Despite the fact that your diet is in check, you have been exercising daily and you are on track with increasing your intake of water, it feels like you have hit a bit of a plateau with your weight loss and the scale hasn’t budged in the last few weeks. And while it may be your diet, it may also be that your exercise routine is doing less for you than you think.
Here’s what may be going wrong with your fitness that is sabotaging your weight loss efforts:
- You are at a lower intensity than you think you are – High intensity exercise burns more calories, but that intensity can be hard to gauge some days. If you are particularly tired for example, or are still sore from yesterday’s workout, you may be working out with a lower intensity then you think you are and the result is fewer calories burned. Find a means to measure your intensity, such as a heart rate monitor and track your progress from day to day to make sure you stay on track.
- You have improved – Did you know, that as you get better at exercising, and become fitter, your body burns fewer calories? This is especially true if you lose weight in the process. Essentially your body gets good at doing what you are asking it to (for example running, or biking), and then it doesn’t have to work as hard to do it anymore. It’s the same premise behind why, over time, you are able to increase your weight when you are lifting: you get better at it and you can lift more! When it comes to cardio workouts, failure to mix them up and make them more challenging means you won’t be burning as many calories, increasing your fitness, or getting better, so make sure to keep making your workouts harder!
- You are consuming more calories than you are burning – It’s easy to fall into the trap that since you are exercising, it’s fine for you to eat what you like and have the extra serving and that it’s no big deal if your portion is a little oversize. But in actual fact, it may be this mentality that is preventing you from losing the weight you are after. Despite the fact that you are exercising, in order to drop pounds, you still need to burn more calories than you consume, and this can be hard if you are eating large portions or eating too frequently.
- You aren’t consuming enough calories – Just like you can consume too many calories, despite your exercise, you can consume too few as well. When you are exercising without consuming enough calories, your body goes into storage and starvation mode, holding on to the fat you have because it is wary of when you will have calories again. This can happen if you don’t eat soon enough after exercise or if your overall calorie intake is low in comparison to the amount of exercise you are doing. Overall, you should have no more than a 500-calorie deficit per day – this helps you still lose weight while ensuring you don’t go into starvation or storage mode.
- You are overtraining – If you have found that in addition to holding on to weight, your workouts have also seemed slower and requiring more effort, you are more fatigued and constantly sore, it may be a case of overtraining. When you are doing too much exercise without adequate rest, your body becomes physically stressed and the result is the same as if you were constantly emotionally stressed: excess cortisol is secreted causing you to hold onto weight and experience symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, mood swings or feelings of depression and overall not feeling your best. Beat this (or prevent it!), by ensuring you rest and recover properly from your workouts and don’t do more than you body can handle without adequate fuel and nutrition.