T Nation

Fat Loss Stalled, Recommended Adjustments?


I'm trying to get down to 170 at 7-8% body fat. I'm at 176 right now, estimated at around 10% (visible unflexed abs at rest, some visible veins). Down from a peak of 192.

Generally my week looks like this:
Breakfast: about 15g fat, 40g protein, trace carbs.
Peri-workout 1 Surge Workout Fuel, 1/3 Surge Recover, 1 ANACONDA, 1 MAG-10, 2 generic CH, creatine
Then 50g whey right after, then 25g CH pulse hour after
Lunch: meat/fish + veggies. about 10-40g fat, 40g protein, trace carbs
Dinner: Protein shake + 1 serving flaxseeds
Pre-bed: Metabolic Drive + 10g fishoils

Same as monday

steady state cardio in morning. Have tried both just having Metabolic Drive with a total of 20-25g of fishoil throughout the day, and doing a pulse fast + regular meal in the evening.
(the first one seems to work better, and I do that more often)

same as monday

same as monday

Nutrition same as monday
morning: sprints and prowler
early evening: rock-climbing

refeed day.
Carbs + protein (usually lots of fruit) for breakfast and lunch (about 50-70g of carbs each). Peri-workout: 3 Surge Workout Fuel, , 1 Surge Recovery, 1 MAG-10, 1 ANACONDA, 2 CH, 1 creatine
Evening: big P+F meal (about 80-150g fat, 40g protein)
Pre-bed: Metabolic Drive+fish oil)

Any suggestions for adjustments I could make to drop the last bit of fat? This morning (tuesday) I added some prowler work in the morning. Should I add more cardio elsewhere as well? Anywhere I could decrease calories? I only really have 2 solid meals a day. Switch one or two of the workout days to protein-shake only?

I supplement with HOT-ROX every other week.

I have been losing some strength too, so I'd like to halt that issue.


This is the stand-out line for me. How long have you been dieting?

Your diet looks a bit 'supplement heavy' in the sense that some more real foods should be added, especially more greens. This will help address the natural acidity arising from the high protein consumption, as well as address any potential cortisol and estogenic issues.

I have gone through body comp stages and the drop in strength was a real warning I was pushing too far. I generally find fat loss training gets bloody addictive and I don't want to stop or take a break.

I'd consider having 7-10 days of deload, e.g. drop the cardio and even the weights, perhaps try some bodyweight circuits outdoors, etc, just to stay active as well as mix it up a bit and give the body a new stimulus. At the same time increase the calories and carbs a bit, while including plenty of good protein and aminos.

I'm aa bit of an IF fan now so I would tend to urge folks to do some sort of fast, e.g. pulse fast once per week, when you get back into the iron.


Have you had a refeed lately? I am in a fat loss cut right now and my progress had slowed to a grind the past two weeks, then I had three refeeds last week and all of a sudden 2 lbs dropped off.


I've been dieting since mid-March.

Aren't most diets (eg. Velocity) very supplement-heavy?

I take a break when I travel, about 4-10 days each month (about 5-6 on average). I generally eat still low-carb (I handle carbs extremely poorly) but eat entirely whole foods of meat and vegetables with relatively generous portions. I also don't really lift during these breaks. I just took a 4-day break a week and a half ago.

Wednesdays I've tried both just eating fish oil and protein shakes (a la VD), and doing a pulse fast (nothing but CH pulses up until a good-sized meal in the evening) and I've noticed the first tends to result in larger drops in weight throughout this time.

I have a big refeed every Sunday




I think what he is trying to say is there are too many shakes and other liquid products invovled. For SOME people liquid meals cause a too high insulin spike. Regardless of who makes the product of what you are taking there are still sugars added.

Trace carbs from what? Are you using sauces or dressings?

Any other supplements you are taking?

you also, as stated above, may need more than a one time a week refeed. I thought this was ass backwards thinking and was reading a lot of it on the forums and ended up over training one week so I added in some refeeds or else I was gona break something, il be damned if I didnt get leaner. I ran a protocol, ran out of the protocol time to move on and experiment else where.

youre doing about 4-5 liquid meals per 2 solid meals (I cant tell if your bfast is solid).
The liquid your consuming has a lot of sugar in it, despite what the bottle says.


I agree with the sentiments above. Even well designed proteins and protocols are still processed food. In a caloric deficit you are missing out on the nutrition provided by whole foods.

If you've been dieting since March of this year and you're breaks are simply time away from processed shakes and MRP's to real food while still maintaining a caloric deficit, then I'd suggest you're in need of a more than a re-feed. You'd most likely benefit from a 2 week return to maintenance calories before restarting the diet. Also, depending on your current BF to LM ratio and caloric deficit %, your re-feeds might warrant more than a 24 hour period.

