Prevent the Weight Loss Plateau

Hitting a weight loss plateau after weeks on a fitness routine is incredibly frustrating. No matter what you do, things feel like they’re not changing. Did you have to back down on weights? Or can’t lose those last 5 pounds? 

So first, if you’ve hit a plateau… congratulations! You’re working towards your goals, so don’t get disillusioned. The plateau is part of the process.

Don’t worry, there are ways to break through. Here are our top tips to improve your fitness to prevent the weight loss plateau.

prevent the weight loss plateau

1. You May Need to Eat MORE Calories.

Most often, a weight loss plateau is due to improper nutrition. So before we dive into ways to break your weight loss plateau with better fitness, how is your diet? As you start losing weight, your metabolism slows down. Your body has recognized that there are fewer fat stores to call upon in “times of need” and therefore burns fewer calories.

This is the double-edged sword of weight loss and the big reason why we never subscribe to restrictive fad diets or “overnight” weight loss. It is the same reason why dieters yo-yo and bounce back to above their original weights.

To break a weight loss plateau, you often need to increase your caloric intake or eat more carbs to match the intensity of your workouts and build muscle. The problem with only evaluating the number of the scale is that it doesn’t differentiate between fat loss and muscle gain.

Are confused about tracking your daily caloric deficit or surplus. Are you only focusing on the number on the scale? We created a 30-day weight loss challenge to help you break your plateau and achieve sustainable weight loss.

It is critical to track certain numbers to make sure you’re on track with your weight loss goals. The five weight loss numbers you’ll track in the 30-day challenge will come in handy when trying to figure out why you’ve hit a weight loss plateau.

But only the good calories.

Speaking of good calories, we made an Ultimate Healthy Foods Guide that you can use to bring more of the highest quality foods into your life. Make sure you do the following before pointing your finger at fitness. An excess of any of these will keep you in a weight loss plateau even with the best fitness plan. An excess of eating more vegetables will drastically improve your results. 

  1. Quit drinking soda. Here’s why you should quit and how.
  2. Alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation.
  3. Eat real food. No fast food or highly processed food. Here’s what you should be eating.

2. Add Variety to Your Fitness Program.

Now that we covered the importance of nutrition let’s talk fitness. Hitting a fitness plateau will influence your weight loss. It happens when your body becomes accustomed to a routine. Your body starts to work more efficiently to burn fewer calories when it anticipates the same routine.

We’re all creatures of habit, so adding variety is key. The variety can be subtle, like mixing up the number of reps and weights, changing the speed, or trying out HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts instead of the exercise bike. In one cardio experiment we conducted, we found that HIIT workouts can be 60-90% more effective than slower-paced cardio workouts.

Building muscle is critical in every effective fitness program, especially for women. Adding muscle to your frame increases your metabolism and helps burn off body fat. 

Our free Resistance Bands Workout Routine is an effective and simple way to start gaining muscle mass. Incorporate these effective exercises with resistance bands to break your plateau. Additionally, if you want to feel what an excellent HIIT workout routine feels like, try our Couple’s Workout.

3. Follow a Plan.

Having a schedule for your workouts is critical. Useful calendars compensate for plateaus by incorporating appropriate rest days, ramping up intensity periodically, and including variety. We talk about this in-depth in our article titled ‘How to Get Fit as a Couple.’

With our current workout, Insanity Max:30 through Beachbody On Demand, not only do we follow four different workouts over six days a week, the calendar changes every two weeks to ramp up the intensity. More often than not, we feel the plateau only once we fall off!

Our favorite diet plan is intermittent fasting. This provides a highly simplified eating schedule and allows you to focus on quality instead of quantity. We have been intermittent fasters for over two years, and given these incredible health benefits, we talk to all of our clients about IF.

4. Introduce Periodization.

While the good calendars offer variety, the best offer periodization. Defined as the “long-term cyclic structuring of training and practice to maximize performance,” periodization is a design strategy for strength-training workouts. Periodized workouts account for variables such as tempo, number of repetitions, amount of resistance, the order of moves, and types of exercises.

Through this, periodized workouts make slow, step-by-step changes for gradual progression. An often-cited study by Bell State University shows that sports performance in both body fat percentage and lean muscle gains more than doubled with periodized workouts vs. non-periodized workouts in women.

For Ryan and I, we noticed this effect most greatly when working out to Body Beast before our wedding. The workouts were much more effective when watching the program with trainer, Sagi Kalev, than when we simply printed out the worksheets to follow along on our own. The difference was noticeable!

Read more: Is Beachbody On Demand worth it?

5. Diagnose Overtraining.

Often mistaken as a plateau, overtraining is when you’re over-stressing your body. Signs include reduced energy, muscle and joint pain, headaches, or frequently catching a cold. Prevent overtraining by getting inadequate rest days, quality sleep, rolling out/massaging your muscles, and eating enough carbohydrates.

Yes, carbs! Although vilified today, we need carbohydrates for muscle recovery. If absent from a diet, your body will go into muscle catabolism – meaning your muscles become energy instead of your fat! A tell-tale sign of this is if you’re losing more than 2 lbs. of weight weekly. If so, you’re losing too fast.

6. Bring in the Ringer – a Workout Buddy.

Our favorite way to prevent plateau is by working out together! Ryan and I both have days when we’re not feeling it, so it’s the responsibility of the other person to push through and motivate the other. Don’t underestimate the power of a workout buddy, especially when it’s your partner.

Working out as a couple is game-changing, and it will enhance your bond, boost attraction, and give you that much-needed quality time together. If you’re feeling so ambitious, sign you and your partner up for our free, 1-year mentorship program to lead you toward a stronger mind, body, and marriage.

Try our Couples Yoga Poses or Couples Workout Routine or Couples Yoga Flow Routine for a fun way to get healthy and bond with your partner.

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Hey we're Ryan and Alex

The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.

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