5 Ways to Break Through Weight Loss Plateaus

Perhaps you have hit a weight loss plateau? It’s time to learn why, and what you can do about it.

Fat was practically dropping off your body just a few weeks back, and now you’re wondering if your range is broken because no matter what one does, your weight won’t budge.

What provides?

Why did your routine suddenly stop working, and what can you do to push through this weight loss level?

Understanding Weight Loss Vs . Fat Loss

“Weight loss” is a tricky little satan because it doesn’t differentiate between modifications in fat, muscle, and water.

The goal, of course , is to reduce maximum fat and minimum muscle, and to keep water retention in a healthy minimum. When you step for the scale and register a lb lighter than the day or week before, you probably assume that you’ve dropped a pound of fat; in case you weigh the same or more, you probably assume that you’ve lost no fat, or even gained. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Nothing swings weight up or straight down as easily as water retention, for example. If you eat a lot of salt and carbs, and drink little water, you will retain quite a bit of drinking water, giving you that puffy, smooth seem. This can easily add 3-5 lbs in a day, which can be quite disturbing if you hit the scale in this state. On the flip side, you eat little sodium plus carbs and drink plenty of drinking water, your body will flush water away, giving you a harder, more described look, which might lead you to think that it had been a great day of fat loss.

The unpredictability of water retention is one reason why I only weigh personally once per week, on the same day, in the morning, naked. Weighing yourself multiple times per week, or even worse, per day, will quickly kill your confidence and mess with your head.

I also recommend that you choose a “weigh day” that doesn’t contain a cheat meal, as this can often add a pound or two of water that will come out by the end of the following day (my experience, on least).

What is a True Weight Loss Plateau?

A true weight loss plateau is a scenario where you’re no longer losing fat.

We consider that I’ve hit the plateau if my weight hasn’t changed in two weeks. As I am just only going for one pound of actual fat loss per week, no change on the scale after one week of dieting isn’t necessarily a reason for concern-I could’ve lost that pound of fat but happen to be retaining a little bit of water, or maybe my bowel movements weren’t as regular in the previous day or two. No modify in weight after two weeks associated with dieting tells me that I’m definitely stuck.

Some Fat-Loss Facts to bear in mind

Before I cover how to break these plateaus, I want you to know a few things about losing fat.

1 . Weight Loss Plateaus Are to Be Expected

Just about everyone encounters weight loss plateaus. If you have no idea what I’m talking about and are able to achieve single-digit body fat percentages with full ease, count yourself lucky. It’s very common for people to hit several plateaus on their journeys to a six pack since, well, the human body is just stubborn when it comes to shedding fat.

I’ve found that I cannot get below 9-10% body fat on diet alone (you can only decrease your calories so much, or you begin to take muscle)-I have to add in cardio merely want to continue losing. When I bulk, I usually end off around 14-15% body fat, and I can diet off the first 5% or so, but then I hit a plateau that just 3-4 days per week of cardio can cure (20-25 minutes per session). Then, the next plateau for me arrives 8%. If I want to go lower, I must up my cardio to four days per week, for 30-40 moments per session.

Everyone I’ve educated and otherwise helped has skilled the same phenomenon, but the thresholds differ. I’ve known a few rare individuals who can diet lower than 10% with no adding cardio, but most people cannot break double-digit body fat percentages with no very strict diet and regular cardio routine.

2 . The More You Lose, the Harder It Gets

The particular leaner you become, the longer it requires to lose fat healthily (the important, as you want to preserve as much muscle mass and strength as possible while dropping fat). If you’re at 25% unwanted fat, it’s very possible to lose 2-3 pounds of fat per week for the initial several weeks. If you’re at 10% extra fat and are making a run for solitary digits, however , 2-3 pounds associated with fat per week would be impossible without having dangerous drugs.

For me, once I actually get below 12% or so, Now i am very happy to see just one pound associated with fat loss per week, and I have to work with it.

3. Your Body Has a “Comfort Zone”

Although it might sound a bit broscientific, it’s the best way I can describe the phenomenon experienced by me and an incredible number of other athletes around the world. The body has a weight (and, accordingly, the body fat percentage) that it is most comfortable from. Your natural appetite tends to preserve this weight and if you eat lower than this, you feel hungry. If you consume more than this, you feel quite full.

For some, this “comfort zone” is actually fat, while others settle into a bodyweight that is quite lean. For me, for instance , I find that my body is most comfortable around 11% body fat (which might currently put me at about 200 lbs). I don’t have to watch the calories too closely and I can cheat several times per week, and Items just stay around 11%.

Right now, maintaining a weight under this comfort zone requires constant work in the shape of restricting calories and doing cardio. Getting fatter than this involves regular overeating, and if this proceeds for too long, the comfort zone creeps higher and higher.

5 Methods to Break Your Weight Loss Plateaus

Ok, now that you know the difference between weight loss plateaus and fat loss plateaus, listed below are three surefire ways to stoke a mans furnace again to keep the fat coming off.

1 . Re-Calculate Your own Caloric Target

Your metabolism decreases as you lose weight because your body doesn’t need to exert as much energy to keep its now-slimmer physique.

