Do these sound familiar?
-Working out but not seeing any changes?
-Not getting anything out of your fitness regime?
-Not losing/gaining weight?
If they do, you’ve probably hit a fitness plateau.
First off, YOU are NOT alone! We all struggle to find that ultimate BALANCE – eating well + training right to reap the max benefits.
I’ve hit a few plateaus throughout my fitness journey. But I also remember the times where I’ve seen significant changes. Those happened when there were drastic changes in my nutrition and workouts.
Stress and shock will force your body to change. Remember the changes you saw when you first started working out? You probably saw HUGE changes in the first 3 months. That’s because you went from sedentary to active, the kind of shock that your body was not accustomed to. And then something amazing (or not) happened, ADAPTATION. Your body adapted to the stress (and your new lifestyle) and the only way to continue to see change is to WORK HARDER (new stress)!
Aside from doing the “physical work”, your body is like a MACHINE that needs the RIGHT FUEL. There is SO much information out there about workouts and foods to eat.
BUT in order for any of those information to make sense to your body, you need to know YOU.
Let’s talk metabolism
Metabolism is basically ALL of the chemical processes that goes on in your body to keep you alive.
Anabolism – making stuff (cells, tissue, muscle etc)
Catabolism – breaking stuff (for energy)
Putting it into VERY simple terms, these two processes ultimately affect your fitness, physique and weight.
The tricky bit is that we all have VERY DIFFERENT metabolic rates. Our health state (disease, illness, stress), sex, age, height and genes affect our metabolism. Environmental factors play a significant role too. Major ones would be nutrition and physical activity.
By making better lifestyle choices and changing a few bits here and there, you CAN workout and eat smart to achieve your ultimate GOALS.
Here are a few things to look out for:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Estimated Energy Requirement (EER)
The BMR is an estimate of the energy that you need in a day to maintain bodily functions (breathing, heart beat, body temp etc) while at rest. It is usually based on gender, age, weight and height.
With the BMR, you can now calculate your EER which adds in the activity element.
You can do all of that here.
KNOW the macros in your food. They play a role in metabolism!
Macronutrients are the carbs, protein and fat in food. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) is 45-65% Carb, 20-35% Fat and 15-25% Protein of your total daily energy intake. However, you can alter these values based on your personal preference (low carb, high protein etc), performance goals etc.
Work out what you eat in a day. It can be a lil tedious but it is worthwhile if you’ve hit a plateau. You can always take the stress out of nutrition and get a dietitian to work it ALL out for you, including EXACTLY what you should eat. 😉
It is good to get a sense of your body composition – percentage of body fat and muscle mass. Most fitness centres or the doctors would provide this service.
Muscle weighs more than fat. You could be within the normal weight range for height but you could be carrying excess fat. Similarly, you may be on the heavier side of the weight spectrum but have more lean muscle mass.
This could be the reason you’re not seeing changes on the scale (if you’ve been working out and eating well). Try not to rely on the scale. Go by how you feel, look and how your clothes fit!
Change Your Routine
Following a strict routine may very well be the cause of your plateau. Mix it up and throw in new elements (new workouts, new foods etc). This will give your body a nice surprise and kick start your metabolism!
Sometimes, life can get to us and we can be UNAWARE of what we are doing or eating.
I AM ALL ABOUT RECORD KEEPING. I keep an e-record of my workouts, nutrition, emotions, work, finance and sleep. I find that it keeps me accountable of my actions, how I spend my time/money and helps with awareness and reflection.
It can be overwhelming and I don’t expect you to go from zero to hero! Start with something small, like workouts and nutrition for 1 week. You can make it as brief or as detailed as you please.
Who knows, you might SURPRISE (or not) yourself at the end of the first week. And you probably would be able to spot what you need to change.
I have a food journal template. Drop me an email or leave a comment if you want one!
Plateaus are not ALL bad.
Lil reminder to REST!
Let’s look at it as a time to rest, reflect, change, and continue to challenge and push ourselves towards our goals!
All the best!