How-To: Break Through A Weight Loss Plateau

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day (there, now this post is relevant no matter WHAT day I post it or YOU read it, unless I post it or you read it right ON Valentine’s Day).  How are we doing with February?  Was Valentine’s Day the final nail in the coffin of a slow and sugary decline since mid-January?  Or did it revitalize you and give you renewed energy for your health and fitness goals for the year?

No matter which camp you’re in, this is the point in many fitness and weight loss attempts (aka the six-week mark) where you can experience a dreaded “plateau.”  This can happen sooner for some and later for others.  It can last days or even weeks (!).

What exactly IS a weight loss plateau?  If you’re failing to see ANY sign of measurable progress after two weeks (this means NO change in measurements, NO change in how your clothing fits, NO change on the scales and NO changes in how you look in the mirror or in photographs and NO change in your performance in the gym), THEN it’s a plateau.  If you’re still getting stronger in the gym (evidenced by lifting heavier weights and/or for more sets), or your cardio is improving (resting heart rate is decreasing) and/or you can go for longer and/or at a higher intensity than you could before, your progress hasn’t really “stalled” – it’s simply taken you in a different direction than you expected.  Like just about everything else in life, fat loss isn’t linear, and there are a lot of routes to get you from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to go).

The good news if you really ARE experiencing a weight loss plateau?  1) It’s totally normal.  2) There ARE things you can do about it!  I shared just some of those strategies in my weekly Instagram video series (and Facebook posts), and you can read about them in more detail, next!

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How-To: Make Time for Exercise, and Make It A Priority

We’re all busy people, aren’t we?  We’ve got jobs to go to, kids to take care of, meals to make and eat, workouts to do, and somehow, we’re squeezing in sleep and quality time with our spouses and ourselves.  Wait – what’s that?  You’re NOT getting workouts in?

I get it. You’re a busy professional working mother (like me). It’s amazing that you keep your tiny human(s) alive and fed and clothed and you meet your deadlines each day. Who’s got time for exercise?

I’ve shared about ways to sneak more activity into your day.  I’ve come up with suggestions to juggle parenthood and fitness.  I’ve even told you what to do when you finally find yourself in the gym!

If you’re still struggling to actually MAKE the time to exercise, this post is for you.   I’ll share my top tips to not only squeeze it in, but also make it a non-negotiable priority in your schedule.

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Have Child(ren) – Will Exercise!

The title of this week’s post could also be “Five Ways to Sneak in Exercise When You Have Kid(s)” (it was a toss-up – let me know which one you think should have won!).

If you’ve got one child or three, you probably find yourself with less time (or at least less time flexibility) to exercise than you did in your pre-kid life (also known as “BC” – “before child(ren)” – welcome to “AD: after dependent(s)).  Going to the gym at 5am used to actually be a totally normal occurrence in my life (weird, I know).  Now sleep is more precious than gold (on the other hand, I know some parents who have embraced early-morning workouts in parenthood, since they’re up with the kids anyway!).  Or maybe scheduling didn’t matter so much – you could leave the house on a whim, totally unsupervised (you AND the house).  Now it’s major-league level logistics to coordinate who is doing what, where, when and with whom.

I’m here to offer up some strategies to get you (or keep you) moving.  Fitting into your pre-kids wardrobe is a great money-saver (and ego-booster), because time and money both seem to disappear more quickly when there are little people in the household (and no, I don’t mean Leprechauns!).  You can review this week’s Instagram video series (or get the videos in your Facebook newsfeed – be sure to choose “Follow” and “See First” to ensure you’re getting all of my latest and greatest FREE health & fitness content).  Or you can settle in right here with me for a read:

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Five Sneaky Ways to Get More Activity in Your Day

Last week’s post on five family-friendly, delicious and nutritious recipes was a hit with my busy professional readers.  I decided to follow it up with the fitness portion of the health and wellness equation, since energy balance is all about both calories in (from food) and calories out (from our bodies’ processes and activities each day).

Are you ready for today’s science lesson?  The amount of energy we use each day is called our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).  It’s not just about the numbers on the calorie counters at the gym or on your personal tracking device (both of which are notoriously inaccurate, by the way).  Nope, the bulk of calories we “burn” in a day aren’t in our Zumba class, but rather the normal daily biological functions that keep us alive and moving.  Things like breathing, digesting our food and thinking.  Even sleeping!  The amount of energy it takes to keep our bodies functioning each day is called our basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR).  The fact that it takes energy to break down our food for use in our bodies is captured in the thermic effect of eating (TEE).  And of course we know that we use energy when we hit the gym or do another kind of workout or class – that’s physical activity (PA).  But then we have all of the movement we undertake each day that’s not part of our formal exercise routine.  We get out of bed, we brush our teeth, we walk from Point A to Point B, and back to Point A because we forgot why we went to Point B in the first place (or wait, is that just me?).  Yup, all this movement adds up!  It’s the non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).  So TDEE = BMR + TEE + PA + NEAT.  Neat, right?  NEAT, indeed!

This post is all about ways to increase your NEAT and get more activity into your already busy day.  Read on!

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How-To: Scale Exercises (Progressions and Regressions)

Well hello, hello!  We’re truly in the 101 level of fitness – this is important, because any time you want to build a strong structure, you need to start with a solid foundation.  So as tempting as it may be to skip over the “boring” basics, getting a handle on these elements is going to set you up so well for your future fitness success.  I know personally that it can be really tempting to grab the latest and greatest workouts endorsed by your favourite fitness influencers or celebrities, but what if those programs don’t meet your current fitness level?  There’s a chance that the workouts are too easy for you OR too hard.  I want to introduce ways to modify the level of an exercise, either making it easier (this is regressing the exercise) or harder (this is progressing the exercise).  And guess what?  My tips do NOT mention decreasing or increasing the amount of weight OR the number of reps (you’ve got those approaches in the bag, I bet!).  Let’s bring on the basics of exercise scaling!  As always, you can check out my Instagram video series on this topic, or see my videos on Facebook.  Looking for more information or tailored advice specific to you?  Contact me via e-mail any time to arrange a complimentary chat!

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Work It Out: The “Insane” Inverse Pyramid (HIIT)

Heavy DumbbellsFINALLY – a workout post on the blog.  Here I’ve been fatteningfueling you up to tackle and recover from some intense workouts with all of my high-protein recipes, and I haven’t given you any workout ideas to do.  Well, it’s time for that to change.  And this workout is intense enough that maybe you’ll wish I had never shared it (ha ha – no, don’t be intimidated – yes, it IS effective AND challenging, but it is very scalable for all levels of fitness).

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