T Nation

Fat Loss Plateau

Hi all

Created an account here a while back and forgot about it.

Background to understand where I’m coming from:
Never was much on exercise. Starting to get older (32 now) and realizing that I need to make this fitness thing a part of my life. Been more out of the gym than in throughout my life. I’m just too impatient (yeah yeah yeah patience is a virtue. Spare me lol :wink: )

5’9 stuck at 210lbs kinda stocky. First day back in the gym, my PT said I looked like I could bench 225 for reps. I still struggle with 135 for sets of 10. And that’s pretty much par for the course with any exercise you can name although I am an extremely hard gainer in the chest. Tried every single chest exercise you can name. They’re all great for front delts and triceps. Nothing works for my chest muscles. Nothing. Cannot get them to fire at all.

Why I train:
In a nutshell, I am trying to go back into the military, and need to get the fat off.

The U.S. Army standard for a man at 5’9 is something like 180-185lbs. Basically, I will die if I get down there. It’s too skinny for my build.

How they calculate body fat:
Measure the neck around the Adam’s Apple, and then measure the belly around the belly-button.

Average of 3 measurements each.

That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else. That’s what the U.S. Army has been using to calculate body fat percentage since roughly WWII.

YES, I know. It’s stupid. But, as we say: military intelligence is an oxymoron.

It is what it is. That’s the standard that I have to go by. Ain’t nothin I can do about it. :man_shrugging:

I have a 15" pencil neck, and a 37" belly right now which works out to 27% body fat. While I do meet the recruitment standard, I actually have to meet sustainment standards at 24% because I am prior service. 3 months of guided neck building exercises yielded zero results. (Trainer has NASM, ACE, CFSC, and many many many more)

Diet is Nutrisystem 7 days/wk. One cup of coffee every morning, black. Water all day, maybe a splash of fat free milk with dinner a couple nights a week.
Additionally, if I don’t add in a man sized steak once a week, I feel like shit. Lethargic/lazy, brain fog kinda, pissy mood syndrome.
Usually USDA Prime Ribeye or sometimes Tbone. Around 12-18 ounces before cooking. It’s either the steak once, maybe twice a week, or I have to have 2 lean hamburger patties every night with dinner just to feel normal.

I usually try to add an apple to every day at work and then a string cheese. Lately, I’ve been adding plain peanuts. Used to be baby carrots but, I needed a change.

Some days with breakfast I’ll scramble 3 eggs with black pepper. Lately, it’s been a struggle to get going in the morning so I have been adding a bowl of generic brand diet Cheerios instead of the eggs. Just for the time thing. My body in the morning is like a diesel engine on a frozen day. Takes forever to get going but, once I do, look out!

I used to come home and mix Nutrisystem chocolate shake powder with vanilla slim fast (great combo) and then cook my Nutrisystem dinner but, I’m out of the slim fast so, it’s just Nutrisystem shake powder with 6-8oz of that fat free milk.

Other than that, I really try hard not to eat anything that doesn’t come from Nutrisystem. And I’m always “hangry” because of it. I mean literally I’m just in a bad mood all day every day due to hunger. I think I’m right there around 1500-1700 calories a day. Maybe closer to 2,000 on a bad day. Naturally, on a reasonable diet, I’m closer to 3,000 maybe 3,500. And I need that fourth meal every day.

While I work in a factory 10hrs/day, Mon-Thur, it’s not too physically strenuous. But, we have no AC in the Mohave desert. Ambient temps get to about 105 at quitting time, and I feel like I can’t drink enough water. I have about a 30oz bottle and I’ll drink anywhere from 6-10 of those in a shift and then 2 more at the gym.
We have some electrolyte popsicles in the lunch room but, they’re full of sugar so I try not to have more than 2 in a month.

It’s a struggle to get to the gym every day. Nevermind actually going inside and working out. I’m just beat from work and I honestly don’t think I should feel that run down from it because it’s really not all that bad. Psychologically, I feel ok. And the heat doesn’t help at all. But, then again, I DO exert more energy than anybody else does so, who knows?

Some days (less and less frequent) I have to help out the welders and wear full gear. On those days, I skip the gym because I leave work soaked in sweat and ready to fall asleep on my feet.

Anyways, I take a free group training for an hour every Monday and Thursday. Usually don’t have the energy to do cardio after. I eat a snack at 2:30 and gym class ends at 6ish so, I’m pretty starved by that time and hate feeling hungry so I just go home.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays have been fairly moderate in the gym. Lots of low weight/high rep movements to try and use as much of my body as possible.

KB swings usually start 1 arm then move to 2 arms, full rom from floor to straight over head
Walking lunges w/barbell up to 70lbs
Normal front plank at full arm lock and/or pushups
TRX rows
Med ball jump squats
Mountain climbers
Speed skaters aka ski jumpers
Toe taps on step box
Box jumps (12" box on both)
Rope ladder drills (high knee, shuffle, etc)
Jump rope
Barbell back squats up to maybe 80lbs

Usually pick 3-4 exercises for 3 rounds. Just doing each exercise until I feel like I need to rest. Don’t even bother to count reps. Full workout can take 35-45 minutes

And then either stationary bike or the treadmill for half an hour max.
Treadmill days, I just try to run the Army’s 2 mile test in the lowest time possible. I get out of breath easily so I’m currently doing it in about 21-22 minutes, and then just walking the highest incline until I hit 30 minutes.

