How to Overcome a Weight-Loss Plateau

By Jen Jewell

You workout, you eat healthy, but after a while the progress begins to stall and the results aren’t as rapid as they once were. It sounds like you may have hit the dreaded plateau. It’s OK, it happens to all of us.

Whether you have stopped getting results, or your workouts are becoming more of a chore than something you look forward to, the important thing is to stay focused, keep at it and shake some things up in your daily routine. By implementing these principles, you'll be making progress in no time.


If you have been doing the same workout over and over again, no wonder your results have been less than desirable! It’s time to switch it up. When it comes to weight loss, most people turn to cardio. They spend months on the same machine hoping to melt away fat. But in fact they should also be hitting the weight room. In the weight room, try new exercises and get out of your comfort zone. Even something as simple as altering your rep range (higher, lower, drop sets, etc.), can spark a change because it requires your body to adjust. 

Do your workouts primarily consist of machines? Switch up your strength training and use the dumbbells or barbells instead. Even going from dumbbells to cables can create some muscle confusion and lead to progress. Challenge yourself in a new way and your body will thank you.


What have you been doing for cardio? The same old routine? Practice cardio confusion and make sure that NONE of your cardio workouts are the same during the week. 

Alternate from taking a spin class, running or walking outside, busting out a HIIT session, taking a cardio class at the gym, or even preforming exercises like the jump rope. Do a HIIT session one day and a steady state session the next. 

Vary levels of intensity, amount of time and the type of cardio that you’re doing, and results will be yours.


Time to come clean! What are you eating? No…what are you REALLY eating? For those of you that may be stuck at a plateau, it’s time to tell the truth and only the truth. Do you graze, or snack on extras all day long? Are you consuming excessive liquid calories (think lattes, sugary energy drinks, juices, etc.)? Write down everything you eat and drink within a day so that you can evaluate your choices. Most people consume far more calories on a daily basis than they believe they do. 

Another great thing to keep in mind is portion size. You may think you’re only eating one portion, but make the extra effort for a few days and actually measure out everything before you eat. That includes "healthy" foods!

More often than not, I’ve found that people will actually consume "healthy" foods in excess because "they are good for you." Not all healthy foods are created equal, and with the recent onslaught of fit food buzzwords such as “organic,” “vegan,” “paleo,” “gluten-free,” etc., there’s been quite a bit of confusion. Just because the label has one of these catchy buzzwords, it doesn’t always make for a healthy option. 


Are you supplementing according to YOUR goals? It’s great that you’re adding supplements into your regimen, but make sure they are in line with what you want to achieve. Knowing when and how to stack your favorite supplements appropriately will help you bust through that plateau and achieve those results you’re after. 


Alright, before you say that this sounds counterproductive, allow me to elaborate. We put our bodies through some serious work in the weight room, during cardio, training for and competing in athletic events, and oftentimes we think of ‘rest’ as a nasty little four-letter word. 

When you workout you are tearing your muscles down, but when you rest, you allow the muscles that have broken down to heal and recover. Recovery is crucial for progressing your strength and allowing you to handle the increased weight, and number of sets and reps needed for further gains. I don’t mean take weeks off from the gym to rest and watch countless hours of TV, but making room each and every week for allotted rest days will definitely help you in the long run.

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