You are said to reach a plateau during an exercise program when
weight loss slows and, despite exercising, you can no longer shed any
Scientists have been stumped as to why this happens, and there are
several theories to this phenomenon.
One is that our bodies have
strong mechanisms to resist weight loss but not-as-strong mechanisms to
counteract weight gain.
theory related to reaching exercise plateaus is that
following your initial weight loss, your progress will slow down at
some point and eventually die a natural death, even if your exercises
or your diet are consistent.
| Or, as Dr. Neil King
of the Queensland University of Technology puts
it, evolution has programmed the human body to cope with famine, which
occurred quite often in history, but not to cope with lack of exercise
and high-calorie foods that today’s generation is known for.
To handle this, you can vary your exercise program.
When in the gym, it would do you well to move from one machine to
Take this a step further and you can vary your exercise
classes as well. Shift from circuit training, weight training, or
cycling as soon as you feel that you’re no longer getting the results
you want from your regular routine.
And instead of varying the program, you can also add to it.
For instance, if you’re currently on the treadmill and you’ve
reached a plateau, you don’t have to totally switch to water aerobics;
you can use one to supplement the other.
Check your records and see if you’re exercising at the
right intensity for you.
If you’re getting to be too relaxed or if you become quite chatty
while you’re exercising, this means the intensity you’ve worked with
before is no longer applicable.
As a rule of thumb, you need to be slightly out of breath while
exercising. Otherwise, you could maintain what you have now, but
it won’t likely improve.
Do you exercise often enough?
In the same vein, do you feel that you are exercising long enough?
These factors all depend on how badly you want to achieve your
To guarantee results, you must be doing an aerobic activity which you
enjoy, and engage in this 3-5 times a week for best results.
More often, you need not reduce the number of hours you spend
exercising if you’re feeling burned out. You just have to temporarily
“tame” the intensity. Examples of enjoyable activities are cycling,
aerobics, or swimming.
Have a diet modification.
Alter your menu and dare your body to assimilate new foods that are as
healthful as what you are currently eating.
Look for fresh fruits and vegetables that you haven’t tried in a
long time and integrate these into your menu. Likewise, if you haven’t
had fish in a long while, then you might want to substitute that for
the red meat in your diet.
Changes won’t happen overnight, but these are definitely surefire ways
of conquering that disappointing plateau.