Everyone wants to progress. Every week. Every workout. But want do you do if it all grinds to a halt?
This blog is something I decided to write after I saw a question posted on Facebook earlier this week. The question related to a guy that had seen is weight / fat loss take an almighty slow down. He'd been dieting for a year and his weight hadn't really changed that much. He was fluctuating about 5 lbs each day. He was stuck with where to go next. He's strategy was going to be to cut 800 calories out of his diet. Quite a drastic change.
This got me thinking. There's probably a ton of people out there that have similar problems. Progress has pretty much come to a stand still. They're lost and don't know which way to turn. The only logical thing they can think of doing is to keep stripping away calories.
After all it's all about calories in vs calories out, right?
While that's true, when you get into individual circumstances it's often not that simple.
There's 3 simple things I consider in this type of situation. And I can tell you straight away that stripping 800 calories out of your diet isn't one of them.
#1. Recalculate your calories
The very first thing you need to do is go back to square one. Start again.
It's important to make sure that you haven't made a mistake in the how much food you actually need to consume on a daily basis. Most of the errors I see tend to be in the estimation of body fat percentages. No-one wants to admit to themselves that their 30%+ body fat, so there's an innate human desire to make things seem slightly more favourable than they actually.
Take a step back and be honest with yourself. And don't use bathroom scales of the machines at the gym for your estimation. They're highly flawed and will just give you some bullsh*t number. I'll give you an example. When I was in my last bulk cycle I tried out the machine at my local gym. Now I knew from looking at myself in the mirror that I was around the 15% mark. Have a guess what the machine said I was...
8.4%! At 15% I could barely see any abs. At 8.4% I'm ready to slap on the sun cream and head to the beach!
My advice would be to Google 'body fat comparison chart'. This will return some good visual representations of body dat percentages. Match yourself up to the one that looks most like you and go from there.
Leave the calipers and measuring equipment to the point when you're in single figure body fat numbers.
#2. Know what you're eating
Let's assume that your calories and macros are spot on. Where do you look next?
What I would get a client to do is track every single calorie they consume for at least 3 days. And I mean every calorie. So, if you cook with butter or fry with olive oil that gets tracked. If you put milk and sugar in your coffee, that goes into the mix too.
It all has a calorific value and it certainly all adds up.
The most accurate way to track your calories is to use the labels of the foods themselves. Calories of different foods vary between brands, so this makes sure you're as accurate as you can possibly be. If that's not possible, use MyFitnessPal (or similar tracker) to log what you're eating.
Once you've done this, review it and see how close you got to your calorie target. I think you'll be surprised how much all those little things added up in the day!
#3. Eat more
Yes. You read that right. Eat more calories if you want to keep progressing.
Facebook guy was in the situation where he'd been in a calories deficit for a full 12 months. That's far too long for a start. His metabolism will have plummeted through the floor and his body was probably just refusing to let go of anymore of those valueable calories.
The thing to do as you're progressing with your weight loss is to include a refeed day at least once every 2 weeks. On this day up your carb intake by 1.5 - 2 times what it is on a normal day.
It's not an excuse to eat a bucket load of crappy foods. You still need to keep everything else the same, just flex the carbs. This is going to regularly give your metabolism a lift and also give you a lift psychologically after being on a bit of a calories restriction for a period of time.
The point here is 'DON'T PANIC'! There's no need to make drastic changes to your diet if you hit a bit of a brick wall.
RESET AND GO AGAIN.
Thanks again for reading guys. Remember, keep your questions coming if you want me to help you out with anything.
Likes and comments are always appreciated.
Happy training and keep grinding, DAILY.