Fitness Articles

Plateau Busters - Part 1

Eat the Right Nutrients at the Right Times

2.  Your body can only do so much with the tools that it has, so eat well.    Aim for a wide variety of foods (instead of the same old thing day in and day out) from every basic food group.   Try new fruits and vegetables, ethnic cuisines, and a wide range of lean proteins, including non-meat sources like tofu and legumes. All (or most) of your grains should come from whole, unrefined foods like whole-wheat breads and pasta, and brown rice.

These healthy foods, especially when eaten every three to four hours, will help raise and stabilize your metabolism (and energy) to optimal levels. With fewer ups and downs, your hunger will stay in check, and you’ll have plenty of energy to finish a tough workout.

3.  After a workout, refuel with a balanced snack or meal within 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remember, “balanced” does not mean just protein. In fact, most individuals—and even athletes—need less than 10 grams of protein post-workout. Carbohydrates are actually more important, so try to eat an additional 30 to 60 grams at this time, when your body is primed to uptake glycogen into the cells to replace the energy you just used up during your workout. 
4.  Don’t overlook your huge need for water. Hydration is very important for stable energy levels.  (You store 3 molecules of water for every glycogen molecule). Plus, hydration promotes muscle building (powering your metabolism), while dehydration promotes muscle breakdown. So drink up—before, during, and after your workout sessions. The standard “8 cups a day” might not be enough for you, especially if you are exercising regularly.

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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • Great info - 9/11/2013 5:28:56 PM
  • MELJONES3478
    If you consume less than 1200 calories your body is not getting all the nutrients that it needs. - 3/27/2013 3:02:43 PM
  • What on earth is that nonsense about 1200 kcal?! It seems to be all over SP. Why should one never less eat than 1200 kcal (regardless the height and activity level)? Does one get hit by a lightning on the very same day one eats less than 1200kcal or what??? Meh... - 3/26/2013 5:54:15 PM
    This came at a good time for and my workout buddy have been trying to figure out why we hit a plateau and this could be it...Our level of active has so increased since we started working out....and we have stayed at the same calorie intake since we started loosing weight...So we are going to give this a try....Thank you - 9/30/2012 1:01:38 PM
  • Meh...Didn't really find this article all that helpful - 6/9/2012 12:57:50 PM
  • I am glad they put this up because I used to be 230 lbs. and got down to 145 lbs. but I hit a plateau and I just gave up and now I am 162.8 lbs. Now I'm gonna be more fit, follow these tips, and exercise more and what not :) Oh yeah and this time I'm toning because I didn't tone up last time neither, my maximum goal is 120-110 lbs. I'm only 5'2". - 6/7/2012 6:09:18 PM
  • I am at a total loss as to how to get to the page where we input our info to get our caloric needs figured out -it's been over two years, and I need to review it. The links in artcicles only lead me to ads. Where can I get to that page so i can make any changes necessary? - 9/14/2011 1:34:40 PM
  • I need to bring my FOCUS back . Instead of sitting on the couch watching tv I need to get up and do crunches or lift some weights. Once started it's not so hard. - 7/17/2011 6:51:37 AM
  • Good information. - 7/14/2011 3:36:09 AM
  • This article came at a perfect time! - 12/7/2010 4:21:18 PM
  • I discovered a way to break through plateaus. It started with ExerciseTV on DEMAND TV with Comcast. I did Jillian Michaels 30 min. videos. 1 minute cardio,1 minute light weight training. You keep alternating the cardio with the weights for 30 minutes. All of a sudden, the weight just started to come off easily. I'm 2 lbs. away from my Spark goal of 150 lbs. , but I'd like to lose about 12 more to reach 138. I don't know if this "trick" will work for everyone, but it's worth a try. Your heart rate stays elevated for the whole 30 mins. thus burning fat. I try to do two 30 min. videos a day. - 12/7/2010 7:28:42 AM
  • I too have reach a plateau of sorts. When I got back from a months vacation, I did not go back to tracking my meals like I should have. I always begin in the mornings and slack off by lunch time. Looks like I know what my problem is but lack motivation. - 9/24/2010 6:12:29 PM
  • I'm down to my LAST 3 POUNDS to goal weight and having quite a time busting through to get them off. I know that I really need to ramp UP my exercise, but having real trouble finding the time to do that. Just gonna have to find it, somehow. - 7/17/2010 8:40:47 AM
  • One key comment in the article.....adjus
    t your calorie intake for the level of activity!!!!!!! You have to pay attention to that one or your body goes into starvation mode and keeps storing calories..... - 7/8/2010 10:27:52 AM
  • no matter what I do I am not loosing any weight. I do weight training once a week, pilates once a week, walk evey day, and at least two other days a week I do some kind of exercise class. I eat lots of vegs, fruit, try to limit carbs, fat, no dessert, lots of fibre, yogurt, lots of water, so not sure what is happening. So far am reaching the 1200 cal per day. Just turned 65 so figure I now have no metabolism!!!

    I found the article good; however, as some have stated we feel we are doing everything we should with no results. - 5/31/2010 8:35:50 PM

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