By Bob Greene , Bob Greene, a certified personal trainer and exercise physiologist, has transformed the lives of millions, including Oprah Winfrey. Get a personal plan designed by Bob at thebestlife.com.
Misty Mallory from San Diego wrote in asking, "I've hit a plateau--how can I start losing again without working out longer?"
Good news: You can get better results--in the same amount of time--simply by increasing your intensity.
A plateau can mean your body is fighting to hang on to those last 10 or 15 pounds as a buffer against future starvation, especially if you've cut calories. Vigorous workouts, on the other hand, signal your body to release those extra fat stores for energy. To rev up a healthy way, I recommend a 50-50 workout: Do your usual activity, such as walking, but for only half the time; then finish with a new activity like bicycling, jogging, or jumping rope. If you work out at a gym, try two cardio machines (maybe a treadmill and an elliptical). By switching exercises midworkout, you'll stay fresh, challenge new muscles, and burn more calories because you can give 100% all over again.
In addition to bumping up intensity, check your food intake--you may be eating more calories than you realize. Unconscious nibbling throughout the day--grabbing a few M& M's from your coworker's desk or taste testing while you prepare dinner--can add up. I suggest keeping a food diary (try My Health Trackers) to rein in excess calories and get the numbers on your scale moving in the right direction.