I know the author L. McDonald isn't loved on T-Mag since he compared chocolate milk as a post work-out protocol versus a Biotest product, however, be that as it may his Rapid Fat Loss Handbook (http://www.amazon.com/Rapid-Fat-Loss-Handbook-Scientific/dp/0967145643) provides an excellent explanation of what your body goes through as you approach ever lower BF numbers.

As far as your physiology is concerned your body thinks its starving and will do everything in its power hormonally to keep you alive and retain as much BF as possible even at the cost of LM. To simplify, properly timed and of proper length re-feeds and diet breaks help trick the process and keep you burning fat.

Good luck.


Pauls: THanks! Im glad I havent started an agruement as of yet. I have seen that same article or something close to it I think on Aragons site. Your information is a little new to me as well though, could you detail it a little more, the longer refeeds+hormonal response in ratio with BF to LM? Or...at least the research behind it :wink:

Ive currently gotten into a lot of Poliquin protocol cheats and have been getting fantastic results from it, leanest in my life (except when I was 14, had the metabolism and hormone profile of a 10 and 17 year old, played 3 sports, worked out and did martial arts....those were the days....)

On P's protocol a week long low (veg only+pro+mod fat) is taken into play after a 2 week bootcamp then cheat meals are had every 5-7 days based on BF% levels until the athlete reaches 10% or sub in which case its bumped to a cheat meal. Recently though Ive added in some carbs for a number of reasons instead of just 1 meal a week and have gotten leaner therefore from it.
What would be a properly timed and proper length of refeed IYO?



Sounds like the Poliquin protocol is very similar to what I suggested. I assume that you mean "cheat day" not meal once the individual is sub 10% BF!?

If the original OP is at 10% BF as claimed then that's in the range that some would deem as the start of stubborn fat. One of the suggested methods, after a 2 week maintenance break, is to start a cycle of 4 days of aggressive sub-caloric low carbohydrate meals at 30 to 50% under maintenance followed by 2 to 3 days of re-feeding at maintenance with even a 10% surplus and plenty of carbohydrates, which coincides with lowered fat intake. Rinse and repeat for up to 6 weeks before taking another 2 week break.

I'm not dietitian and only understand the underlying physiology in the barest sense. Having said that, the goal is to take advantage of the slow response of the body to the 4 days of what would be perceived as that start of starvation. In that window you're body will tap into BF reserves to make up the deficit. The 2 to 3 days of re-feeding is meant to shut down the starvation signals and bring back up leptin levels before starting the cycle again. Once again, this is a most basic and rudimentary explanation.

I can't recommend the book enough to help you understand what you go through as you both starve and re-feed. Even if you don't follow the diet and suggested training in the book, the knowledge would help anyone when structuring a fat loss diet while attempting to optimize the retention of lean tissue.

So, is that clear as mud?




Liquid meals causing an insulin spike? Aren't the carbs extremely trace? And what particular nutrients are missing that slows the process?

Trace carbs are from veggies and shakes.

I cycle HOT-ROX every other week and take BCAAs liberally.

(not trying to be contrarian, just very curious)

Interesting about the more refeed days idea. I do recall encountering that recommendation elsewhere somewhere for sub-10% BF adjustments. So would you suggest something like 3 days of refeed, one with high carbs, two with medium, and in general in a caloric surplus? Should the other days of the week stay the same as they are now or get even be closer to the VD or a pulse-fast or other extremely-low-calorie diet? How does the peri-workout nutrition change (for both refeed and low days)

Thanks for the advice!


TheBlade, i'm doing something similar to you now (in terms of diet). Do you drink at all? That's really the only thing that "stalls" my fat loss, although I estimate every week I'm dropping about 0.5%. Looks like your doing the get shredded diet as well?

I'm doing CT's Superhero workout (more extended circuits, about 8 exercises in a row instead of 5) and doing 15-20 minutes of interval running afterward.

Let me know how it goes.


I do drink. I'm not sure whether it is hurting my cut, as it is dead calories. But it's a part of my social life so I'm not sure how I would even cut it down to find out.

Not really following any particular diet, just basically low calorie and low carb most of the week except a bit of carbs peri-workout and a refeed day, which I think is the plan with several diets out there.


Blade: WHAT?!?! Do you know anything about metabolism, liver function, liver detoxification, insulin, alcohol?? Dead calories??
YOu must be joking! Youre trolling right? Do you know what skinny fat is? Ever seen a ripped alcoholic? What kind of social life are you rocking there. People putting guns to your head making you rip shots?

I think we may have found a problem, may or may not be the problem.


