Some common reasons for plateaus include:
1. Doing the same workouts over and over. Your body needs to be challenged to progress, so make sure you're changing some part of your program every 4-6 weeks.
2. Not eating enough calories. If your body doesn't have enough fuel to sustain your level of activity, you can actually stop losing weight.
3. Overtraining. If you exercise too much, the body sometimes responds by decreasing the amount of calories you burn during the rest of your day.
Learn more about whether you've hit a plateau by keeping an exercise calendar and tracking your workouts, how often you change them and whether you're working too hard or need to boost your intensity
Problem 1. Lowering your calories too much Fact: It takes calories to burn calories. When you decrease your food intake, your body simply lowers its metabolic rate in response. This still allows the body to function properly, but ultimately your body requires fewer calories which creates hunger and prevents you from losing fat.
Solution: Keep your calories slightly below your maintenance calories so that your energy and metabolism remain high. A deficit greater than 500-700 calories makes it much more difficult to maintain your lean body mass.
Solution: Make sure your exercise program is combined with a fully nourished body. You can accomplish this with a diet that creates a safe calorie deficit along with some type of multivitamin to help with any nutrient deficiencies.
Problem 3. Weight loss What? But you thought that's what you wanted! However, what you may have forgotten is that when you weigh less, it takes less calories to move your body. A loss of any amount of weight will lead to a reduced energy requirement.
Solution: Make sure you start (or continue) a weight training program to help increase lean body mass, which can help compensate for the loss of calories.
Problem 4. The 'Adaptation' Phase Ends When you start a new exercise program, your body responds because it is required to make numerous changes to adjust to different workloads. So, your muscles are rebuilding themselves and this consumes all kinds of calories. But, at some point your body will stop adapting to the new workload and, as a result, you burn less calories for the same activities.
Solution: Don't let your body get used to the exercise. Maintain your body's adaptation period by changing the intensity, duration, frequency and/or the mode of exercise and include interval training if necessary.
Problem 5: Exercise Efficiency The more you do something, the better you get at it. As your body becomes better at performing your exercises, it can actually use fewer calories during the exercise. Think of it this way: trained athletes often use fewer calories than untrained athletes with similar body types and workouts. So, if this describes where you are, consider yourself a trained athlete and read on!
Solution: The solution to this is the same as for Problem 4; don't get used to the exercise. Concentrate on more dramatic changes such as trying brand new activities. For example, if you use the treadmill for two weeks, switch to something different like the rowing machine or the bike. Don't forget to make changes in your weight training routine as well!
Solution: Take time to recover. If you reach exercise burnout, this is a great time to take a break for a few days, or try something gentle like yoga or a stretching routine. After you've rested, get back to exercise but lighten up your original routine and increase your intensity only as necessary.
7. Enhanced Physical Condition As you get into better shape, your body is more efficient and it costs fewer calories to operate. Improved health means a lower resting metabolic rate and fewer calories are burned during normal daily activities. Part of this is because your cardio-pulmonary system is more efficient now and you have a lower resting heart rate.
Solution: Congratulations! You're officially in shape and healthy. Focus on that and feel good about yourself. Concentrate on changing your routine as described in Solution 5.