Our bodies are a basic equation of what goes in versus what is expended. How many calories you take in versus how many you work off. If there is a surplus of calories coming in compared to those we burn, we will gain weight. If we burn more than we take in, we will lose weight.
It is a myth that once we reach a certain level our bodies “stall”. We reach plateaus simply because our bodies learn to regulate the amount of calories coming in versus the amount of calories we work off.
Our bodies main goal is to keep us alive. In doing so, it will continuously try to adapt to what we do to it. It will adapts to exercise and to our surroundings.
To break the plateau then, we must break the adaption our body has learned. We change one side of the equation. You may either change the calories coming in or the calories going out.
Let’s first discuss calories coming in as nutrition tends to be a key question. Now, I’d like to start by outlining that I am a personal trainer, not a dietitian. It is in my scope to understand macro-nutrients and the effects they have on our bodies.
Simply put, before you begin questioning why a workout program isn’t working, be sure that you are eating according to your goals. You should be eating a proper balance of ALL macro-nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) and selecting the foods that fuel your body. Under-eating as well as over-eating can limit the results you see. So take a sound look at your diet and be sure that you are fueling your body properly.
Calories are not all equal. Eating a 100 calorie bag of popcorn is not the same nutritionally as a chicken breast and broccoli. They might equal by calorie count but will have dramatically different effects on your health and goal achievement. So be sure you are eating the RIGHT foods, not simply calorie consumption.
The other side of the equation is calories burned. There is a basic level of calories you burn throughout the day in your daily life. Working, cooking, cleaning, running around with your kiddos all burn calories. When we talk about your activity level, your whole daily life should be accounted for. A busy mom of 4 kids who is also a kindergarten teacher will burn more calories than a single IT Director. Traditionally.
When it comes to your workout, you want to change your routines every 4 weeks so that you are continuously progressing. As I mentioned previously, our bodies are trying to adapt to keep us alive. It will soon learn your workouts and they will no longer push your muscles like it originally did. You must change your routine often to push yourself and create muscle confusion.
How can you change your workouts?
Changing your workouts can be changing exercises, selecting more difficult or more complex exercises that require more complex muscle engagement. Or you may change the pace of your workouts. Doing an exercise slower, for example, squatting down for a count of 4 and holding for 2 seconds, will engage the muscles in a different way than if you normally do a squat quickly. Conversely, if your normal routine involves slow squats, do squat jumps to increase its intensity.
This works for arms as well as squats. To increase the complexity of a bicep curl, for example, change the angle of the curl or increase the complexity of the curl to a 45 degree angle bicep curl followed with a hammer curl. This will intensify the base exercise of your program. You may slow this exercise down by bringing it up for 2 counts, hold for 2 counts then slowly and controlled lower for 4 counts.
As a summary, our bodies are an equation of what comes in versus what goes out. This can always be changed on either side to confuse the body and to see the results you want. You must be sure you are continuously monitoring both sides of the equation to align it to your goals.
Emily Langlois founded FITonYourTime.com to
train and inspire men and women to become healthier, happier and stronger every day. Visit FITonYourTime.com for a variety of Online Training options to Fit YOU and YOUR goals.