T Nation

Avoiding fat-loss plateau

I’ve been training hard for a month now, after a 3-month layoff. I’ve quickly gone from 16% BF to 12% while gaining about 1 lb of muscle. I weigh 195 now and my goal is to get down to about 8% BF. If I can do it without losing muscle, I’ll weigh about 187 when I reach my goal. I’ve tried NOT to drop my calories too much and NOT to do TOO much cardio, hoping that I can leave myself with some weapons when the layoff/comeback effect wears off and my progress slows down. I’m looking for advice on a strategy to keep loosing fat quickly without losing too much muscle, and without slowing my metabolism down. I’m thinking of adding some extra PM cardio sessions; one study suggests that 2 sessions are more effective than 1, even if total time spent is equal. I’d like to save cutting more calories for last, but let me know if you think I’m off on that one. I thought I might cut my rest period between sets during lifting, shifting to a more meltdown-style. I am the easy-gainer type with respect to muscle and strength, but fat loss is always more difficult. Ephedrine is not an option for me. My lifting program is similar to JB’s “Creation of a T-Man” method. Right now I’m doing 20 minute cardio sessions on lifting days and 1 or 2 45 min. cardio circuit session/week. These are HIIT-type sessions. So…what’s my next move?

There are a number of options; however, when attempting to get leaner than “normal” for you personally, planned overfeeding can be very beneficial (and most of the time neccesary) to get you there without losing LBM. I would recommend going with a keto diet and twice weekly planned carb overfeeds. If you are willing to use an androgen, then you could go with a severe diet and lose fat even faster without any losses in LBM.

If you havn't already read my "Cheaters Diet" article from a few issues back, check it out; it explains in detail why the whole "plateau" occurs when dieting down to low levels of body fat.

As for the refeed, here are the protocols that I suggest:

1. It should last ~7-8 hours.

2. It's caloric value should be 1-1.5 times your maintenance calorie intake. For example, if maintenance is 3000, then the value should be 3000-4500 calories. Start at the low end of the range at first.

3. The macro breakdown should be 70% carbs, 20% protein, and whatever fat you cannot avoid.

4. Foods like potatoes, pasta, oats, bagels, low-fat pop tarts or grahm crackers, pretzels, non-fat ice cream, or basically anything else w/ little fat and fructose, esp. in the form of HFCSyrup (read the labels).

5. Twice weekly, such as Sunday and Thursday should work well.

This differs slightly than the carb refeeds i recommend in my article, but after doing more research, it looks like a single meal wont bring about an optimal leptin response, but a longer refeed is neccesary. With the above approach you restore glycogen with little or no fat gain, while getting the desired leptin response to ensure continual fat loss.