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woman measuring waistlineIt’s inevitable. At some point during your exercise program your body will fail to respond to the exercise and diet that has guaranteed you results in the past. This state, know as “the plateau effect,” is your body hitting the proverbial wall. Strength increases dwindle; fat loss slows; lean muscle gains aren’t as apparent. Life was good at the beginning of the program when your body responded by shedding massive fat, gaining pounds of muscle, and gaining superhero strength almost overnight. Welcome to reality.

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Individuals new to an exercise program typically achieve astounding results in the first 3, 6, or 12 months simply because their bodies are unaccustomed to vigorous activity. The central nervous system slowly employs additional muscle fibers to maximize performance; the body becomes stronger, more efficient, and capable of greater performance. The increase in muscle fiber increases exercise performance which, in turn, improves body composition. However, there is a limit to these “newbie gains” (as often called by the bodybuilding community).

So, what can you do to push beyond the inevitable plateau? Here are some tips from blackdoctor.org:

1. Clean up your diet.

As your body fat percentage lowers the body clings to its remaining fat stores making it harder to lose additional body fat. Your diet must remain very, very clean to drop below 10% for males and 15% for females.

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2. Cheat or re-feed.

Ok, this may be counterintuitive and in conflict with number 1 above. However, if you follow a very clean diet your body may need to be shocked. This is when eating pizza, nachos, etc. can actually jumpstart your metabolism and help push beyond your plateau. Many folks don’t believe in a dirty cheat meal (pizza, nachos, French fries, etc.) but believe in a re-feed meal or day. A re-feed meal is a clean meal (very little saturated fat) that’s high in complex carbs or good fats. READ MORE HERE

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