So, you’ve been diligent about training and hitting the gym, and you feel like you should be in the best shape of your life, but somehow those numbers on the scale just aren’t budging. What gives? You may need to step back and reassess your weight loss strategy.
POTENTIAL CULPRIT: YOUR CALORIE BUDGET IS OFF
Successful weight loss requires calorie control. If you’re physically active, you might think you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming, but take a closer look—the numbers will often surprise you.
WHAT TO DO: RECALCULATE AND KEEP YOURSELF HONEST
If you’re not shedding pounds—especially if you’re working out regularly—start measuring and tracking everything you’re eating to figure out where you can slash calories. Making smarter drink choices, choosing lean and low-calorie pre- and post-workout protein supplements, eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and reducing your portion sizes are examples of little tweaks you can make to bring down your daily count. It takes about 3,500 calories below your calorie needs to lose a pound of body fat, so if you want to lose one to two pounds per week, you’ll need to reduce your caloric intake by 500-1000 calories each day. Keeping a food journal is a good way to make yourself more aware of what you’re eating, and fitness wearables can help measure your daily activity level and calorie-burn more precisely. No matter what your calculation method, revisit your target and check your progress regularly.
POTENTIAL CULPRIT: YOUR METABOLISM IS DRAGGING
When you cut calories, your metabolism can take a hit. Reduced intake puts your body on the defensive and sends it into the human equivalent of “energy saver” mode, leading it to burn fewer calories. While a rigorous gym routine can certainly rev up a dialed down metabolism and help counteract this instinctual mechanism, sometimes it takes more than exercise to step up your body’s capabilities.
WHAT TO DO: TURN UP THE HEAT
The more muscle you have, the more energy you need for its upkeep, which is why strength training is such an effective metabolism-booster. As your body builds lean muscle, it burns more calories, which contributes to successful weight control. However, dropping pounds isn’t an easy, overnight process and sometimes your body can use an extra helping hand along the way. Thermogenic supplements may be able to give your metabolism a much-needed kick in the pants as you reduce your calorie intake to slim down. They work by helping to accelerate your metabolic rate and boost your energy expenditure. Thermogenic supplements can also help you get more out of your workout—research suggests that taking one prior to exercising can enhance performance and may enable you to work out longer and harder.