Originally posted 2016-08-04 13:10:01.
So your fat loss is going great! You are losing weight like it’s a science. Then all of a sudden, it stops.
You wait another week and still the scale does not budge.
You begin to question everything you did to start with and then start changing your plan, your diet, everything. This is where most people mess up.
Just because the body isn’t utilizing store fat as fuel, does not mean you are doing everything wrong. It is probably a few small things that can be tweaked to start up that fat burning engine again.
If you have been dieting for a longer than a few weeks, it is common to hit a weight loss plateau. The body is saying “Hey I worked hard digesting all that crap you were feeding me, I am keeping this fat!”, like it’s keeping some kind of participation award to display for all it’s friends to see. SO let’s put a stop to that.
What we are going to change first is the pre-workout nutrition to see if maybe something you are taking in there is preventing you from optimizing fat loss. Depending on how active you or how depending your workout is, this could be the key to starting fat loss up again.
If you work out for less than 30 minutes at a moderate pace, or a pace you can still hold a conversation during, you do not need pre-workout carbs. If you are working out a moderate pace or at a heart rate range of 40% to 60% of your max (depending on your specific max heart rate), pre workout carbs will not do you any good at all. Pre-workout carbs are best suited for those who are doing an hour minimum of exercise with mixed heart rate zones. Like a runner who is working on distance times, or an athlete working on their speed training. Reps of high intensity followed by low intensity are the type of training that can really benefit from pre-workout carbs. IF you are training for endurance, you should be consuming carbs throughout the day and before your workout too. However, if you have a circuit training workout or general fitness workout you perform that doesn’t last more than 30 ACTIVE minutes, you do not need pre-workout carbs. Unless your 30 minute workout is nothing but interval training, lose the carbs. Let the fat burning commence.
You can read more about staying away from carbs before your workout here:
This next tweak is my favorite one. Mainly because it’s really the only one that sounds like it shouldn’t work until you break down the scientific reasoning.
Yep I said it. Eat more.
Now don’t go shovel a sleeve of Oreos or anything like that, but adding in 100 to 200 more calories per day can actually enhance weight loss when done periodically.
Our bodies like to eat, create energy from what we eat, and store what we don’t need right away.
So when you are dieting for long periods of time, your body can actually trigger what they call a Fight-or-Flight response. Basically this is your body thinking that something is wrong, IE lack of food or environment change. Since there is technically a lack of food since you are cutting back on calories, your body will try it’s hardest to hang on to every ounce of body tissue you have that can sustain over the “event” that is occurring.
This “event” being your diet or cutting season.
So what do we do to reverse this?
WE eat more. Plain and simple.
My favorite way to get out of this mode is to add 100 to 200 calories of quality fats like avocado, coconut oil, or almonds. Just one serving will be enough. Add it to your last meal. Try that for a week and see if weight loss continues. If it doesn’t, double check you are eating under your maintenance calories, include your activity level with your consistent exercise. Some people forget to do that. Then try to eat at your maintenance calories two days in a row, and then go back to your normal diet after that.
So if you typically eat 2000 kcal and your maintenance is 2500 kcal, try eating 2500 kcal for two days straight. Easiest way to add 500 calories, is 2 ½ servings of good fats at some point during the day. This should cause your body to work a little harder digesting since its more calories, thus upping the metabolism. That way when you go back down to your normal calories, the body with then grab energy from your stored fat because it needs more due to the upped metabolism.
While eating more it is wise to supplement to keep your metabolism up. Typically my go to is Cayenne Pepper or some other spice in capsule form to help keep the body metabolism burning…literally. Another great way to keep the metabolism up is eating protein, not drinking it. Eat some tuna, fish, or chicken to increase your metabolism naturally. Protein takes a lot of calories to digest and is vital to revving up the metabolism. MCT oil is also a great way to rev up your metabolism by introducing good fats. It is also calorie dense so increasing your calories it easy by adding a few tbsp. of MCT oil to a meal, coffee, or salad.
Overall these are both great ways to try and get over that fat loss plateau before you go critiquing your entire program. IF these do not work then a program change may be in order or you need to start progressing in your lifts more aggressively.
Give these tweaks a try and let me know how it goes!
As always, end it with a quote!
“Natasha Romanoff: Thor, report on the Hulk.
Thor: The gates of Hell are filled with the screams of his victims!
[Natasha glares at him while Bruce groans and puts his head in his hands]
Thor: But not the screams of the dead, of course. No, no… wounded screams… mainly whimpering, a great deal of complaining and tales of sprained deltoids and… gout.”