Dealing with fat loss plateaus.
Looks like I’ve encountered a bit of a stall on my mini-cut. I’ve been holding steady at 165.4 pounds (75.02 kg) for a little over a week now. I’m going to give it until Sunday before I make any changes to my diet or training, but this morning I’d like to address the important topic of fat loss plateaus while it’s on my mind.
First, know that plateaus are an unfortunate part of the fat loss game. It can be very frustrating when you’re doing everything right and the scale, body fat caliper and soft tape measurements are not moving in the desired direction, but don’t panic!
Here are a few things you can do:
- First, try doing nothing. Seriously. Often a stall is temporary, and no adjustments to diet or training are required. Many times if you just stay on target the fat will begin to come off again. A lot of people make the mistake of cutting calories if their scale weight is not going down nearly every day. This common error will not only be counter-productive in the long run, you’ll go around weak and hungry. I’ll usually give a stall a week or two before I even think about making any changes to my diet or training.
- If a couple weeks go by and you’re still stalled, adjustments are in order. The first thing I suggest is that you take a hard, honest look at your diet and training. Are you really eating clean? Are you really doing all your workouts, and performing those workouts with just intensity? Are you consuming alcohol? Are you “cheating” and not logging all your calories? Again, be brutally honest with your answers and tighten things up if you’re slacking. If your diet and training are on-point, then try cutting your net caloric intake–either by reducing your calories or increasing the amount of exercise you’re doing. How much? That’s up to you, but I find that a 10% reduction in calories works pretty well for me. So, if I’m stalled with a daily caloric intake of 2,800 calories, I’ll trim that to about 2,500 calories.
- A clean refeed might do the trick. A refeed is a temporary increase in calories which can help boost your metabolism, top off glycogen stores and replenish leptin levels. If you’re experiencing intense cravings, constant hunger and are in danger of falling completely off the wagon, a refeed day can really help combat those things. There are a few ways to go about a refeed, but what I do is increase my calories for one day by about 50%, with an emphasis on carbohydrates. I’m not talking about pizza and beer–keep your food sources 100% clean and healthy. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a refeed can make. Don’t be shocked if the scale goes the wrong way for a day or two following the refeed, this is normal.
Above all else, when you encounter a stall stay positive, remain focused and know that the stall is only temporary.