• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

How to lose those last 5 pounds

January 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
You've been working out hard and watching your calories, but low and behold, you've hit a plateau.Losing those last five pounds can be brutal. Exercising like crazy, cutting calories even more, and still the scale won't budge. Here's what the experts do to get that fat to fly.

"You have to shake it up a bit," said fitness expert Kathy Smith. "To lose the last 5 pounds you need variety in your workouts."

Author of "Feed Muscle, Shrink Fat," fitness expert Kathy Smith says too often the recipe is grabbing a magazine on a cardio machine doing the same old thing.

"And there they are walking at the same pace, the same time, the same place every single day," said Smith.

Her solution is cardio bursts. Interval training using something called perceived exertion.

"Perceived exertion being how hard you're exercising on a scale of one to ten, for about two minute bursts pick it up to that eight or nine," said Smith.

And alternate those high energy bursts in between moderate bouts to rev up your fat burning furnace.

"You're going to start to see the pounds melting away," said Smith.

Trainer Gunnar Peterson suggests between diet, exercise, sleep and stress, weight won't budge when one element is out of whack.

"Look at your program in its entirety," said Peterson. "Look at your cardio, look at your weights, look at your nutrition, look at your hydration, and look at your sleep. Those are the components that are really the ones that are going to play into it and anywhere you fall off in there something's not going to be perfect."

In addition both experts say working muscles is just as important as cardio training.

"A pound of muscle burns 50 calories, a pound of fat 3 calories," said Smith.

One common mistake in strength training is performing small single-joint exercises.

"You get infinitely more benefit from doing big body movements, multi-joint movements," said Peterson. "Your calorie burning rate is going to go through the roof and you're going to get better results faster."

Finally, rather than a magic number, both suggest stepping away from the scale and focusing instead on healthy living.

"Do you really need to lose those last five pounds?" said Smith. "Or is your body telling you now this is really your set point."

"You're going for the balance, you're going for longevity, you're going for quality of life," said Peterson

It is important to remember that a weight plateau happens when you become leaner. Your basal metabolic rate slows, which in turn means burning fewer calories.

If possible, eat small meals more often. Five to six meals every three to four hours that total at least 1200 calories or more to give your body the energy it needs for working out.

Make sure weights are heavy enough to make a difference in your fat burning potential, along with 'reving' up aerobic intensity. If you feel you're working at capacity, ask yourself if perhaps you can go a bit longer. Two to ten extra minutes adds up over time.

---

For more information:

Load Comments