If you don’t adjust your calories to account for this particular, you may hit a plateau. The easy way to avoid this is to re-calculate your own caloric target after every 15 pounds of weight loss. As you will see, the target creeps lower and reduced.

There are many formulas out there for identifying how much you should eat to lose weight, but here’s a simple one based on the Katch McArdle:

1 . 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight

1 gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight

1 gram of fat per 5 pounds of body weight

That simple macronutrient method will put you in a moderate caloric deficit and allow for continuous, healthy weight loss. To turn it into calories, simply multiply the protein and carbs by 4, as well as the fats by 9.

2 . Control the “Hidden Calories”

Most weight reduction plateaus are caused by nothing more than “calorie creep”-that is, eating more calories than you think. This, combined with an ever-slowing metabolism, is a guaranteed formula intended for stagnation.

Calories can creep in from many places. Purposeless snacking, eating out at restaurants (they insert calories into meals with butter, oil, sauces, etc . ), overdoing it with condiments, and drinking alcohol are all common ways to add sufficient calories to stall your weight reduction without making you feel like you’re totally “off your diet. ”

The sad truth is a mere 200-300 calories too many per day can completely halt weight loss. To put this into perspective, that’s only a couple handfuls of nuts, a couple of tablespoons of fatty salad dressing, or a small bag of potato chips. Yup, fat loss is that finicky. A possibility very complicated, but it requires total precision.

So , to overcome the particular “calorie creep, ” you simply need to know exactly what’s going into your body every day. You can keep a food record, or you can do what I do: estimate what you need each day, break it down into daily meals, and eat the same thing each day, every meal. I don’t have time or patience to work a bunch of variety into my diet, so I embrace the simplicity of choosing nutritious foods that I like, and consuming them over and over.

3. Increase Your Cardiovascular

If you know that your daily caloric target is good and you have absolutely no calorie slip, then you should increase your cardio.

You can add another day if possible (I don’t suggest more than 4 days per week if you are also weight training), or add time to each day (I like to include 10 minutes to each session and find out how my body responds).

The idea is to just tip the scales a little bit more in the direction of fat loss and observe the outcomes. If the first round of extra cardio doesn’t do it, add more (another 10 minutes to each session, to get instance), and you’ll get there.

Oh is to do HIIT cardio, please.

4. Accept the Cheat Meal

Yup, truth be told, the cheat meal actually can help you lose fat.


Well, first there is certainly the psychological boost, which keeps you happy and motivated, which eventually makes sticking to your diet easier.

But there’s also a physiological boost.

Studies upon overfeeding (the scientific term for binging on food) show that doing so can boost your metabolic rate simply by anywhere from 3-10%. While this sounds great, it actually doesn’t mean much when you consider that you would need to eat an any where from a few hundred to a few thousand additional calories in a day to achieve this effect.

More important are the effects cheating has on the hormone called leptin, which manages hunger, your metabolic rate, appetite, inspiration, and libido, as well as serving additional functions in your body.

When you’re in a caloric deficit and lose body fat, your own leptin levels drop. This, in turn, causes your metabolic rate to slow down, your appetite to increase, your motivation to wane, and your mood in order to sour.

On the other hand, when you give your body more energy (calories) than it requires, leptin levels are boosted, which can then have positive effects on body fat oxidation, thyroid activity, mood, and even testosterone levels.

So if it’s an increase in leptin levels that you want, how do you best achieve it?

Consuming carbohydrates is the most effective way. 2nd to that is eating protein (high-protein meals also raise your metabolic rate). Dietary fats aren’t very effective on increasing leptin levels, and alcohol actually inhibits it.

So , if your weight is stuck and you’re irritable and demotivated, a nice punch of leptin might be all you need to obtain the scales moving again.

Have a great cheat meal full of protein and carbs, and enjoy the boost in your leptin levels. It can help your weight reduction!

5. Lift Heavy Weights

If you’re familiar with any of my work, you know I’m a big fan of lifting heavy weights.
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Well, among the many advantages of lifting heavy is the fact that it helps speed up fat loss.

A study published by Greek sports scientists found that men that trained with heavy dumbbells (80-85% of their one-rep max, or even “1RM”) increased their metabolic rates over the following three days, burning up hundreds more calories than the men that trained with lighter weight load (45-65% of their 1RM).

So hit the weights and hit them hard if you want to jack up your metabolic rate and in turn, speed up your fat loss.

And when you want to score extra points, focus on compound lifts like squats and deadlifts, because these are the types that burn the most post-workout calories.


I hope you found this article useful and remember that the journey to a slim, muscular body is a marathon, not a sprint.

Have you ever experienced a weight loss level? Were you able to break via? If so, what did you do? Otherwise, did this article give you a better idea as to why? I’d love to hear from you at my blog, Muscle For Life!


I’m Mike and I believe that every person can achieve the body of his or her dreams, and I work hard to give everyone that chance by providing workable, proven suggestions grounded in science, not a wish to sell phony magazines, workout products, or supplements.


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