We’ve all been there, excited about our progress and then all of a sudden our results halt. Frustration starts to build, boredom creeps in and the groove you were just in seems to be lost forever. These are classic signs of the dreaded plateau derailing your progress.
Plateaus are defined as times when your weight and body-fat percentage remain the same for a period of time. They are the part of the health process that you always know will come; yet you’re always surprised when a plateau arrives, hoping that maybe this time you were able to dodge the bullet. You see, plateaus are viewed by many as bullets, since from the surface they are daunting and seem to kill your health progress.
The good news is that this plateau mind-set will soon be in your past. A plateau simply means you’ve reached your body’s set point (the place it’s used to being). Your body follows the same pattern as everything else in life: first come moments of progress, followed by moments of recalibration, followed by more moments of progress. This is the natural plateau cycle of life. Your health plateau is just that “moment” that your body takes to recalibrate, to adjust itself and take your improved body composition and all the other positive changes into account. This recalibration period occurs as your body reprograms your metabolism by lowering your set point. Once this reprogramming phase is complete, your body is ready to take another run at progression.
Since you now understand why you plateau, let’s dive into the 4 strategies that will help you once and for all take control of your plateaus by knowing how to minimize them and what simple adjustments to make to burst them. Let’s dive into the first strategy:
1 – Accept and Prepare for Your Plateau
By accepting a plateau in your future as fact, you will not be shocked or frustrated when your progress slows down. You will then understand why and make the proper adjustments. This knowledge can work in your favor. Instead of implementing these strategies and raising your game when you reach your plateau, you can begin steadily working each strategy into your program from the start. This will allow you to improve a little more each week—a comfortable pace. Many times this will prolong the time before you reach your first plateau and prevent the feeling of frustration when it comes.
2- Keep It Clean
Clean food is your body’s friend. Clean proteins, fats and carbohydrates are optimally digested and metabolized by your body and help balance your blood sugar. In addition, since clean foods are unprocessed, they contain low amounts of sodium. This is why clean foods cause less bloating. Focus on eating high quality and unprocessed foods and to help, here’s a snapshot of the Ignite phase meal plan which provides a clean food list and portion sizes to maximize your results. Just remember to keep eating in 3s in every meal (eat every 3 hours with a balance of protein, fat and carbs)
3 – Raise Your Exercise Game
Raising your game is taking your exercise to an entirely new level. To break through a plateau you want to make the three following exercise adjustments. These adjustments will add more time to your workout; however, this is temporary. Once you break through your plateau, you can go back to your normal exercise quantity. No matter what, though, you should still continue choosing the most optimal movements.
- Add another day of high-intensity cardio, preferably sprinting. You will get quick results by sprinting three days a week, for thirty minutes each session. If you cannot sprint, do stairs, cycling (spinning), or swimming.
- Add fifteen to thirty minutes of additional time to each fat-burning cardio session.
- Replace a strength-training session with a high-impact sport or class. Some examples include boxing, kickboxing, singles tennis, racquetball, basketball, or any other high-intensity, high-impact sport. This type of training will activate muscle you have not been using, which will then speed up your metabolism.
4 – Eat More Frequently
The longer you eat in 3s, the better your body becomes at metabolizing your food. This increased efficiency causes you to become hungry every two and a half to three hours rather than every three to four hours. This is a very good thing. Every meal you eat causes your metabolism to fire up even hotter. More meals equals better results. Increase your meals to six or seven per day (eating only when you are hungry, of course).
There you have it, your winning strategies to dodge any plateau bullets and truly burst through all plateau obstacles.
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