Archive for the tag - plateau

Why Did I Stop Losing Weight?

Dear Davey,

I started a diet two months ago and was making really good progress, but I haven’t been losing any additional weight for the last three or four weeks. Any idea why? I haven’t changed anything. It just stopped.

Confused,
Anna

Male_weight_lossDear Anna,

For anyone trying to lose weight, your experience is extremely common. Weight always seems to come off quickest at the beginning – but subsequent results  get stalled. So why does this tend to happen?

To lose weight, dieters must create a calorie deficit. In other words, more calories are burned than are taken in through food. To create the calorie deficit, healthier dieters tweak both ends of the equation by increasing physical activity and decreasing daily caloric intake. In other words, less calories in and more calories out.

At first, results are quick and dramatic. As the Mayo Clinic points out:

During the first few weeks of losing weight, a rapid drop is normal. In part this is because when calories from food are reduced, the body gets needed energy by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen holds on to water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it also releases water, resulting in substantial weight loss that’s mostly water.

After the initial weight loss, things tend to slow down. Most often, this is due to a decrease in the body’s metabolism.

Your metabolism is the process by which your body burns calories for energy – and at lower body weights, we burn fewer calories. In other words, even though you’re still exercising and eating the same amount of food, the calorie deficit no longer exists.

To lose additional weight loss, you must again tweak the equation to create a calorie deficit. That may mean fewer calories in (i.e., eating less) or increasing calories out by vamping up your workout program or daily activity. Try adding another 15 minutes to your workout. Or, increase the overall intensity of your workout (i.e., shorter rests, less talking, doing intervals, etc.) so that you burn more calories in the same amount of time.

By re-creating the calorie deficit, you’ll see additional results. That is, until your next plateau. 🙂

Love,
Davey

How to Flatten Your Midsection.

Hey Davey,

First of all, I want to thank you. You and your blog have helped me lose 20 pounds this summer.

However, I have a problem. Despite my weight loss, I still have a muffin top! I’ve even been trying lower back workouts but nothing seems to work. How can I lose it?

Thanks,
Guillermo

These tips are your ticket to a flatter midsection.

Hey Guillermo,

Congratulations on releasing all that extra weight. You must feel fantastic.

Believe it or not, I’ve become something of a muffin top expert. In fact, your “muffin top” question is probably one of the most common that I get asked.

First things first, “muffin top” is a slang term used to describe excess fat around the body’s midsection. When this fat overhangs an individual’s pants, it looks like a muffin spilling over its casing. Descriptive, I know.

For most of us, the midsection – and often stomach, in particular – is the first place we gain fat and the last place we lose it.

You email also touches upon a popular myth about body fat. You mentioned that your lower back workouts haven’t helped. Unfortunately, there’s no way to target weight loss in a particular part of your body. Though your lower back workouts are likely increasing the amount of muscle in your lower back, they won’t result in you losing weight specifically in your midsection. When you shed fat, it comes off according to its own agenda.

Back in May, I shared five tips for getting rid of muffin tops. In a nutshell, they included:

  1. Not skipping breakfast.
  2. Getting regular sleep.
  3. Cutting back on alcohol.
  4. Engaging in high intensity interval training.
  5. Eating smarter.

If you feel like you’ve really reached a weight loss plateau and are already taking advantage of the above tips and are eating wisely, then it’s time to consider changing other variables in your workout routine:

  1. Increase workout duration and frequency. Depending on your workout regimen and current schedule, you may need to increase your time commitments. For example, you can start working out 4 days a week instead of 3.
  2. Up the intensity. You’ll always get out of your workout what you put into your workout, so add some gusto by increasing your cardio speeds, adding an incline on the treadmill, adding more weights to your repetitions or decreasing rest times.
  3. Add new exercises. Our bodies can adjust to our workouts, so switch things up. You can even consider working with a personal trainer to learn a new routine.

With some hard work, time and dedication, you’ll certainly be able to see some great results and a much flatter midsection.

Enjoy – and congratulations on your weight loss.

Love,
Davey

A New Technique to Overcome Cardio Plateaus?

class=”alignright size-full wp-image-2420″ title=”to run further, pump muscles” src=”http://www.daveywaveyfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/to-run-further-pump-muscles.jpg” alt=”” width=”380″ height=”261″ />In the fitness universe, there’s a lot of jargon and technical terminology.

