Feel like you’ve hit a plateau? Even if you’re currently doing a combination of weight training and high-intensity interval cardio, has your progress slowed down?
You eat clean, you’ve cut out sugar – you’re doing everything you needed to get ripped, but why isn’t it working?
Most weight loss plateaus are as a result of your dietary choices. Consider these general recommendations that should get the needle on your scale moving in the right direction again.
1) You’re Probably Eating Too Many Carbs
Most people, especially those with a history of being overweight, are likely insulin resistant to some degree. This means they have a poor tolerance to carbs, and are simply not physically active enough to be able to eat that many carbs. If you want to get lean then cutting carbs is usually one of the first and most important steps you need to take. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any, but you need to make smart choices. Any carbs you do eat need to be consumed at the right times as well. Moderate any processed carbs in favour of more fibrous carbs such as vegetables and salads, and include more lean proteins such as chicken breast, ostrich, fish, egg whites, whey protein.
2) You’re Probably Eating Too Much Fruit
Make no mistake, fruit is healthy and can be eaten by lean individuals in limited amounts. However, any excessive fruit sugar (fructose) consumption quickly leads to fat gain. Fructose is metabolised in the liver and once liver glycogen stores are full, any additional fructose consumption is readily converted to triglycerides and stored as body fat. I would suggest that you limit your fruit intake it to one small serving per day at most, at least until you reach your goal weight. Just be sure to up your vegetable consumption to meet your daily micronutrient requirements.
3) You’re Possibly Eating Carbs at the Wrong Time
If you’re carrying an above average level of body fat, then pretty much any time of the day is the wrong time to eat too many carbs. In this case I would recommend sticking predominantly to vegetables, and possibly some brown basmati rice, rolled oats or sweet potatoes after training. When you get down to lower body fat levels you should be able to increase the amount of carbs in your diet slightly.
4) You’re May Be Eating Too Much Fat
Don’t assume that if you cut carbs then you’re good to go and that there’s nothing else to worry about. You can’t neglect paying attention to your dietary fat intake, as it relates to your overall calorie consumption. Fat contains nine calories per gram and, at the end of the day, your total calorie intake still matters. If you’re eating more calories than you burn each day you’re never going to achieve your goal. Aim to derive up to 15-20% of your calories from healthy fats like fish, game, omega-rich eggs, olive and flax seed oils, among others. Just be careful about consuming too much dietary fat thinking that low carbs automatically leads to fat loss.
And your training?
Stick to compound weight training exercises to burn as many calories as possible, with either a full body routine done at each session, or an upper body, lower body split, depending on the number of days you train each week.