I have been able to lose 25 pounds and about 8 inches which is absolutely wonderful but I’m having trouble losing the last 10 pounds. I have built up muscle mass in my arms and legs but I just can’t get rid of the extra body fat in my stomach and my inner and outer thighs. I’m not sure if I need to focus more on cardio or if I need to hit the weights more. I’m starting to plateau and it’s getting really frustrating. Do you have any suggestions?
First of all, congratulations on losing twenty five pounds and eight inches! That’s fantastic! Unfortunately, we really can’t target specific areas to lose weight. Yes, everybody loses weight at different rates and in different areas. But we aren’t able to say, “Okay, this extra 45 minutes of cardio is going to go towards losing fat off my hips!” It just doesn’t work that way.
It sounds like you are doing the right thing by building up muscle mass because muscle burns more calories than fat and it takes up less space than fat does. So this means if you’re muscular in nature you’ll look smaller than if you weren’t. With this in mind, don’t let the scale fool you either because muscle tissue is more dense than fatty tissue so it takes up less space (pound for pound). So just because you step on the scale and see that your weight hasn’t dropped, even though you’ve been training hard and eating really well, it doesn’t mean who have not had any results. My guess here is that you have lost fat, but added to your lean muscle stores in the process. Does this make sense?
Now I’ll address your concerns with hitting that nasty plateau wall. I agree that it’s very frustrating and I think pretty much anyone that has ever exercised to lose weight can relate. I know I can! The key to breaking your plateau is to change things up. Diversity is critical if you want to keep losing fat and building muscle. You need to confuse your body since confusion equals change.
Essentially you don’t want your body and mind to coast through your training sessions. You want to keep it thinking so that you are maximizing the calories burned, rather than allowing your body to hoard calories and just use the bare minimum to get the job done.
I think you’ll agree we are creatures of habit. We find comfort in routine and often don’t feel the need to challenge ourselves. For example, we often drive the exact say way to work each day, eat the exact same foods each day, and put our clothes on in the same order every morning.
When it comes to exercising to lose weight, we are usually all excited and gung-ho initially to get started and see results. Agreed? And usually we get what we want fairly quickly at first. We are focused and working hard to make sure the weight comes off.
But what happens over time is that your body and mind will start to get lazy. Because you are doing the exact same routine, for the exact same length of time, with the same exertion rate and technique every time, your body will start to work against you. It will recognize what you are going to do and restrict the calories used to get your exercise routine completed.
In other words it will calculate and use the minimum amount of energy necessary to complete your routine. What this does is start to decrease your results. Naturally slowing your weight loss and messing up your psychosomatic process because you are thinking logically and wondering why you aren’t getting results. Effort should equate to fat loss, right?
Well not exactly because when your head memorizes your routine and gets bored, your focus goes right out the window. And if you aren’t concentrating on what you are doing your technique tends to fade and you start to get lazy too. Even though you’re going through the motions, less effort means a decrease in results.
It sounds to me like you’re dead right in your thinking, you just want a little reassurance you’re doing the right thing! Both cardio and weights are your best bet to break through this annoying plateau of yours and blast that fat off your body.
In fact, interval training has proven to build muscle fast and keep your heart rate up so you can maximize the fat and calories you burn in each session. This just means alternating periods of strength training and weights with bouts of intense cardiovascular activity. Forcing you body to build beautiful lean muscle and tone and shape your body while burning off fat. Circuit training, riding the stationary bike with weights and boot camp sessions are excellent interval training options. Let’s focus in on the boot camp option.
Boot camp sessions are a fantastic route to get this interval training. They challenge your mind and body from start to finish. Boot camps keep your head and muscles guessing because you are constantly working different muscles with a diverse range of exercises. This means you’re continuously altering the intensity levels, duration and tempo throughout.
This will literally force your body to break through your plateau and get you back on track to building a lean and fit body for life. Fat will disappear and lean sexy muscle will leave you feeling and looking like a million bucks. Time for you to get back at it and go zap those last 10 pounds for good!