Written by Kate Lemere of The Four Percent
Happy Friday, my friends.
Remember last month when you met my dear friend (and fellow fitness instructor) Kate Lemere? She’s back this month to share her tips on hammering through those weight loss plateaus — and her advice is, of course, solid.
I’ll post our weekly link love series later today*, but I wanted to share this with you now so that (1) you could think about these going into the new week (month, season, etc!) and (2) because I’m planning to share some of my own weight loss stories next week. So feel free to leave comments, questions and the like for both of us in the comments below.
Side-note: If you need a quick refresher, Kate is a badass fitness instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp and a long-time friend of mine in Chicago. (We used to work together in our ad agency days.) She also has an awesome blog called The Four Percent.
Kate has been popping over to Among Other Things to share her no-bullshit MO on health, wellness & fitness with us each month. As I’ve mentioned, her balanced perspective is one that I really value and I thought you’d feel the same way. If you missed her first post on how to stick to your short term goals, click here.
Let’s get to it! Hit it, Kate.
First, a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart for the warm welcome. Last month it was great to meet so many of AOT readers and learn more about your progress, your struggles and your goals in the pursuit of a life better lived. It’s hard as hell to stay on the wagon, but that’s what makes it so worth it, right? Nothing worth having is ever easy. Life’s a trade-off like that.
[Hallie’s note: Wagon… Yeah, man. Half the time I feel like I’m playing a literal game of Oregon freakin’ Trail and I’ve gotta caulk the wagons and float… (LOL. Anyone? Please! I know you played this back in the day. #old)]
If you’ve been stickin’ to your health, nutritional and fitness goals since Jan 1 (or even longer than that, good for you, bish!) hitting a plateau can be a frustrating and inevitable part of the process. Instead of maintaining the same routine day in and day out make a tweak or two to keep yourself evolving and progressing. Busting weight loss (and fitness) plateaus can be easier than you think.
1. Lift. Lift Heavy.
When you put your body through too much cardio based training, your body can become catabolic. Meaning your body will burn muscle and store fat. Quick translation: your metabolism slows the fuck down. Strength training will add definition to your bod, keeps your metabolism running like a well-oiled machine, plus will boost energy levels. If you’re apprehensive to lift or are unsure how Barry’s is a great place to start.
2. Change Caloric Consumption
Just like too much cardio, caloric restriction can cause the body to cannibalize muscle. (Remember: that slows your metabolism, yeah?)
There’s a difference between a caloric deficit and caloric restriction. If the restriction is too extreme (read: starvation) the body will only carry more fat, which is why yoyo-ing is so common. Instead of restricting your calories, incorporate protein and healthy fats into each meal to satiate and send a signal to your brain that you’ve eaten, you’re full, and you’re ready to go for the next couple of hours. Incorporate your healthy fats and proteins throughout the day and carbohydrate consumption directly surrounding your workouts.
[Hallie’s note: Kate wrote a great post on how to grocery shop on a budget — it’s definitely worth a read.]
3. The Role of Fiber
One of my favorite F words!
[Hallie’s note: One of my top — uh, five — as well. Right next to Friday and the other obvious choice. Yaaas!]
Fiber is fucking essential to weight loss or maintaining weight.
[Hallie’s note: There it is, lol. Fuckin’ love you, Kate.]
Fiber encourages the movement of food throughout the intestines and aids in the absorption of the other macronutrients you put in your body. It will also slow down the digestion of sugar and carbohydrates, which helps to prevent them from being stored as fat. AKA, you’ll feel like a total thin. Try to get between 25-35 grams per day from sources like quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, avocado, coconut, legumes, berries, blah, blah, blah.
[Hallie’s note: … And popcorn! Here’s four healthy recipes to make for your next girls’ night.]
4. Change Your Training
Duh. Right? It seems obvious. But I’m not talking about “muscle confusion.”
Wait, speaking of that, your muscles aren’t SMART, so you cannot confuse them. Nothing is more annoying than the term “muscle confusion.”
If you do the same workout every day, it’ll get easier because you’ll get stronger. Your body will adapt to your workouts, and they become less efficient. That’s why you constantly need to challenge (not confuse) yourself.
Here are some ideas:
- Lift heavier weights
- Focus on your abs
- Lift with less recovery between sets
- Do it different, like a full-body dumbbell workout
- Incorporate super or giant sets
- Add a steady state cardio day for an added calorie burn
- Run faster
- Use inclines
[Hallie’s note: If you didn’t know, Kate has a customized workout program that she creates for clients based on their health, wellness and workout goals. You can e-mail her here for more information.]
5. Go to Sleep
Sleep. It is vital to losing body fat. Sleep allows your body to rest, repair and reset your hormones. If you are sleep deprived, it will increase your cortisol levels, which promotes fat storage around your midsection and make you a raging/moody bitch!
[Hallie’s note: One of Kate’s goals this year has been to get more sleep — you can read about that here.]
Let me clarify. Drink WATER. So much water.
[Hallie’s note: Is vodka AND water okay? Just kidding. Kinda. Here’s my take on why it’s important to stay hydrated, too.]
Not only will your skin and eyes appear brighter, fresher, and YOUNGER (omg, yes) you’ll fend off hunger pangs and cravings, have more energy, sleep better, and my personal favorite BE LESS HUNGOVER WHEN YOU DRINK.
Bottom’s up, people.
[Hallie’s note: I wrote a post about fruit-infused waters last summer — they’re delicious!]
Feeling a bit stagnant despite the hard work you put into your workouts and meal preps? Even the smallest change may help push your forward. You know what they say, a change will do you good.
[Hallie’s note: Amen, sister. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Kate!]
Written by Kate Lemere of The Four Percent