How To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau

How To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau

weightscale

You’re working out consistently, you’re motivated, you have high energy. But for weeks, you’re not shedding any weight. Welcome to the much dreaded weight loss plateau. It feels like it’s your worst nightmare.

Don’t panic. For everyone, there seems to be a time when weight just does not seem to change. Your scales don’t reflect your dedication and hard work. And to top it off, you’re eating right and exercising right. What could be going wrong?

Weight in Terms of Water, Fat, and Muscle

The majority of weight loss plateaus seem to occur once around 18 to 20% body fat and 12% body fat for men and 20 to 25% body fat and 15% body fat for women.

Weight is a collection of all bones, water, organs, fat, and muscles in your body. Typically, bones and organs don’t change (unless you’re in your teenage years). The three main factors that affect weight are water, fat, and muscle.

Muscle is denser than fat. Once you approach a tipping point where your body begins to have more muscle than fat, then it’s going to be significantly more difficult to shed fat. During your weight loss plateau, take photos of your body. Is your body composition changing? Many times, we’re losing fat, but we’re replacing that fat with muscle. So the scales don’t reflect any net change, but our bodies get stronger and better.

Another factor that has a huge difference is water weight. How has your carbohydrate, creatine, and salt intake have been? All three are susceptible to water retention so even if you’re losing weight, that weight is just plain water.

The third factor is that water filled fat occurrence. When you proceed to lower body fat, your fat stores will fill with water, instead of actual fat. Once you’ve burned enough calories to burn the entire store, all that water weight just drops. Imagine a balloon. That balloon is filled with oxygen; however, oxygen begins to deplete and instead of shrinking, it stays the same size because water begins to fill the balloon. However, at one point, the water weight just becomes too much so the balloon pops. This analogy is very similar to what happens in your body. The balloon is a fat store. The oxygen being removed is the fat being removed. Water takes place of the oxygen and then all at once, you lose all that weight.

balloon

How to overcome your plateau

  1. If you’re not already doing it, do intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting will expedite your fat loss.
  2. Make sure you have restored your metabolism via refeeds. You may gain some weight back, but it could be possible that your metabolism has come to a screeching halt.
  3. If you’re doing cardio, don’t over-do the cardio. Your body’s metabolism could have crashed because you’ve shocked your body by losing too much weight. Go back and do a refeed.
  4. If you’re not already doing so, try carbohydrate cycling.
  5. Increase your protein intake. Your body might not be getting sufficient nutrition it needs to feed it’s muscles. So instead of taking fat, it begins to eat muscle.
What Everyone Should Know About Losing Weight Too Quickly

What Everyone Should Know About Losing Weight Too Quickly

Dont-lose-weight-to-fast

If you’re following my program, you should be conducting a safe, healthy life style change, not a diet. You will undergo weight loss at a pace that is controlled, pre-determined, and proper.

However, there are other diets out there that promote rapid weight loss. Of course, when followed properly and with the best measures, it can be possible. Yet, most likely it is very dangerous, unhealthy, and temporary.

Losing Too Quickly

How much is too quickly? It really depends on what your current weight and body fat percentage is. Also, if you’re just starting to control your diet, then you will most likely lose the most weight within the first month.

Typically, most people going a diet will cut out a significant amount of salt and reduce carbohydrate intake. So within the first two weeks, you can lose anywhere between 10 to 20 lbs initially. Don’t be frightened, though. Most of this weight is a result from loss of water. Sodium retains water. With the reduction of salt and the depletion of glycogen, anywhere between 50 to 90% of the weight loss is water. However, it is very motivating to lose that much weight initially.

Safe Amounts of Weight Loss

Males:

For people who have over 20% body fat, then you can safely lose 1 lbs to 2.5 lbs per week.

For people who have between 15 to 20% body fat, then you can safely lose 1 lbs to 2 lbs per week.

For people who have between 10 to 15% body fat, then you can safely lose 0.5 lbs to 1 lbs per week.

Females:

For people who have over 25% body fat, then you can safely lose 1 lbs to 2.5 lbs per week.

