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"I workout, but I am not losing weight…HELP!"

I was teaching a “boot camp” type class yesterday and one of the participants expressed her appreciation for the intensity level of the class and how much she enjoyed it, (sweat dripping from her brow and pony tail askew). She further explained that despite working out five or six times per week, she was no longer losing weight and was frustrated...even irritated.

She has reached what we in the fitness industry call a plateau.  It’s that point where you still want to lose a few pounds so you’re continuing to do what you did to get you where you are, (lookout Dr. Seuss) but the pounds are not coming off.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to bump it up a notch.  Do something that will get your heart-pumping and the sweat-rolling for a few seconds or even minutes at a time.

If you currently walk on the treadmill or cycle at a steady pace, try speed intervals.  While walking on the treadmill, increase your speed for 20 or 30 seconds to a brisk walk or light jog.  If you cycle, increase your cadence for one minute and then return to your usual pace for three minutes.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!

If you always use the treadmill or an elliptical once or twice a week, take an indoor cycling class or run some sprints (think NFL Scouting Combine!).  Any activity that gets your heart rate elevated for a short interval will help to torch more calories because it’s increasing your metabolism.

When you are lifting weights, try Tabata Drills.  Instead of counting reps, lift your normal weight for 20 seconds and then take a 10 second rest before going into your second and third sets.  You can blast through that plateau in no time with this approach.  Make your mantra, “I can do anything for 20 seconds.”

It is important to periodically change your workout program.  The change might be a totally new workout plan or simply ramping up what you already like to do.  But the CHANGE, is what your body needs to burn more calories and get you to your goal. Our bodies are good at adaptation so changing your workout routine is necessary to “fool your body” into burning more calories (think muscle-confusion, but not Mad Cow).  As we continue to exercise in the same way, our bodies become efficient.

To my friend in the “boot camp” class, I suggest that if you aren’t sweating and panting intermittently during the class then you aren’t working hard enough.

For more help with changing up your workouts, go to and search for a personal trainer or instructor who can guide you through interval training and help you meet your fitness goals.

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