Almost 10 months post baby I’m almost down to my pre-baby weight. I have a fairly strict workout routine and I’m also using MyFitnessPal to keep track of both my workouts and my calorie intake, but MAN, is loosing the last few pounds hard work. I know part of the reason the pounds aren’t shedding as fast as I’d like is that I’m older now and I’ve also got a million other things to do than to work out. The other part is these last few pounds are hard to shake – aren’t they always?
In sharing my frustration with Mark this week I listed all the things I needed to change: no more wine, no bread at night, maybe even no carbs. Most everything else in my regimen is already baked in so I was at a loss. We don’t do dairy (though I’ve been known to on occasion), we don’t do meat (so I don’t need to cut out red meat) AND I workout daily with only one, maybe two days off a week — and even then I manage to fit in a 45 minute walk with the kid and dogs.
So what’s my problem then?
Thank god for husbands, because Mark knew right away what my problem was. I was too much into a routine. Every morning as soon as the baby goes down for his first nap I hit the bike for 30-45 minutes and then follow it with a 15-30 minute Nike workout (for iPhone users, it’s the Nike Training Club app). While I’ve definitely noticed results with this routine, I need to change it up to get some real results. Mark suggestion was so simple that I immediately felt like a dolt for not even thinking of it. All he said was, start running. Hit the trails. If you push that stroller on the trails 2-3 times a week you’ll start to see some results.
Even though I was changing it up with the Nike workouts and trying different ones to focus on different body areas or on getting lean or toned, it wasn’t making a dent on the last few pounds.
So, to help me remember for next time I get into a plateau and to hopefully help a few of you out as well, here are some tips for getting through it and back on track:
- Check your diet. Have you changed it recently? Are you cheating more than you’d care to admit? Even though it’s annoying and you never wanted to keep track of your calories because calorie counting has a stigma attached to it, people actually take in way more calories than they think they are, especially if you eat out often. Make sure to cut out the booze, because even just one glass of wine can kill a good 120+ calories that could have been used for something better for your body, like fruit. If you really want to get serious about weight loss, cut the dairy and/or carbs at night.
- Change up your routine. There’s a reason why cross-training is important, and it’s not just because it helps with injury prevention, it’s because this is when athletes start to see real results. Down to the basics of cross-training, it keeps you stronger and challenges your body because you begin to focus on other muscle groups that might not be getting used with your current routine. It also helps you feel stronger when you come back to your main focus. A few years back I was all about my morning spin classes — it became my bread and butter for working out and burning a ton of calories quickly. I then hit the beach running with my lifeguard friends and I rocked 2 miles in the sand (which is no easy feat) followed by 5 miles around Venice Beach, and I felt great and super strong. My super-buff lifeguard buddies reminded me that it was the biking making me stronger and allowing me to rock the running when I hadn’t even been running back at home.
- Consider running (if you’re not already). I’ve always said, “running is the quick fix.” (Well, I’ve actually said “running is like bulimia for athletes, but that seems so vulgar now.) The point is, you can burn so many calories running and you can do it quickly — other than a good pair of running shoes, you really don’t need anything else to make it happen. You don’t even need to drive to the gym. Just leave your house and go! I’ve used to always hate running and didn’t start until after college (seriously). Right before I became pregnant with Thad I rocked the “Hill of Death” 2-3 times a week! This hill is basically 2.25 miles uphill and then back down… and it is STEEP. But I felt great doing it and loved it.
- Take a break. If all else fails, take a day or two off. I know it seems counter intuitive, but sometimes it really makes a difference. Taking a few days off from working out helps your body recover and allows you to come back stronger for the next workout. I wouldn’t encourage completely going off the wagon and eating everything in site when you take a few days off from the workout routine, but I do encourage letting your body rest.
These are just a few tricks that have worked for me in the past. What works for you?