Viewing your fitness journey as a marathon and not a sprint is one of the biggest ways to keep your mind in the game for the long haul. Just like our contestants, there’ll be days (or even weeks) when you wonder why the weight isn’t melting away, or why you’re not seeing the same kinds of gains you’re used to making in the gym.
It’s natural to expect measurable progress when you know you’ve been watching your diet and getting those reps in. But, as Biggest Loser trainer Erica Lugo reminded us in a recent chat, hitting a temporary plateau every now and then is inevitable. The trick, she says, is to work through it by keeping your focus on the big picture — and to stay committed to your plan.
“People think plateaus are if they don't lose weight for two weeks, and that's the furthest from the truth,” says Erica. “A plateau is if you don't lose weight for 12 weeks — that's a long time. So patience is the key, right? Like, if you're just not losing weight for two weeks, don't freak out. Keep going.”
When your fitness efforts seem to be hitting a wall, it’s a good time to take stock of your routine and see if there’s extra room to make some small tweaks. “Look at your nutrition,” says Erica. “Are you sticking with the same thing, or are we kind of getting a little bit lenient? You know, things like sauces and creamers and condiments and all those little things add up. So, are you really tracking everything?”
Erica’s always encouraging our contestants to keep that water bottle handy throughout the day, and it’s a tip she stresses for everyone. “Are you really staying hydrated? A gallon; a gallon and a half in a day” of water helps keep your appetite feeling satisfied for longer, and more importantly, staying hydrated helps your body handle all the demands your hard work places on it.
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to review your gym routine and think about ways to jump-start your body’s response to exercise. “Change up your workouts,” Erica says. Sometimes our muscles respond when we approach things differently after a while. For example, if you’ve stopped seeing gains from doing leg raises on a weight machine, try stimulating those upper thigh muscles by giving squats a try.
In the end, it’s all about approaching your fitness journey as just that: a journey. Every body is different, and part of the journey is discovering what works for you. “No matter what you decide to do,” says Erica, “consistency is key. If you show up every single day, results will come.”
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