Like “VO2max,” a word you may have heard from a personal trainer or exercise guru. In a nutshell, VO2max is the maximum capacity of an exerciser’s body to transport and use oxygen during exercise – and it’s considered one of the best measures of cardiovascular ability.

Once the exerciser’s VO2max is reached, failure is imminent. It’s a plateau that can’t be overcome like hitting a brick wall.

Traditionally, experts thought that this plateau was caused by either the heart’s inability to pump any more blood, muscles being unable to extract any additional oxygen from the blood or the inability of the lungs to pull in more oxygen from the air.

Now, a new theory is being proposed: It’s not the heart, muscles or lungs that cause the VO2max plateau – but rather, the brain. The brain applies the brakes so that the body doesn’t reach absolute failure.

The theory is being supported by a whole slew of recent research, including an interesting study involving “decremental” tests to determine VO2max – with huge implications for regular exercisers. In the study, researchers first measured participants’ VO2max using the traditional treadmill test. In this test, the treadmill starts slow, but gradually increases in speed until the VO2max plateau is reached shortly before failure.

Next, the decremental test was performed on half of the participants. Researchers quickly vamped up the treadmill speed beyond the previous point of failure. After about a minute – and just before failure was reached – the treadmill was lowered by a kilometer per hour. This was repeated for the duration of the test.

Interestingly, the decremental test resulted in a higher VO2max.

For the participants that didn’t experience the decremental test, their VO2max remained unchanged in a subsequent traditional test. But, most notably, when the decremental participants returned to the treadmill for an additional traditional VO2max test, they maintained their new (and higher) VO2max.

It’s as though simply performing the decremental test reset the body’s VO2max – and cardiovascular ability – to a higher level. For those of us that exercise regularly, this is huge and exciting news.

Stalled Diet: 4 Signs & Quick Fixes.

Leaning down is a common goal, but how can you tell if your diet has stalled?

When you notice any of the following four signs, it’s time to think about switching your diet, changing things up or moving to a weight maintenance plan:

  1. Your current diet has lasted 6 months or longer. Studies show that diets are most effective in their first 6 months, and that many participants regain weight in the second 6 months.

    Fix: If you’re happy with your current weight, switch to a weight maintenance plan that incorporates a lifestyle of healthy eating, exercise and peer support. If you’d like to lose additional weight, try for a different weight loss strategy (i.e., switch to a higher protein and lower carb diet, etc.). Work with a nutritionist to devise a plan that meets your needs.

  2. You’ve reached a plateau. If you’ve only lost a pound or two in the last month, then your current plan isn’t working. Change is needed.

    Fix: When it comes to nutrition, you may need to modify your diet to increase your caloric deficit or change the types of foods you are eating. When it comes to exercise, you may need to change any or all of the following variables: workout duration and frequency; intensity; types of exercise. Get additional information about breaking weight loss plateaus.

  3. You’re eating too few calories. It sounds counter-intuitive, but starvation is not an effective weight loss strategy. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. If you’re eating fewer calories, your body will go into starvation mood; thus, severely decreasing your metabolism and ability to release weight.

    Fix: First, keep track of your calories to see where you’re at. If you’re in the danger zone, increase your caloric intake to boost your metabolism. Opt for a more reasonable, healthy and effective calorie deficit. If you are unable or unwilling to increase your intake, seek out professional help immediately.

  4. If you’re weaker. Weakness, either at home or at the gym, is a sign that your muscles aren’t receiving the fuel they need. It’s time to revisit your nutrition strategy.

    Fix: Keep track of your diet to ensure you’re getting enough calories and that your protein intake is adequate. Likely, you’ll need to introduce more protein into your diet. Lean meats, fish, beans and nuts are great, healthy sources.

While each situation is different, these four signs of stalled diets – and easy fixes – should help put you on a path to achieve your weight-related goals.

For more information, check out my downloadable fitness and nutrition programs.

How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau.

Hi Davey,

I’ve been working out regularly for the about two months now (an hour of cardio and about half an hour of strength training 5 days a week), and at first I lost weight. The goal I set for myself was to get down to 195lbs by the end of June. But recently I’ve noticed that I’ve hit a weight plateau at around 206lbs.