Weekends are pretty much horizontal time. Day to day, work and the gym aren’t bad but, by Thursday night, I’m just too beaten down and it’s hot as hell outside.

China flu gym closure was in April. Since May 1, I have only gone from 215-210lbs and been stuck for about 2-3 weeks hovering 208-213. Started in late January at 235.

I don’t use any of those dieting/calorie counting apps. They drive me nuts within a week and by the end of week 2, I uninstall.

And I usually fall asleep between 11:00pm-12am and cuss out the alarm at 4 in the morning. If left to my own devices, I would mostly go to bed around 2 and get up anywhere from 8-noon. Weekends are when I sleep the most. 6-8 hours.

3 years ago, I went from 255-190 in 8 months with a horrible diet sleeping 4-5 hours, and was stuck at 235 for 7 weeks. I even had a one month prescription for Fentermine or however you spell it. Gained 5lbs that month.

I understand that you can’t target areas of fat, and I understand that the so-called “experts” say you can safely lose 1-2lbs/wk. I’m looking for better results faster.

If these people on TV can lose 25+lbs in one week, I don’t see any reason why I can’t safely drop 7-10bs in a week. I want to get back down around 190 and then find new goals.

I’m that guy where if I could drop 50lbs in one day, I would be pissed it wasn’t 51. I don’t celebrate the victories. I don’t care how far I’ve come. I only see how far I have to go. Highly motivated, never satisfied, always seeking betterment. Everything I do in life, I go wide open throttle, or not at all.

If anybody has any advice and/or can point out what I’m doing wrong, I am all ears.

Here is literally all the magic you need packed into one post. The theory isn’t hard. It’s just putting it into practice.

The basics:

  1. Calories in calories out. You need to burn more calories than you eat.

  2. Add a training stimulus to ensure you don’t lose muscle.

  3. Eat enough calories so you don’t lose muscle.

  4. Eat enough protein so you don’t lose muscle.

Put all that together.

  1. Calculate your TDEE, or amount of calories you need to maintain your weight.

  2. Eat 20% less than that number.

  3. Eat approx. 1g per pound of body weight per day.

  4. Eat more than 20% of your calories in fat and the rest in carbs.

  5. Lift heavy weights and focus on compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlifts, rows, pull-ups). Make it a point to add either more reps or more weight every workout if you can to maintain or add muscle to your frame in the most efficient way.

  6. Follow a beginner linear progression program, not some advanced, intermediate, or bro split that’s not designed to work for a beginner.

  7. Track your progress on the scale, with the tape measure, and in the mirror. If you’re not losing 0.5-1lb per week or a couple mm of your waist after your first month of training then adjust your calorie intake by changing the amount of carbs you’re eating.

More tips:

  1. Don’t lose more than 1lb per week at your weight and height.

  2. Your body will take a month to settle into your routine. Your weight may go up or down in the first month. Stick with it and start really paying attention after the first month.

  3. Add in a little cardio before dropping calories. Up to 2 hours per week of low to moderate intensity or up to 1 hour per week of HIIT

  4. Make sure your program has scheduled deloads every 8-10 weeks and know how to tell when your body needs one.

  5. don’t drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks per week and count them in your calories for the day.

  6. If you’re losing strength, you need to eat more, even if that puts you closer to maintenance calories.

  7. Be patient, yes, this shit takes time. A lot of time.

Yeah get this notion out of your head, ripped 185 at 5’'9 you will look rock solid even a tiny bit husky still -guys like David Goggins are 190 at 6’2

2000 is not enough for a 5’9 female into fitness let alone a guy training hard with a goal of the military. Up it to say 2250 and take it form there. Training intensity will naturally go up and therefore improve body comp.

Try either these guys stuff below (both served in the special forces) very effective and will slice the fat off…

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I’m 33, 5’8 185 now. I was 210 at one point during my meet prep in September, so going down to 185 is completely possible

But if you cant bench 135x10, you should probably look into a less physically demanding line of work

“less physically demanding line of work” LOL

My job has nothing to do with it. I cannot make my chest muscles fire.

Bench, incline bench, decline bench, pushups, db press, all that shit is great for triceps and front delts.
Flys are good for biceps.

If youre saying that all those excercises dont target your chests, i think the problem is with your form and MMC, and not really with your chest muscles!
Its evident from you feeling your biceps, in flys.

I don’t know.

My only concern right now is getting the fat off

Yeah, but learning forms and implementing Strength Training routines properly can aid losing fat. So i would recommend learning them well. Regarding the other stuff like, nutrition ,cardio ,i think theyve already given you all that you need. So its just a matter of consistency and putting the work in.
Good Luck!