How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

The last pounds can be the most difficult to lose. “I warn my clients about how difficult it can be to get rid of those last ten pounds,” says Rob Zschau, a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness' Super Sport location in Plano, Texas. “But that doesn’t make it easier when they get to that point.”

Zschau says this standstill may occur for a variety of reasons: “If someone has lost 100 pounds, it may be psychological. They’ve worked so hard for so long and they just want to be done. Other people are relatively in shape but can’t lose those last pounds because maybe they’re at a plateau.”

What Can You Do

Whatever the case, it takes extra effort and motivation to take off those last stubborn pounds. Usually, Zschau says, there is piece of the equation missing such as:

Duration of Exercise
You may not be exercising long enough. The rule of thumb is cardio for 30 minutes, three times per week. If you really want to reach your goal, try five 45-minute cardio workouts per week. That sounds like a lot of exercise, but remember this is in order to meet your goal, not necessarily maintain it.

Intensity of Exercise
For both cardio and weight training, the key may be to bump up the intensity of your workout. For cardio, that means getting your heart rate into the target zone, or 65 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can also intensify your weight training. “Let’s say you work out twice a week with weights for one hour, doing a total body workout. Speed up the time between exercises, doing that same full body workout in 30 minutes. Do this 30-minute, more intense workout three times per week.”

Type of Exercise
"Unfortunately, you have to constantly change things up to make sure that your body doesn’t plateau,” says Zschau. He cites the example of an overweight cyclist who cycles all the time but can’t take off the extra pounds. “If you’re a cyclist and you add working on the elliptical trainer or the Stairmaster to your routine, as well as weight training, you’ll get better results.”

Good Nutrition
You can exercise until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re overeating, the weight isn’t going to come off. 24 Hour Fitness trainers work with clients to develop meal plans – based on their food preferences, metabolism and activity level – to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight

Reach Your Goal

As a fitness professional, Zschau says that many times he must be ‘the bad guy.’ “I have to tell people that maybe they don’t have a realistic goal. They may not be able to weigh 120 pounds like they did when they were 15 years old.”

The other news that many people don’t want to hear is the necessity of incorporating both cardio and weight training into their routine. “As people get older, they don’t want to do what they didn’t need in the past. People who once kept off weight with cardio but no weights, or weights but no cardio but now aren’t as active; those things alone aren’t working for them any more,” says Zschau.

If you decide to get serious, by watching your diet and increasing your cardio and weight training, you most likely will lose weight, although there are exceptions. Zschau recommends losing no more than one to two pounds per week, but weight loss programs should always be discussed with your physician.

Trainers sometimes continue to see clients even after their goal is reached. “I work with them to constantly develop new goals. Once the weight is lost many people want a new challenge,” Zschau says. “For instance, people work out so that they can eat more of their favorite foods. We work together to redefine goals so that they always have something to work toward.”

Rob Zschau is a personal trainer at the 24 Hour Fitness Plano Super Sport location in Plano, TX.

This information and other information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.