Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hit a plateau? Hit the stairs! (Or something like it!)

Weight loss can be a tricky thing.  You may be eating healthy, watching your calories, and working out...yet you've hit a plateau and the weight loss has come to a halt.  This is so frustrating, right??

Here are a few reasons as to why your weight loss may have slowed:

1) YOU ARE EATING MORE-- Say what?? Yes, this may be true.  The combination of working out and losing water in your body makes you more hungry!  The smartest plan to follow is eating small meals throughout the day.  This includes eating a small snack before you work out.  Make sure you stay hydrated as well.  Water should be your best friend.

2)  YOU MAY NOT BE EATING ENOUGH-- When you begin a lifestyle change, don't deprive yourself of food.  FOOD IS ENERGY!!  Just be smart about it.  Never go below 1200 calories a day and ALWAYS eat a healthy breakfast. 

3)  YOU MAY BE LIFTING WEIGHTS-- This is a GOOD thing...this is a GREAT thing!!  If you have stuck to a strength training regimen (good for you!), you most likely have noticed the number on the scale NOT moving.  Please tell yourself....this is OKAY!  What your body is doing is trading fat cells for muscle.  Muscle weighs more than fat. Don't be sad about this...increasing the muscle tone in your body will make you look FABULOUS! You may even forget about the number on the scale.

4)  YOU MAY BE DOING THE SAME WORKOUT--  Ever get addicted to a certain workout?  (Zumba anyone?!!) Although it may be hard to mix up your workout, it is absolutely CRUCIAL if you want to lose weight.  The most popular type of training these days is called HIIT, or rather High Intensity Interval Training.  This type of training creates "muscle confusion" in the body, and your body has no choice, but to change!! Adding short bursts of intense exercise not only burns more calories, but will increase your metabolism as well.

"A HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by six to ten repetitions of high intensity exercise, separated by medium intensity exercise, and ending with a period of cool down exercise. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise. The goal is to do at least six cycles, and to have the entire HIIT session last at least fifteen minutes and not more than twenty." -Wikipedia

Short on time?  GREAT!  HIIT training usually lasts anywhere between 9-20 minutes.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE HIIT WORKOUTS.... The Old Main Stairs at Utah State University
 I'm not going to tell you that running stairs is easy.  It's more along the lines of voluntary torture!  However, it is a QUICK and especially beneficial workout.  Here is what I do:

Minutes 1-5: Warm Up- I walk up to Old Main from my house with Kusaba, my dog...He loves stair days!  And the best part?  He met a friend to run around with. 

Minutes 6-10: Walk/Jog the entire length of stairs.  There are exactly 125 stairs in case you are wondering!

Minutes 10-11:  Two sets of ten pushups

Minutes 12-14:  Sprint four short lengths of stairs
Minutes 15-16:  Jumping Jacks or Lunges

Minutes 17-19:  Sprint four short lengths of stairs

Minutes 20-21:  Two sets of ten pushups

Minutes 23-25: Sprint four short lengths of stairs

Minutes 24-26:  Try to not pass out...breathe...and stretch.  
Oh yeah, the view from the top of the stairs is pretty amazing!

Do you have a workout or diet that has worked for you?  Please share!  Email me at: