So, you’ve come a long way on your weight loss journey, but now, whether it’s five or 10 pounds you’re really struggling to lose that last little bit of weight.
Don’t worry, you’re totally not alone.
Nearly every expert we spoke with agreed: losing those last few pounds is tough for pretty much everyone, and unfortunately, sometimes even more so for women.
“I like to refer to the last 10 as ‘vanity weight,’” says Cassie Piasecki, a certified personal trainer and indoor cycling and Pilates instructor. “You've already gotten off a big chunk and you are healthier for it, but those last 10 pounds will really make you look awesome.”
Mostly, they’re so darn hard to lose because you’re body doesn’t think you need to lose anything more. If your current weight is healthy, as far as your body is concerned there’s no serious reason for you to lose that last little bit of fat.
However, while it might be a little bit vain, you’re on a mission to melt it away, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to go the extra distance so you can look and feel your very best.
So, what exactly do you need to do to get there?
“As a fitness professional, I advise my clients to shake things up and to sweat.... A lot,” Piasecki said. “If they've been running, I tell them to start indoor cycling. If they've been doing CrossFit, I tell them to start shadow boxing.”
She said workouts that offer a big calorie burn are always great options and that incorporating some sort of strength training is also of importance.
Billy Polson, C.S.C.S. trainer and owner of DIAKADI Fitness Performance Facility in San Francisco offered some similar advice.
“Whatever workout program you have been doing for the last few weeks, months or years, switch it up to something new,” he said. “Our bodies are incredibly smart when it comes to acclimating to stimuli. Shaking things up a bit is always a great way to rattle the cage and help your body break through a plateau.”
He also emphasized the importance of strength training. Especially if you’ve only been doing cardio workouts, he said, definitely add some muscle-building strength training into your routine.
And finally, both experts mentioned the importance of following a smart nutrition strategy.
“Eating with that same ‘shake things up’ philosophy can help take those 10 pounds off even faster,” Piasecki said.
Polson suggested keeping close track of your intake.
“Using the website EatingFree.com is hands down my favorite tracker for clients to use,” he said. “It allows the client to not only see macronutrient levels, but it intelligently translates these groups into which food groups the client should be eating in order to make the most of his or her day.”
Now that we’ve got the main points covered, it’s time to take a look at which types of workouts are actually the best for finally blasting away those final few pounds.
Here’s what the experts recommend.
Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training. A typical Tabata-style workout lasts for only four minutes, consisting of intervals that alternate between 20 seconds of high-intensity activity followed by 10 seconds of rest. This pattern is repeated for eight sets. “The workout is simple, you pick an exercise and perform it at the highest intensity for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest period,” explains Jamie Logie, a certified personal trainer, nutrition specialist and creator of Regained Wellness. “You repeat that cycle continuously for four minutes — eight cycles.” Logie says burpees are one of the best exercises to incorporate in a Tabata workout because they challenge the entire body in one move. “If you're just starting out, though, doing bodyweight squats or sprints on a stationary bike are great as well,” he said. “Tabata training is like a positive shock to the body that improves fitness but creates an enhanced calorie-burning effect if you've been stuck in a steady-state routine,” Logie added. For an example of a Tabata-style workout see: Get Fit Quick: Best Beach Body Workout.
Barre and Pilates
Astrid Brucker, a Pilates mat and Barre instructor at New York Sports Club agrees, losing the last 10 pounds can pose quite a challenge. “I find that Pilates and Barre conditioning exercises help a lot,” Brucker said. “Because our bodies have a set point for weight, the last several pounds can be tricky to lose. Pilates mat exercises, focusing on the side of the thigh, tone that area and slim it down. Similar to dance class exercises, the focus is toning, firming and extending the muscles for a very lean look.” Plus, she added, having better posture and more lean muscle mass —both effects of Pilates- and Barre-type workouts — will help to improve your overall body composition. See: The 15-Minute Barre Workout You Can Do at Home.