T Nation

Breaking a Fat Cutting Plateau

I don’t know if I really get to use the word cutting with this because still 230lbs with little to no definition at all. It’s just a fat loss period that eventually will be turned to a bulk but not for a number of months yet.

My program is this:
5 Day split for lifting. Max weight for 10 reps, 3 sets each. Swapping machines or exercises frequently to reduce rest time (eg. Bicep and tricep work on machines side by side swapping back and forth without resting between individual sets). Each workout is preceeded by a 10 minute treadmill spot with a run/walk mix (3.6mph walk, 6.0mph jog)
Sunday - Chest
Monday - Back
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Arms
Thursday - Legs
Friday - Shoulders
Saturday - Rest

Workouts are at approximately 5:00pm each day and depending on the muscle group last between 40-60 minutes.

My diet has been narrowed down as follows.
7:30am - 2 cups 1% milk, 14g protein powder, a piece of fruit and 1 tsp olive oil.
9:30am - 1 cup 1% milk, 14g protein powder, 1 tsp olive oil
11:30am - 2 slices whole wheat bread, 4 ounce roast beef, 5 tsp olive oil based mayo.
2:30pm - 1 cup 1% milk, 14g protein powder, 1 tsp olive oil
Dinner (6:00pm usually, but varies) - Variety of meats usually chicken breast, pork chop or extra lean ground beef and some variety of fried or steamed veggies.

I run about 1900 calories a day with a protein:carb:fat ratio of 4:3:3.

My protein powder used to be PVL Whey Gourmet (tastes good and is cheap) but can’t get down to the walmart anymore to buy it so I figured if I’m going to need to pay more I may as well try Metabolic Drive (about 60 bucks a tub in Edmonton with a little discount from the gym I’m at). I’m actually quite impressed with it so far, the chocolate is fantastic in milk or water.

I’ve dropped to 230lbs from 265lbs which I was at back in June 08. But I’ve been hovering around 230lbs for about 4 weeks now and I need to find something to break the plateau. I know that scale weight is only one aspect but I’m doing progress photos this monday coming up and I don’t believe there has been much visual difference this time (doing them every 4 weeks) over the last photos which is disappointing. There is a lot of info on this site about breaking lifting plateaus and weight gain, but I’ve not been able to find much for breaking weight loss plateaus.

Any advise would be much appreciated, even links to articles I may have missed in my searching would be awesome. Some time soon I’ll suck up the pride and post progress photos so people have an idea of where I’m at.

Take a few weeks and eat more.

Change up your training. You could try 3x/week full body work outs, or an upper lower split.

You’re also essentially not doing any cardio like HIIT or just walking. That’s something easy to do: get up 30 mins earlier and for a for a 30 min. walk.

Also, your diet is awful. Which is probably a large part of the problem.

I hadn’t considered a 3 day full body workout as yet. I’ve looked at the V-diet but it was suggested that I’m a bit green for it and I have some legal issues in getting HOT-ROX (no credit card for online ordering and retail outlets in Canada can’t carry it).

You are right on the cardio, I did a lot in the first few weeks but I’ve been focusing so heavily on weight training to avoid loss of what muscle mass I do have.

Maybe kicking the cardio up a bit would help. Especially with a 3 day full body, it would allow nicely for 5 workout days but 2 of them being only cardio.

What do you suggest on the diet? So far It’s been working pretty well but that could well be because I changed from a MacNCheese + way too much pop a day diet to what I’m on now.

Wow drop that protein powder. At least try to get 1 gram/pound in the form of real food, THEN add shakes. You’re putting too much emphasis on reducing calories and not enough on choosing the right foods. Drop that whole wheat bread, add more meat/poultry+veggies throughout the day.

Also why so much milk? Get one glass in the morning if you want but get your calories from nuts instead, or some tuna. A tuna salad is the simplest thing to cook I eat about 2 pounds of tuna a week.

Drink alot of water.

I also think that you train too much for what you eat but I don’t wanna get into that.

It’s starting to sound like moving to a 3 day (MWF) full body workout is a better idea heh. I do drink about 2-4 litres of water a day, just didn’t include it because I didn’t think it was relevant to the diet. In all honesty the reason for so much milk and the shakes was convenience. I don’t have a lot of time in the morning for meals and of course not during breaks at work either so the shakes are ideal for those situations timewise.

It’s also a lot easier to micromanage portions with powder and liquid.

Thanks for all the advise so far guys.

I would agree with most things said here. Drop the milk and any bread, pasta and rice etc if you’re having it. Try the fb workout 3 times a week or, IMO, 2 on 1 off - Squats + DLs + back stuff first day and everything else on the second

1st heavy day do heavy squats and light dl variationj.

2nd heavy day do heavy DL with sissy squats and hack squat variations.


I’m doing this at the minute with great results. Wouldn’t drop the shakes but just make them with water.

Hope this helps and good luck

Inter, with a 2-3 day a week workout routine, what do you suggest for cardio to mix in to it? I’d think probably 2 days with hella long walks or brisk jogs, or maybe HIIT based.

I fully admit I’m a fitness noob. Tis a badge of pride I wear. heh. I really like this site as a resource to make changes though. So much to learn and so much to do before my goals are met.

(Those goals being to get down to within single digits of 200lbs so that I can at least stop hiding behind bulky clothing. And about then I’d make a new set of goals, probably to do some bulking.)

It doesn’t really matter what kind of cardio you do. HIIT, steady-pace and sprints will give you similar results as long as you pick the right intensity and don’t do too much/too little.

I understand what you’re saying about convenience, but you should really sacrifice some more time to get real meals instead of shakes and milk. How long is it really to throw some chicken on the grill and cook some greens?