Do you have any idea what might be happening?

From,
Ian

Congratulations on releasing weight and coming so close to your goal!

First, it’s important to ask yourself: Why 195lbs? It’s always important to reassess our fitness goals. Maybe 206 lbs is a good and healthy weight for you. If it’s not – and if you have the will and motivation to break through the plateau – it comes down to two things: Modifying your diet and/or modifying your fitness plan.

Modifying Diet

Obviously, proper diet is essential to a comprehensive fitness plan. Hitting the gym isn’t everything. Take a critical look at your diet – and compare it to your recommended caloric intake. It’s possible that you may need to further reduce the number of calories you are eating, or even shift the types of foods that you are eating. You may find it advantageous to move away from high-carbohydrate or processed foods and more toward fresh foods and high-protein options.

Modifying Workout

There are a few ways to increase the effectiveness of your workout:

  1. Increase workout duration and frequency. For people exercising for 30 or 45 minutes, it may be advisable to hit the gym for an extra 15 minutes. Since you’re already exercising for 90 minutes, working out longer won’t help. In fact, long workouts tend to backfire. 90 minutes is enough and, for weight loss, I’d recommend splitting your time evenly between cardio and strength training. In addition, exercisers may see enhanced results from adding another workout day into their schedule if such a commitment is sustainable. Remember to take off at least one day per week.
  2. Increase intensity. Just being at the gym isn’t enough. Workouts aren’t just about quantity – they’re really about quality. How you use your time is critically important. If you want to break through a plateau, you may need to add some gusto to your workout. Instead of doing conventional cardio workouts, for example, try some gut-busting interval training. For strength training, adjust your rest times so that you are taking shorter breaks. Increase the amount of resistance that you are using. In short, put your workout in high gear.
  3. Try new exercises. Sometimes introducing new exercises can help move your workout forward. Our bodies grow accustomed to the same old routine, so don’t be afraid to change things up. You can find a number of great, effective and challenging exercises online. Or, you could even join a class or hire a personal trainer. Even as a certified personal trainer, I still occasionally hire another trainer to help introduce new workouts into my vernacular.

If your weight loss goal seems necessary and achievable, these tips should help you break through your plateau and take your results to the next level.

Love,
Davey

Not Seeing Results from Your Workout? Here’s Why!

We all know people that complain about a lack of results. Just the other day, I was talking to a woman at my gym who couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t losing weight. Day after day, she’d hit the gym and do the same routine – but alas the pounds were not shedding. Duh! If she’s not getting results, why keep doing more of the same? Doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity. But I know that she’s not alone and so I compiled a list of the top reasons the exercisers don’t see results:

  1. They’ve plateaued. The woman at the gym was playing it safe – she had found a workout that she could manage and performed it religiously. But she wasn’t challenging herself or pushing her body to its limits. It’s time for her to supercharge her workout and turn up the heat. After all, you’ll only get out of your workout what you put it. Break through your plateau!
  2. They’re inconsistent. Consistency is one of the most important factors in achieving any fitness goals. Taking a day off here and there is fine – but days can easily become weeks, and weeks undue progress. At the minimum, get a good workout 2-3 time a week.
  3. They don’t have a clue. Lack of results can often be attributed to cluelessness. It’s one thing to have a fitness goal. It’s another thing to know what you’ll need to do to achieve that goal. Maybe you want stronger arms – but do you know what it takes to build them? Doing good, solid research or hiring a person trainer can help – or you can sign up to get Davey Wavey Fitness blog updates by e-mail. 😛
  4. They can’t focus. I always chuckle at the number of people that only seem to be exercising their mouths at the gym. Sure, it’s great to socialize, but let’s remember the task at hand! Just going to the gym isn’t going to help you get results – you have to actually to do something while you’re there.
  5. They eat shit. If someone is following a tried and true fitness program consistently and they still are not seeing results, then it’s time to look at the other end of the equation: nutrition. Proper nutrition doesn’t mean eating raw eggplant and alfalfa sprouts – but it does mean doing your best to avoid the shitty stuff most of the time.

Are you not seeing the results you want? What’s your story? And which of these reasons might apply to you?