T Nation

Fat Loss Stall, Strength Loss. New Diet?


First post, be gentle. I have been a long time reader on here but have yet to post anything because i havent really run into any major issues until now. I started a strict diet beginning January 10 2011 after being forced to lose weight by my college rugby coaches. At this point I was 19 years old 5'10 280 with around 27% bodyfat (looked pretty pathetic to be honest) after playing offensive line through high school and using that as an excuse to gain and gain and gain fat. I had been putting off losing fat forever and realized at this point I had no choice and was going to use this as a starting point for a major change. I had no target weight goal but the main idea was to cut as much fat as possible while gaining as much strength as possible (just like everyone else). I had always been able to gain strength easily growing up but cutting seemed near impossible. I was handed a diet plan that read more or less as what follows:

Meal 1: Fruit/Oats/Nutrigrain bar

Meal 2: Greens: Salad, Lite Dressing

Meal 3: 6-8oz Chicken breast/Sliced turkey & brown rice

Meal 4: Greens: Salad, Lite Dressing (always ended up being roughly the same as meal 2)

Meal 5: (always post-practice or post workout) Protein shake (60g)

Only supplement taken through the diet was Oxy Elite Pro daily

*throughout the day I consumed on average about 1 gallon of water

I used this with a fairly intense training plan that consisted of 5-6 days a week lifting, always followed by 15-20 minutes of HIIT on a stationary bike. Unfortunately I was not able to separate my cardio from my lifting so I would do the HIIT at the very end of my workout while drinking my protein shake.

Lifting regimen (determined by the coaching staff) included mostly presses for upper body work and cleans/deadlifts for lower body. It was more or less the same stuff I was doing when i lifted for high school football.

After 5 months of this diet i went from 280 to 228 and from 27% bodyfat to 16.2% and had made major strength and stamina gains. I was at my strongest and leanest I had ever been and was truly happy with the results. At this point i cycled off Oxy Elite pro for the recommended 2 weeks and immediately noticed a loss of energy (most likely due to the lack of caffeine) and a huge loss of stamina in both lifting and cardio. I was having a hard time finishing work outs even on light days and was beyond lathargic in the gym.

After the 2 weeks off I began taking the OEP again and have been back training as hard as I was with the exact same workout plan (lift followed by 15-20 minutes HIIT) but have lost significant strength. I am on roughly the same diet but have added more real protein to my daily meals. I have not had any weight gain but i definitely can tell i have gained some fat back and have lost significant muscle. I am stuck now trying to cut that newly added fat and get my strength back and have been at it for 3 weeks now and am having no luck in either department. I have tried switching around my exercises and rep numbers to accomplish as much muscle confusion as possible but nothing seems to work. Any suggestions? Change in diet? Change in HIIT duration? Anything? Eventually I would like to be about 10-15 pounds lighter and about 14% bodyfat as I cannot drop much lower than that to continue playing rugby.

If anyone needs any other information I can give you whatever you need. Just looking for some pointers. Any help is appreciated.


It's good that you've upped your protein. The current recommendation is 1g/lb or 2.2g/Kg (at least while losing fat)

"Muscle Confusion" as you called it as far as I'm aware has been debunked. 6 meals a day (or high frequency meal schedules for the maintenance of metabolic rate) has also been debunked, and that was way before we had that recent article about it on this site.

Search Nutrition Data online and find out what your daily kcal total is as well as how many grams of protein, carbs and fat you're getting. If you've been underfeeding for too long you might be having strength issues because your workouts are under fueled (not restoring glycogen), or your metabolism may have gone into decline. Tell us how you're feeling on a subjective scale as far as energy is concerned.


Check out my responses to "check my diet." I just wrote up a couple of good paragraphs that you could benefit from


sounds you had good initial results, and then became burn out.

you should start carb cycling and get your macros in order. search "carb cycling" and read the article by Shelby Starnes/ Justin Harris. this is a good place to start.

give it time and you'll get your strength back. you might want to eat at maintenance level of calories for 3-4 weeks and then give your diet another go with carb cycling. start with no fat burner and add it in after a month or two.