I eat 7 meals a day like most people on this site and we all have jobs/lives. God bless tupperwares, prepare your things the night before and eat every 2-3 hours.

Make it clear to you that as far as fitness and BBing are concerned, your diet is the base of your success. Your workouts are only the tools you use to craft your building, all the wood, steel and concrete are represented by your diet.

[quote]tarmack wrote:
Inter, with a 2-3 day a week workout routine, what do you suggest for cardio to mix in to it? I’d think probably 2 days with hella long walks or brisk jogs, or maybe HIIT based.

I fully admit I’m a fitness noob. Tis a badge of pride I wear. heh. I really like this site as a resource to make changes though. So much to learn and so much to do before my goals are met.

(Those goals being to get down to within single digits of 200lbs so that I can at least stop hiding behind bulky clothing. And about then I’d make a new set of goals, probably to do some bulking.)[/quote]

If you’ve read some of my other posts I’m definitely not a fan of cardio. However, if you’re a fitness noob, you will benefit from any cardio. Steady state will definitely work at first since you’re not used to it.

Once you’re able to do 2 or 3 30min sessions of steady state every week you could then move to HIIT and drop the “hamster” stuff. Interval training is much more productive and less time consuming but is obviously tougher (or should be if you’re doing it right).

There’s arguments for doing it later on your weights days or on the days off from training. I would try both to see which suits you better.

I also have a badge of pride where I’m looking to get to 7% bf with abs while doing NO CARDIO or CRUNCH type exercises.

Hope this helps…

Drop all the milk. I found that I started losing fat when replacing milk, even when calories were kept constant. I believe that milk is very anabolic which is the last thing you need when dieting.

The last meal you eat every day – make every meal just like that, and you will lose. Except make sure that you have some healthy fats in the meal. You probably won’t even need to count grams or calories, except perhaps to prevent yourself from eating too little. Meat, green veggies, fat. Repeat 5 or 6 times a day.

It’s OK to have a couple Metabolic Drive shakes, but eat at least 3 meals with plenty of meat.

Change your workout! Follow CT’s Destroying Fat (or Getting Hypermetabolic on the Figure Athlete site) workout. It’s completely different than what you’ve been doing.

There’s 4 days heavy lifting, explosive lifting, and high-speed alactic and metabolic work, with judiciously timed low-intensity cardio. Be sure to pick movements that require a lot of energy from your whole body.

The cardio is built into the workout plan. Just do what it says. It works.

By the way, use other ways to track your progress. Pictures are just not that dramatic at higher bodyfat levels. Get a caliper and have someone pinch your skinfolds once a week. Mark the spots with a fine-point brown Sharpie so that you can be sure to pinch the same spot each time. I use a SlimGuide:

What do you think about the idea of using lower calories on non-workout days? I’ve been doing a lot of reading on things like the V-Diet which recommend that action and it doesn’t seem like something that would be restricted to that one type of diet.

[quote]andersons wrote:

I believe that milk is very anabolic which is the last thing you need when dieting.
[/quote]

Uh…what?

[quote]boyscout wrote:
andersons wrote:

I believe that milk is very anabolic which is the last thing you need when dieting.

Uh…what?

[/quote]

While what he said makes no sense; it is good advice.

quick question:

If one has been in a deficit for, lets just say 6 months, would the body get used to the low amount of calories? Should one(I) up the intake for a while and then go back to a deficit?

Im stalling too, and really looking for a way to get back on track.

your eating too few calories in my opinion. you are eating for a guy who is 100 pounds less than you. maybe that’s why your stalling.

also, with your cardio, do it after you lift, or first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or with something like 1 scoop of weigh in water.

eat more protein, be it from chicken/eggs/whatever. and this sounds hard to do but attempt to restrict starchy carbs to breakfast for the week, then on the weekend let yourself eat some carbs. that helped me alot. i try not to eat any carbs during the week aside from my oatmeal in the breakfast and of course from green veggies.

I built up a new diet with knowledge from a lot of the advice here as well as some other sources. I’m planning to stick to the “just about” 2000 cal a day limit as so far it’s worked well for the weight loss and I’ve had progress in my lifts as well. So I may be losing some muscle mass overall but I am getting stronger.

Here’s what I came up with.

7:30am - 5 hardboiled eggs, 1 large red delicious apple

9:30am - half scoop Metabolic Drive, 1 tsp olive oil, .25 litre water

11:30am - 6OZ chicken breast, 1 cup table grapes

2:30pm - half scoop Metabolic Drive, 1 tsp olive oil, .25 litre water

6:30pm - 12Oz chicken breast, 2 cups bean sprouts, 1 cup broccoli (or other random green veg)

8:30pm - full scoop Metabolic Drive, 1 tsp olive oil, .5 litre water

Combine these with plenty of water during the day for hydration. And I think I’ll be switching to Thibs fat burn workouts. 2 heavy lift days, 2 lactate inducing and on a 5th day I think I’ll go in for a half hour or hour of Cardio. workouts will happen prior to the dinner meal at 6:30pm.

As I’ve calculated it I should be taking in the following numbers.

250g protein, 71g carbs, 76g fat at close to 2000 cal per day. I could add another 6Oz chicken breast for the breakfast meal but I was trying to keep as close to the 1g of protein per lb of body weight idea (250g protein for 230lb body).

Any recommendations on this updated plan?

to me, that sounds pretty good.

get rid of the milk

more beef/cheese/eggs/fish

get rid of the grains

more fiber, fruits, veggies

you wanna drink one gallon/3.8 litres of cold water a day as well. and for me, when doing a low carb/cal diet, if im dragging i snack on a cup of cottage cheese w/ a scoop of Grow! protein. fills you up and boost the protein/fat for the day