So I’ve spent some time researching plateaus over the last few days. I have to share with you some of the most interesting and odd tidbits so let’s bring on the internet hodgepodge of factoids!
This site pretty much tells me that I should never have gotten on a plateau in the first place and my body is a freak of nature. They advise to keep a food diary (I track my food religiously here and have for over a year), break up your meals (I eat breakfast in three segments from 9 to 11:30, lunch at 12:30, a snack in the afternoon, fruit before my workout, dinner right after, and then usually a light late snack), eat more (been on that for the last few weeks), get support (check), shake up my workout (they advise once a month, which is spot on with what I do), weight train (check – increased it but was definitely doing between 1 hour – 2 hours before per week), drink plenty of water (8 glasses or more a day without fail).
The only things they suggest three things I haven’t done: cut out alcohol (you can have my whiskey and diet coke when you pry it from my cold dead hands), cut out all refined carbs (again, you can have my bread and potatoes when you pry them from my cold dead hands… they even mention salad dressing and ketchup), and moving more outside the gym. Honey, I work my ASS off in the gym for the hour I have, I don’t fuck around and chit chat and day dream while I’m doing my squats, I rest only as long as it takes to get my heart rate low enough that I will not faint dead away during my reps. That’s why I could never have a workout buddy (one of their suggestions). Workout time is NOT social time. It’s business time, and I love it that way. I would resent someone that couldn’t keep up. Back to the point though – I feel like my workouts earn me a little couch time. I mean, it’s great if you go up and down the stairs instead of elevators and try to get up and talk to people instead of emailing (which I do) at work and you take a 10 minute walk on your lunch break (which I don’t). If that’s your main form of exercise, I am not belittling you, I just need balls-to-the-wall sweat sessions or I get cranky. And I think those allow me to not have to get up and march in place during commercials or wear a pedometer and walk circles around my house to amass 8 or 10 or 100k steps per day.
Anyways, so besides asking me to give up two of my main food groups (seriously, do these people know what it’s like to be 29, have a full social calendar with friends that are a bunch of lushes, and not home cook every meal? srsly…) and start a nightly parade around my living room 12 times, I’ve got it all down.
The site also recommends Free Trainers (though sadly they don’t actually link there – bad), so I hopped over and decided to check it out. They suggest that I eat 2238 calories (168 g protien, 336 g carbs, 27 g fat – how is that even possible to consume that much fat free protien?) with a slow metabolism and being sedentary to lose weight. That’s about 1k more than I was consuming on a normal lo cal day a month ago. So what to do after I resign myself to a daily diet of pretty much beans and lentils to get that much protien on that little fat? I need to do my advanced workout 5 days per week of doing 5 minutes on the treadmill to warm up, stretch, and then do 3-4 different weight lifting exercises per day. Gee, I thought I was cutting down with MY workout program, I could be in and out of the gym in less than 30 with that plan.
So instead of deciding to undertake a fitness plan which can only end in extreme flatulence, on with the googling I go. This next site only has 5 tips, so at least I can dismiss them quickly. Cycle calories is the first tip, which I do naturally (I mean seriously, who can eat exactly 1500 calories per day), but not with any schedule. I’ll eat 1500 one day then 1800 if I’m going out for a steak dinner, and then 1200 on a day I’m just not super hungry so it averages out over a week. I just can’t schedule it day by day. Then again, strength training and changing up your exercise routine and eat more often – gee why didn’t I think of that? The only new advice was to change your macronutrient ratio, which I have been doing with pushing fruits and veggies and adding nuts to my diet. So, besides a nice ancedote at the bottom about chilling out if you’re having trouble, not helpful at all. Next!
This looks like more of a body builder site but still seems applicable. Sadly, it looks like they’re saying the same things in a different combination. Tighten up your diet (which can’t help but remind me of tightening up the graphics) once again advises cutting out processed foods and cutting carbs. Then there’s calorie cycling again, eating more often, varying your workout, journal your progress, and don’t overtrain – but go ahead and try working out twice a day for a few weeks or doing 6-7 days of cardio, and while you’re at it why don’t you work on upping the intensity. Clear as mud, right?
On and on. This site gives me advice I’d like to believe works – forget about your diet one day per weekend or take time off. However, I think that’s what got me into this mess. Wiki how looks great until the “Tips” section. Doing my resistance training (aka full body strength session) before intervals would only end in tears. I’m so worked over after 20 mins I need an extra long cool down and I start with something easy to give myself time to recover. Doing that last? No thanks. Doing more than 5 days of cardio a week? Sure, I might take a walk or swim or do something passively active on a day off but I need my 2 days off – just like I need them off work to recharge. Take one away and I break down after a while.
According to this site, it’s simple. I’m either eating too much or not enough. If I’m eating at least 1200, it’s enough. And god forbid homegirl wants a damn sandwich – it says not to mix your protien and carbs (who can possibly do that?). Carbs are still the devil, and though I’m exercise at the max duration they suggest, perhaps I should stop just taking a walk around the block and do something more intense like a slow jog *eyeroll*? And I have so many options with this site! I can either workout either more intensely, with more variety, longer, or more often. Or, if that’s not enough, workout twice a day because celebrities do it and working out with no fuel in your body is supposed to be good for you (what a crock of shit). And according to them I should be eating…oh, just about what I do now, but in 300 calorie mini meals every 3 hours, again, foiling my plans to sustain any sort of normal life and to be able to eat socially with other people, oh, ever. And if that doesn’t work, just do the Atkins diet! I mean, Atkins worked so well for me before (read: I hated what I could eat so I starved myself).
After my time with the big Goo today, I’ve come to these conculsions:
1. I am pretty much smarter about this than the internet.
2. Their only suggestions are things that…
a. I am doing already (varied exercise, correct calorie range with some fluctuations over the week, eating often enough to keep my stomach not grumbly, water, journalling my food and exercise, etc)
b. Things that I refuse to do (cutting out all refined carbs and/or alcohol, cardio 6-7 days per week, two-a-day workouts, etc)
c. Things that make no sense (like eating 2300 calories a day, not eating carbs with protien, and cutting way down on workouts)
I think in light of the situation at hand and the information in front of me, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, and just aim to bet a bit better at it. In other words, lessen the amount of nutritionally void things I stuff my face with without eliminating food groups, make sure I’m getting my fruits and veggies everyday instead of some days, use the more sane October gym plan as an opportunity to do 100% of my workouts this month. I guess it’s all about moderation and consistency. It has to be, because if carbs really are the devil and running is evil, sign me up to be a crankypants in hell.