I don't drink beer, nor do I get wasted every night. From the articles on alcohol I've read here, it seems like it's rarely a big deal.


Depends really. On a lot of things. What do you drink? How much? How often?
How long have you been drinking? How heavy (if at all back then)?
By your last post sounded like you were getting smashed, frequently like a weekend warrior. I may have jumped to conclusions. It does depend on the person, drinks and drinking history. You may have a shot liver, this will prevent a lot of success.
where do you think you are having trouble losing fat?


I generally drink liquor or wine. 2-4 nights a week, averaging 3 or 4 drinks each time.

I've been drinking for a long while, but mainly since 17 (I'm 25 now).

Everywhere, really. Been a struggle to get to 174 from 176 in the last month and a half.


Here are a few suggestions:

  1. i would try carb cycling. 1 high, 3 moderate and 3 low carbohydrate days. search carb cycling article to get an idea of your macro's.

  2. make starch (rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats) as your main carbohydrate source as opposed to fruit.

  3. i would really avoid the excessive fish oil on your high and moderate days as well. i've never personally seen any significant fat loss results with excessive fish oil (5g+ DHA+EPA). i've never seen someone else experience significant fat loss using excessive fish oil. yeah there are some studies that show a relationship between fish oil and fat loss, but i don't think any of these studies were specifically looking at those achieving single digit body fat.

  4. add more fasted cardio to the mix.

  5. drop the alcohol if you are serious about getting shredded.

Lastly, I'm interested in what your "big p + f" meal consisting of up to 140g of fat and 40g of protein actually is. Care to share?


@Dolce. Nice reply, some things i mite try!



  1. OK. Specifically, should I keep the high one the same macro-nutrient-wise as my refeed day? Or should I cut the fats on my refeed day and up them on low days?
    For medium, should I just do something like 60g of carbs peri-workout, and on low just get in protein peri-workout?
    Should low be low calorie as well?

  2. OK. What's the reasoning for that, though?

  3. OK. But same question.

  4. OK. As it is I do get ~8-10 20 min cardio sessions because I commute to work by bike, though. Would much more risk muscle loss?

  5. Dropping it completely would be impractical but I could cut it down, esp. in the few weeks right before school starts again in the Fall.

The big p+f cheat meal is usually some super-tasty stuff. Last couple weeks I had Buffalo wings + a cheesey-buttery sauce, and the week before that a whole roast duck with veggies cooked in duck fat.

Thanks for the tips!

  1. A. that's your call but personally, i've seen good results with a high carb, low- little fat, moderate protein day as my high carb day. make sure to schedule this day after 1-2 low days so you're primed for lots of carbs.

B. i'm not sure how much you weigh, so I can't give you exact numbers. i would search carb cycling and read the article my Shelby Starnes/ Justin Harris. use those macro's. i would think 60g is a little low for a moderate day. do you work out everyday? if you're weight training 4 days a week, that gives you 3 moderate days and 1 high day. i would perform you most intense training sessions on days where you eat carbohydrates. on low days, stick to less intense stuff or just cardio.

remember, its always best to start a bit higher on your macros. adjust when you stop seeing progress. if you go too low when you start out, not only will you not have any options to facilitate further fat loss, you will have a greater chance at muscle loss.

  1. starchy carbs tend to refill muscle glycogen more efficiently than fruit sources. for me, they give a nice, sustained energy release. if you need more convincing, just look at what bodybuilders (natural and assisted) eat while they're cutting body fat. you don't have to drop ALL fruit, but keep it to 1-2 servings and make the majority of your carbohydrates starches.

  2. i thought i gave a reasoning behind my suggestion about fish oil but here are a couple more. consuming 25-30g of fish oil is really unneeded calories. i don't really think taking that much fish oil is healthy, unless you have some serious dietary deficiency. ideally, you should maintain a more balanced fat intake (sat, polyunsat, monounsat fat). make sure you're getting these fats on your low-carb days.

  3. this is highly individual. some people are just going to be more prone to muscle loss. don't think of cardio as very strenuous activity, because it shouldn't be. i do a lot of extra "walking, biking, working on car and fixing stuff around the house but i don't really see those stubborn pounds start melting away until i get my butt into a gym and do a steady state cardio. start with a 1-2 30 minute sessions and slowly add in more minutes and days over the next month or two. keep your heart below 130BPM and you'll be fine.

  4. if you insist on drinking, i would do it on days where you get a majority of your calories from protein. google "lean-gains drinking". that seems to be a pretty acceptable guide to drinking. i don't have any experience with that though so I can't say for sure.

that does sound delicious. i've heard many chef's love duck fat for its flavor. never had it.