For people who have between 20 to 25% body fat, then you can safely lose 1 lbs to 2 lbs per week.

For people who have between 15 to 20% body fat, then you can safely lose 0.5 lbs to 1 lbs per week.

Low Calorie Diets

Super low calorie diets that consist of only fruits and vegetables can be dangerous because it will damage your metabolism and enact catabolism. Things like grapefruit diets, apple diets, salad only diets, etc. can be incredibly dangerous your diet. You will most likely crash and burn. And you won’t keep the weight off, either.

Stick to a safe, calculated weight loss protocol.

looseskin

Why is it dangerous? What are side effects?

  • Side effects include: nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, and/or mood swings
  • Loose skin
  • For obese people: potential to formulate gallstones
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Metabolic damage (if on low calorie diet)
  • Hormonal changes (especially dangerous for females concerning menstrual cycle)
Does Eating At Night Make You Fat?

Does Eating At Night Make You Fat?

nightfood

This is a very common question and it pertains to when the optimal feeding window should be.

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: No, whoever says so is an idiot!

This myth was generated because during the night, you sleep. And during sleep, you burn the least amount of calories. However, whether you eat right before bed or whether you eat early in the morning, the simple fact is the only thing that matters is the basic equation of energy expenditure.

Weight Change = Amount of Food Consumed – Amount of Energy Burned

If you eat more than you burn, you’ll gain weight. If you eat less than you burn, you’ll lose weight.

Many factors will affect your energy burn such as:

  • Thermic Effect of Food (Meal Composition, Meal Size, Meal Frequency)
  • Amount of Physical Exercise  (Intensity, Frequency, Duration)
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (Genetics)

But an interesting correlation to note is that people who tend to eat at night will most likely eat junk food. Go figure, nothing is open except 24 hour fast food restaurants! These are incredibly calorie dense and fattening.

chinese

And here are a bunch of references and studies that have been conducted if you would like furthering reading.

References:

  • Eating at night myth exploded. BBC News website. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3263249.stm . Published November 2003. Accessed November 6, 2008.
  • Eating at night = weight gain: Myth or fact? Columbia University, Go Ask Alice website. Available at: http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/2225.html . Updated June 2007. Accessed November 6, 2008.
  • OHSU scientists dispel late-night eating/weight gain myth. Oregon Health and Science University website. Available at: http://www.ohsu.edu/ohsuedu/newspub/releases/020106myth.cfm . Published February 2006. Accessed November 6, 2008.
  • Scientists dispel late-night eating/weight gain myth. ScienceDaily website. Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060202080832.htm . Published February 2006. Accessed November 6, 2008.
  • Weight-loss nutrition myths. Weight-Control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/myths.htm . Accessed November 6, 2008.
  • Wyatt HR, Grunwald GK, Mosca CL, Klem ML, Wing RR, Hill JO. Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the national weight control registry. Obesity Research . 2002;10:78-82.
  • – See more at: http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/Therapeutic-Centers/Weight-Management.aspx?ChunkID=156995#sthash.udm1qRxG.dpuf
What You Need To Know About Catabolism

What You Need To Know About Catabolism

muscles

What is Catabolism?

Catabolism is the state in which your molecules are broken down. It can come from different sources, but in the fitness world, it’s commonly assumed that it is the process in which muscles are broken down to create fuel. It is the opposite of anabolism (anabolic state) where your muscles build up.

Why do our bodies undergo catabolism?

Our bodies run off an energy source called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP). It is the chemical that allows us to do everything, whether it be sleep, walk, run, breathe, etc. Usually, our bodies will have sufficient ATP from the sugar in our blood to the glycogen stores in our muscle. However, when you do not eat enough, your body will still need a source of energy. Depending on what kind of exercise you’re doing (aerobic vs anaerobic) and the intensity you’re exercising at, your body may require a huge burst of energy. If our bodies were perfect, it would utilize fat and turn it into energy. However, more typically, our bodies begin to feed off of muscles, breaking down the proteins in our muscles to provide the energy.

How can I prevent catabolism?

