Great Morning To You All:
Yes, as most of you know, this is my second favorite day of the year! We got to jump ahead! One extra hour of daylight! The first day of Spring is just a week away.
Believe it or not, I am extremely proud of the work that each and every one of you has been putting forth lately. All of you have seen at least some change. Whether it’s in the mirror, on the scale, in your clothes and/or in how you feel, the work is paying off.
However, don’t be surprised or discouraged if the changes don’t always continue. That’s right…, if you haven’t already, you will eventually hit a plateau! But before you get too discouraged, you should know that it’s normal for your fitness journey to stall every once and a while. The good news is that by understanding what causes a plateau, you can decide how to maneuver around it.
The route from initial weight loss to a plateau follows a systematic pattern. During the first few weeks of losing weight, a consistent drop in pounds is normal (if you’re following a total fitness program). When the intake of calories are reduced, the body gets its energy to function by releasing glycogen (which we have learned from previous Body Designs is a carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver). Glycogen causes water retention, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it also releases water, resulting in weight loss. Read that sentence again, “…resulting in weight loss,” not fat loss!
Then once the body’s glycogen stores are lowered, the body begins to burn fat as energy. But, in order for this to happen on a semi regular basis, glycogen stores need to be kept at a low level. That means limiting (not eliminating) your carbohydrate intake.
The plateau occurs because your body is always searching for homeostasis (a constant normal state of being). Therefore, in order to kick the plateau, you need continue to eat right and increase, or at least vary, your body’s activity as often as necessary. You have to train harder, faster and smarter! Missing workouts, not doing your cardio or eating “cheat” meals too often will inevitably keep your body stuck in its rut.
So the next time you order pasta for dinner, don’t put 100 percent towards your weight training or leave the gym without doing your cardio, remember you’re helping your body find its homeostasis.