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Fit For Life: Prevent That Plateau in The First Place

Monday, April 25, 2016


I made a good analogy yesterday when I was talking to one of my clients about losing weight and reaching her goal. I told her that you can compare building yourself to building the perfect lawn. It’s difficult in the beginning, but when you hit your goal, the maintenance gets easier. She was on point with her food and exercise program, and lost over 20 lbs. doing everything correctly, and being precise with her nutrition plan. But, now she is at a standstill, and the weight loss hit a plateau. Not uncommon among people. After digging into the issue at hand, she confessed that she wasn't eating perfectly, but couldn't understand why the weight loss was not happening as rapidly. So I hit it home with her that every time she ate something bad or too many calories that it would halt progress. It usually won’t make you go backwards, but every bad decision you make while trying to achieve your goal, is like hitting a speed bump in the road. Using the perfect lawn example, I said that in order to have a beautiful manicured lawn, you need to dig up the crab grass, kill the grubs, dig up and spread new loam, rake it, level it, plant seed, and water it relentlessly, until it’s where you want it to be. After the initial hard work and labor it’s easier to maintain. All you need to do is water, fertilize, and cut it. Reaching your weight loss goal is no different. It’s a lot of hard work and discipline until you get there. You need to be religious-like with your eating, and workout regularly. Building muscle and burning fat takes time, effort, desire, drive, and discipline. If you don’t follow this format, it’s like not watering that lawn on a hot day, it’s going to halt progress or knock you back a step. You need to take a straight line, no nonsense approach to reach your goal, or it takes longer to get there. Like I said earlier, the maintenance is easier, and here’s why: It takes time.

Muscle takes time to develop. It takes you longer to build muscle than it does to burn fat. But once you develop muscle, it not only makes you look better and your clothes will fit looser, and hang in a more flattering way, but the biggest benefit is that it will elevate your metabolism. A pound of muscle is smaller in volume than a pound of fat, and it’s metabolically a more active tissue, so it will torch more calories at rest and make it easier to maintain your weight. But you still need to do the work to maintain your healthy and fit body. It’s not a part time job.

Being fit is a lifestyle, not a part time job. You can't go all out “sometimes”, especially when you have a big goal to accomplish. You need to go even harder until you reach your goal. You can't coast to success, you need to get on the high speed train, and stay on it until you reach your destination. If you need to lose 40 lbs., and you get to the 20 lbs. point, and then lose interest, and slack off, you will plateau, or even worse, slowly regress. However, once you hit your goal, even if you slack off and put a pound or two back on during a vacation or holiday, you only have a short distance to go to get it back. My advice is when you need to reach your destination, go full speed ahead, once you get there, it’s ok to go sightseeing. Make it happen first, then relax and enjoy later.

Fitness is like a business.

Success in fitness is a lot like success in business. I compare the two all the time, because I am trying to be successful with both. I got the fitness down. After 25 years in the industry, I can get you fit faster than anyone else, and I am very confident about that. Being in business is a different story. Although doing great 18 months out, I know I still have a lot to learn. Every month, my business does better, but I can’t - and won’t - coast just because I have a great month. I work relentlessly to reach my goal (even though my goal of success is undefinable).  I am working just as hard as I did on day one, but I work differently now. I am building my team and growing to new levels, so I still work hard, but I work more efficiently, now. Once I reach a certain point, I won’t coast, but the maintenance and flow of everyday operations will become more manageable, and easier to organize, just like your perfect physique. So, when you set a goal, go after it with everything you’ve got. Even when success shines a little, you can’t rest, and get complacent. We will always have temporary setbacks, but you need to make sure they stay that way - temporary. Always keep that positive “I can do mindset” and realize that anything is attainable if you work for it. Then when all the hard work is done, new habits will be formed, and the maintenance will be as simple as brushing your teeth. It becomes part of your everyday life, and when you fall, getting up becomes a lot easier.

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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