“I’ve been working out so consistently, but the scale doesn’t show it!” Sound familiar? If so, it sounds like it’s time to switch things up a bit. While we are so proud of you for being so consistent with working out (go you!), everyone needs a change now and then. Check out this list of 5 things that could be getting in the way of your awesome results:
With your consistency comes a catch: after about 6 weeks of consistent workouts, your body becomes more efficient, burning fewer calories while performing the same exercises. But, don’t sweat it! All you need to do to overcome this is change it up a bit! For example, if you’ve been including longer duration, low intensity cardio activity in your workouts, try an interval workout. Interval workouts alternate short periods of high intensity (working as hard or as fast as is safely possible) with periods of low intensity recovery. Aside from interval workouts, changing your routine all together will keep your body guessing and burning optimal calories. Try yoga, Pilates, TRX, strength training, Zumba, running, swimming, biking, anything! Try it all, at least once, to keep the results coming and keep from getting bored.
A Missing Element
One common aspect of a well-rounded workout program typically missing is strength training. With fears and myths of getting “bulky,” women tend to walk right past the weights. Weights are your best friend during your weight loss journey! Strength training increases your lean mass (muscle) which burns more calories, and that is always a plus. And don’t worry about bulking up- women do not have the right hormones to do this unless you are going to some extreme measures. You can use your own body weight, free weights, resistance bands, and machines to do a strength training workout. The variety of options means that there is always something new to try, keeping you from getting bored and your results from plateauing.
The next culprit responsible for your weight loss plateau is one you probably don’t want to hear. Unfortunately, you cannot out-exercise a poor diet. Do you reward yourself with a splurge meal after a workout? Snack late at night? Have a few too many “cheat” days? Grab a soda when you’re feeling tired? Let loose on the weekend, every weekend? These habits add up! Think about your diet as a well-balanced bank account. When you splurge on something, you save in other areas. If you overdid it at the company potluck this afternoon, have a light dinner and add some extra minutes to your workout. If you feel a temptation coming on, use this mind trick: Instead of reminding yourself of all the bad things that will happen if you indulge (all of my hard work out the window/it will go straight to my hips/I’ll feel so guilty/etc.), think about the good things that will come of avoiding the temptation (I will look amazing in my swimsuit!/I will feel so much better/etc.). It really works! Your body and your workouts are fueled by the food you put into it, so treat yourself well!
Next on the list: sleep. Be honest, how much sleep are you really getting each night? Sleep is a key aspect of weight loss and optimal fitness for several reasons. While you’re sleeping, your body is repairing itself from all of your tough workouts. It is rebuilding a stronger, slimmer, and healthier version of you! The time you spend asleep is also time that you are not eating, which gives your body time to digest the day’s food and rest. The right amount of sleep also helps ward off sickness and stress. Stress triggers fat-building hormones in our bodies, so make sure you log enough hours on the pillow to keep those hormones asleep, too!
Focussing on the Scales
One last thing to consider is all of the other benefits of consistently working out. We tend to put so much emphasis on the number on the scale that we lose sight of everything else! It’s important to remember that your weight fluctuates. The best time to weigh yourself is right after you wake up. Try weighing yourself on Wednesday’s – not right after a relaxing weekend or right after a stressful week. Also, with all of your challenging workouts you are likely building muscle and lean mass as well as losing fat so if you increase your lean muscle mass by 1 lb and lose 1 lb of fat the scale wont change but your physique will (muscle is approx 15% denser than fat so 1 lb of fat takes up much more space than 1 lb of lean muscle). So while the scale may not read lower, your clothes may be fitting better! Aside from your physical appearance, things are changing on the inside, too. Your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are all lowering, especially if you recently started becoming more active. Your heart is getting healthier with each day and you may notice you are sleeping better or have more energy. Take note of these changes and embrace them! Weight is just a number, and you are way too hard-working and fabulous looking to stress over it!
Now, take some time to think about these scale-freezing culprits and decide what changes you can make in your lifestyle. You have the tools to succeed, so use these tips to super-charge your results!