Despite what nutritionist and fitness experts have thought, feeding your body six times a day does not prevent catabolism. Catabolism is a result from not eating enough food.

  • Post Workout, have your largest meal – Under the Saiyan method, you’ll find that you should be consuming 50 – 60 % of your calories after your workout. This is necessary to ensure your muscles are fed and your body retains an anabolic state.
  • Aim to lose 0.5 to 1 lbs a week (0.5 kg per week) – Anything beyond this rate, your body has a higher potential to be shocked and utilize catabolism vs fat burn.
  • Reduce the high intensity interval training – The so-called HIIT and afterburn workouts can negatively impact your goals. If your goal is to shed as much weight fast (regardless of if that is fat or muscle), then you can keep your training up. However, if you’re looking for body recomposition (lose fat and build muscle), then ditch the cardio.
  • Opt for low intensity steady state training (LISS) – Activities like slow walks for longer durations can help you burn more calories while prevent catabolism from occurring.
  • Eat enough food – This is particular important if you’re training for long distance exercises like a marathon, triathlon, etc. Your body needs much more fuel for your body to be fed. Eat more complex carbohydrates.
  • Keep carbohydrate, protein, and fat macronutrients balanced – If you follow my Saiyan method, you won’t have to worry about this; however, for those doing Keto and Paleo, you’re more likely to be teaching your body to use catabolic processes than those who eat a balanced diet.

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Photo Credit: Jhong Dizon | Photography via Compfight

How To Look Great for Photos

How To Look Great for Photos

photoshoot

My previous post on Tuesday, exposed how the fitness industry cheats its photo shoots with its before and after pictures.

Today’s post will show you how to look ripped for your “after” photo.

This is for when you want to look great for your photo shoot. If you don’t need good looking photos of yourself, then skip this as this will change your body and put unnecessary strain on your body. This is for informational, entertainment, and educational purposes only.

2 Weeks Before Shoot

  1. Stop ingesting creatine, as creatine holds onto water.
  2. Tan. Dark skin makes you look like you are more vascular and have a ton of definition.
  3. Reduce your intake of carbohydrates including dairy, sugar, and starchy foods.  Your muscles hold onto carbohydrates and water in the form of glycogen. You need to deplete all glycogen from your body.

1 Week Before Shoot

  1. Have your last heavy weight workout. Cease lifting heavy for a least a week because when you lift heavy, you’re tearing up the fibers in your muscle and as a result, you swell up a bit. By stopping your heavy workouts, you’re giving your body a chance to recover and slim up.
  2. Reduce your carbohydrate intake even further to less than 50 g per day. Same reason as before.

4 Days Before Shoot

  1. Limit your sodium intake. For the next 4 days, all foods should have no added salt. Sodium retains water. Do not eat foods that contain high sodium like pork. Instead opt for lean sources of meat like chicken breast.
  2. Drink distilled water. Distilled water has no sodium.
  3. Eat foods that contain high potassium to make up for the sodium.
  4. Stop tanning. If you started 2 weeks ago, you should be dark enough by this point. Any further tanning will make your body look swollen as you’re burning your skin causing inflamed tissue.

2 Days Before Shoot

  1. Take a ton of diuretics such as caffeine, dandelion root, or other forms. This will flush out the remaining water in your body. The goal is to dehydrate your body.
  2. Limit your water intake. Only drink water when you’re really thirsty.

Day of Shoot

  1. 4-5 hours before the shoot, eat a small meal with 50 g or less made up of carbohydrates. You want to restore some glycogen to your muscles and make it look  like you have some added muscle.
  2. 60 minutes prior to shoot, perform a light workout. Push-ups will pop out the chest, pull-ups will help pop out the back and arms. Do bicep curls and tricep pull-downs to make your arms look extra big.
  3. 20 minutes prior to shoot, perform body weight exercise in the form of push-ups and pull-ups. The higher reps, the better. You want to look vascular!
  4. Look ripped! Take photos.

After Shoot

  1. Make sure you drink a lot of water. Your body has been dehydrated and you’ll need it.