Have you been working out, eating right, losing weight — then suddenly you hit a wall? Perhaps you've been doing all the right things and still not seeing any results. This plateau might feel like a dead end in your weight-loss journey, but there's hope in the form of new research.
Last week, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) published a 13-week study with new research about subjects they call "non-responders." The conclusion: you need a personalized balance of cardio and strength training to see results.
If you suspect you are a "non-responder" and your body isn't budging despite your healthier choices, you're not alone. A separate study from the Cooper Institute found that many people — "20 to 45 percent of some populations," according to a press release — are in the same boat. ACE's study suggested that "considerable heterogeneity" in exercise can lead to "adverse effects."
Think back to your exercise schedule. Is there enough variety? Is it personal to you? If the entirety of your fitness routine is purely group cardio classes, it's time to break the cycling cycle! ACE's research showed that "a unique combination of functional fitness, resistance training, and cardio workouts eliminates the non-responder phenomenon." This means the only way to break through a rut, wall, or plateau in your fitness journey is to mix it up; individualized programs are imperative if you're not seeing progress.
Here's how the study went: exercises were split into two groups of exercisers (it was a small group — 46 subjects in total). One group was put into an "individualized training" group, while the others were in a "traditional exercise" group. "Between two groups, 100 percent of participants with individualized training saw positive results, while 35 percent of the traditional exercise group showed no significant health improvements."
The "traditional exercise group" was the control group; they were "not instructed to not do any formal exercise." The individualized group received more instruction, which was a balance of functional movement, resistance training, and cardio. We've heard before that a combo of cardio and weight training is the best way to lose weight via exercise, and this is more evidence.
"The individualized group saw more significant health improvements in almost every metric," ACE said in a press release. This included an improvement to "VO2 max" (your lung capacity and performance ability), as well as "muscular fitness and key cardiometabolic risk factors."
It's important to note that in addition to a balanced routine, each participant in the individualized group received a plan that was specific to their bodies and abilities in order to optimize their results. While movement of any kind is important for your health, if you've got fitness goals and seem to be hitting a roadblock, it's time to consider a plan that is more tailored to you. At the very least, start mixing up your workouts with both cardio and resistance training.