This article will cover a few tips that I find to be easy ways to break past that pesky fat loss plateau and continue working toward a physique you have always desired. Read time: 5 minutes.
I find this to be a hidden factor among fat loss and breaking past plateaus.
Non-exercise aerobic thermogenesis: Coined by James A. Levine, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, NEAT refers to the calories your body burns as you go about living your life: climbing stairs, folding laundry and even chewing gum. I find this to be a hidden factor in fat loss and breaking past plateaus. NEAT is something you don’t always have full control of, but you can definitely be aware of it and do something about it. For example, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that a certain number of steps taken per day is correlated to the lifestyle that person lives: sedentary, somewhat active, active. It is thought that to be an active person, you generally take at least ten thousand steps per day. So that brings us to this method:
- Increase your total daily steps
Today I was more aware of my steps, or lack thereof. I am a fourth-year college student; This means that I tend to sit either in front of the computer or in front of a book most of my day. My average step count for the past month has been around three thousand steps per day. Yes, this is somewhat questioning being a fitness professional and all. This simply means that I have to make up for that lost caloric expenditure in the gym or on the cycling bike. Today, as I became more aware of my show coming up in two weeks, I realized that I need to increase that number if I want to do all I can to lose this last little bit of fat before I compete onstage. Here some things that I did differently today:
- Parked my car in the furthest spot I could from my destination
- I walked across my campus to the furthest computer lab to finish some work
- I walked for 10 minutes pre workout and again post workout to increase my steps
I increased my total steps threefold today by making these small adjustments. These tweaks had no effect on my workout or the rest of my day. Try making these small changes in your daily habits and see how much it improves your N.E.A.T.
Keep Food Choices Consistent
… choose your food sources for that week and stick to them.
In a world consumed by tasty protein dessert options and low calorie this and that, we tend to get mixed up in the hype of trends and lose sight of quality food choices or the methods that work. During the last stages of my fat loss phase, my life is normally in full swing with work and classes. The last thing that I want to worry about is what I am going to eat that day to hit my caloric goals. This leads me to the main point, choose your food sources for that week and stick to them. Yes, this can get somewhat boring and repetitive, but then again it’s just for the week – you pick the food sources, don’t make them something you know you will not want to eat for the next week. This method helps take stress off of your day and puts the focus back on tasks that truly matter. Here are some things I do each week:
- Make a list of the foods (or meals) that I will want for that week
- Make a meal plan from that list of food items or meals
- Cook the proteins ahead of time to save time in packing your meals each morning/night
These three easy tips allow me to take the stress of thinking about what I am going to eat or cook when time is not on my side. This method keeps me on task and on time while achieving my physique for the professional stage.
… the one sole reason why you are not making progress.
Easily the most overlooked yet important one of them all, and that’s why I left it for the last one to discuss today. Sleep is something that we all seem to put on the back burner or on the list of things we can cut out of our lives to get more done. Well, I am here to tell you that this could be the one sole reason why you are not making progress or have been stuck in a rut. What effect will sleep deprivation have on me? Here are just a few physiological functions that directly affected by sleep:
- Energy expenditure
- Insulin sensitivity
- Growth hormone production
- Muscle growth
- Flushing of neurotoxins
- Weight loss
- Increased stress
- Immune system
- The list goes on…
As you can see from the short list above, sleep is very important. You should be doing all that you can to ensure that you are maximizing this time. As you have gathered from the information above, increasing your daily steps, keeping food choices consistent, and improving sleep you will be zoom right by that annoying fat loss plateau. Although these tips sound easy, which they are, it is still your responsibility to execute them. Take it upon yourself to write down these new goals and hold yourself accountable to them.