Losing weight is no easy task, and once you achieve it, you have to make sure you don’t plateau or hit a wall that stalls your progress. Every month to month and a half, the body will naturally hit a plateau unless the variables of your program continue to change.
In addition to program variables, there are other small tweaks you can make to ensure you’ll continually progress in the right direction on your fat loss journey.
MAKE EXERCISE YOUR FIRST CHANGE – If you’ve lost a lot of weight so far due to changes in your diet, that’s a great start. The one thing, however, that needs to be incorporated into your routine is consistent, healthy, sustainable exercise.
Boosting the metabolic rate can only be done one way, and that’s by building muscle. In order to build muscle, you need to lift weights. Resistance training is the key to long-term sustainability. Be sure to train all body parts, as balance and proportion are crucial.
EXERCISE IN THE MORNING – As the day goes on, your schedule tends to fill up even more than you anticipated. By working out first thing in the morning, not only are you avoiding any excuse that may arise later in the day to skip the gym, but you’ll be doing your body a favor too.
When you feel good after a workout and get a good sweat, you’ll not only be more energetic but also more likely to stay on track with healthy eating choices the remainder of the day. If you’re not a morning person, give yourself at least three weeks to form a workout-first-thing habit.
WRITE IT DOWN – Accountability is huge in the world of fitness. Without tracking your workouts and your daily food intake, there’s really no way to know what you’re consuming or if you’re progressing in the right direction.
Track your daily food intake so you have a clear idea of the amounts of macronutrients and calories you’re consuming. This is a great baseline in case you are stalling in your progress and are unsure as to why.
Also, writing down your workouts will help you remember what you’ve been doing and what you should be doing to continue in the right direction.
DOUBLE YOUR PROTEIN-Not only does protein serve as the building blocks of life, it also requires more energy to break down than other macronutrients. Because protein digestion involves more time, it also burns more calories as it’s being digested. Additionally, the slow(er) digestion process translates to feeling fuller, longer.
Eating protein mid-day, especially, can help stave off those mid-afternoon-slump temptations and cravings. Stick to healthy, lean protein sources such as ground turkey, lean ground beef, eggs, fat-free greek yogurt, fish, and protein powders.
ENJOY A SATISFYING BREAKFAST-If we literally break down the word breakfast, it means breaking of the fast that our body undergoes while we sleep. It’s crucial that we eat a balanced breakfast first thing in the morning to ensure our body gets burning fat properly for the remainder of the day.
A key rule to follow is to have a healthy balance of fats, carbs and proteins at breakfast- think a macronutrient balanced meal. For example, you can have a piece of whole wheat toast (complex carbs) with olive oil or avocado (healthy fats) and some eggs (protein) for a healthy, nutrient-filled breakfast.
RUN INTERVALS – High-intensity training (also known as HIIT) will greatly help propel your fat loss results in the right direction at an even faster pace than before. Because HIIT training takes place in the anaerobic zone, your body has the ability to both burn fat and build muscle.
Another advantage of HIIT training is it takes much less time to do than standard, low-intensity cardio, which allows for you to have more time to focus on other important tasks such as meal prep.
DRINK GREEN TEA-Aside from the many health benefits of green tea (think antioxidants, for example), the natural ingredient that green tea contains (catechins) has actually been studied and shown to temporarily boost metabolic rate and therefore burn more fat.
Green tea also serves, for some people, as a “filler,” which can keep them from mindless eating at a time they think they’re hungry but are actually just bored or emotional. In addition to fat loss properties, regular consumption of green tea can also help regulate blood pressure.
GET TO BED EARLIER – Sleep is so crucial for the body for several different reasons. Proper sleep aids in hormone regulation, which can greatly affect appetite. It also can negatively impact your energy levels if you aren’t getting enough.
Creating a healthy sleep/wake cycle and sticking to it can make a huge difference with regard to how you perform throughout the day. Try to find calming activities to partake in an hour to a half hour before bedtime to encourage your body to wind down, such as reading, stretching, or taking a hot bath.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL-It’s easy to get stuck in routines you’re familiar with or like doing. The issue with lack of variety, however, is that your body will soon hit a plateau without progressive, systematic variations and changes to your routine. Hiring a professional to create workouts for you can be a big difference maker in your fat loss journey.
Working with a professional can also help you learn new exercises and add some fat-burning moves to your current workout routine for better, faster results.
No matter how far you’ve come or how far you have yet to go on your weight loss journey, it’s never too late or too early to start incorporating some new variables into your routine.
By making even just a few changes as suggested, you may find yourself in an even better shape than you ever imagined yourself being in.