4 ways to beat fat loss plateau


Hitting a fat loss plateau is an inevitable part of any fat loss journey. At some point, your body will adapt to what you are doing, and fat loss will slow down and/or stop completely. You will then need to dig deep and make some changes to bust through it and continue to burn fat. 

When I talk to prospective clients, they always tell me they want to train 5 days a week, do cardio, follow their nutrition plan, take all the supplements, and basically do anything that will get them to their goal right away.

When it comes to fat loss, I always tell them that we only have so many bullets in our gun. Our bullets being our little tricks to drive fat loss if we plateau. If we fire all our bullets right from the get-go, when we do plateau, we have nowhere to go. We have no bullets left. So I like to keep these bullets up my sleeve and fire them one by one to make sure we get long-term fat loss.

I am going to go through 4 ways I get my clients through fat loss plateaus or prevent them from hitting a plateau in the first place.

1.     Refeed Days

This is basically a day where we go back up to baseline calories and increase carbohydrate intake to almost double what you are taking in on your other days. When we are in calorie deficit hormones that drive fat loss start to down-regulate and hormones that cause us to gain fat start to upregulate. This slows down fat loss and is one of the main reasons we hit a plateau. Not only does it have a great psychological effect it also has an important physiological impact on fat loss. It helps to increase our metabolism and replenish the glycogen that may have been depleted from eating lower calories/carbs. When a refeed day is successful you will actually wake up leaner the next day. Studies have shown women need a minimum of 48 hours of refeeding to upregulate those hormones to get fat loss going again.

2.     Dieting Break

This is not taking a week of following your nutrition plan to go yolo on food. This is basically a whole week of refeeding. Carb choices are still coming from potato, rice, pasta etc. I tend to prescribe a refeed week if my clients are lacking performance in the gym, sex drive has diminished, they have been following low calorie or low carb for a while or we have dropped a lot of weight in a short amount of time.


3.     Deload Week

More often than not when you hit a plateau its not usually a case of eating less and training more. Sometimes you might need to train less. A deload week is essentially a week where you decrease the total amount of training volume you are doing to reduce stress and allow your body to recover better. If your body isn’t recovering from training and you have hit a plateau it might be a sign you need a deload week. I still keep weights relatively high this week but will reduce training volume by 20%. Sometimes I will keep the volume the same but reduce the intensity so we may only lift at 50%, again to reduce stress on the body and allow it to recover. I will also always increase mobility work during a deload week as well. This is also important to think about when ladies / girls are due on heir periods.

4.     HIIT

Rarely have I used HIIT to get a client through a plateau. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an option or it can’t be used. I will add in HIIT if I don’t think one of the 3 options above will work for that specific client, and I don’t want to decrease calories further. To create a bigger deficit, I can add in a session of sprints help drive fat loss. If the client is already in a big calorie deficit I may just add in some low-intensity cardio as HIIT is quite taxing on the central nervous system and if you are in a big calorie deficit it might be too much to recover from. 

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