enjoying this lifestyle, and keeping it fresh and interesting.
Burn the Fat Blog