How do you lose the last 10 pounds?
Matt: In a way this is a pretty simple answer: stay hungry. That has always been my gauge for fat loss in the single digits. Have a refeed per week, and mine have always been of the lots of food variety, not necessarily high carb/low-fat. Just have a big meal to keep your metabolism chugging along. Otherwise, stay on your plan and learn to live with the fact you’re hungry.
Also, upping the intensity as high as you can with both training and HIIT will be crucial at this point. You can’t be cruising through your workouts hoping that diet will do everything. The reality is that your body wants to hang on to all of the fat it can at this point and you have to make that impossible. Throwing in some steady state or fasted cardio can only help at this point.
It’s this point of dieting that really tests your will. It’s the difference (for a male) of 10% down to 5% or lower. That’s when things get really hard and that’s when you really have to give it your best effort. I can’t say this enough: stay hungry. Literally.
Dara: It depends on what “the last 10 pounds” means to you. If it’s someone prepping for a body building show those last 10 pounds are very different from someone just looking to reach a healthy weight or fit into their wedding dress. I would make sure you are doing HIIT and incorporating plyometrics and other high intensity training techniques. I would carb cycle and have low, moderate and high carb days, which would be paired with the appropriate training/rest days. Low or no carb for rest days, moderate for cardio only days and high only once or twice a week on a weight training day only. Eat your carbs around workouts only. I would also limit food choices, cutting back on grains and dairy and higher fat meats. Make sure to drink at least 4 litres of water a day to flush out your system. And lastly, make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep!
Colin: Like Dara said the last ten pounds can mean very different things, and someone who needs to lose the last ten pounds to get to 7% body fat is much different from someone who wants to lose the last ten pounds to get to a healthy weight and so is what each person would have to do to get there. I think most of the time when someone meets a sticking point and needs to break through a plateau it generally means they just flat-out need to change things up. Their body has adapted to what they’ve been doing and it’s time for a change. Whether that be intensity, type of training, diet, whatever, it’s time for change.
The other big thing that comes to mind, and this is something that would need to be done ahead of time, is making sure you keep your metabolism high coming in. What I mean by that is when trying to lose weight I preach that you should be consuming as many calories as possible while still losing weight. Not only that but you are better off losing weight slowly. Everyone wants immediate satisfaction and big weight loss right away, and I get that, but for long-term success and getting to that “final goal” (I don’t believe in final goals but you get my point) it’s better to go slowly. If you eat as many calories as possible while still losing weight you keep your metabolism running high. This way when you do reach a plateau you have something to work with. You can cut out calories ever so slightly and start making progress again.
If you’ve significantly cut out calories you certainly can make quick losses on the scale, but you are not only most likely sacrificing muscle, but you are also sacrificing your metabolism. You lose a bunch of weight fast, your metabolism slows down and progress stalls. This is why you see crash dieters generally gain all their weight back and then some. They lose weight fast and life is great, progress stalls out, they give up, but now they go back to their old eating habits with a slower metabolism than before. So I know the question is for the last ten pounds, but the best thing you can do is make sure you get to your last ten pounds with your metabolism working as well as possible. That’s the key factor in shedding those last ten pounds.
JC: The “final ten pounds” can mean a lot of things, depending on the person and the goal. The lower your body fat drops the harder you will find it to be to keep bringing it lower. For example, a 200 pound bodybuilder looking to get on stage at 180lbs at 3% body fat is not going to have the same strategies as a 300lb individual who has stalled at reaching a weight of 200lbs. There is no cookie-cutter answer beyond saying, something has to change.
Workouts:As mentioned before in earlier writing, variation has shown to have great results both for fat loss and muscle gain. Redo your workout to include new methods of training the same muscle groups. Up the intensity a bit. HIIT does not have to apply to cardio only. The term is loosely thrown around as a cardio method, but take it for what it is – High Intensity Interval Training. Take this mindset and apply it to your workout. Cluster Training and German Volume Training, two methods I have talked about in great length, fit this category perfectly. The rest/pause techniques employed by these styles will have you gasping for air during a weight routine. There is no denying the fat loss and muscle gain properties of these methods. Diet: Matt is basically right by saying stay hungry – but there is more to it than that. A deficit can only take you so far if not employed correctly. As I have said before, a well-structured diet that has you operating in a deficit will yield fat loss. However, the real factor behind weight loss is metabolism. Like with ay finely tuned system, stress it, tax it, overwork it, abuse it….and it will break. Failing to work within the constraints of your own metabolism could lead you to dieting into metabolic damage. Things that contribute to metabolic damage are extreme dieting practices, extreme or prolonged deficits, extreme gorging, and so on. Your metabolism needs to be finely tuned, and I recommend the following to help keep things going:
Vary your diet as you would your workout. Don’t stick to the same thing day in and day out. Vary your diet to get the most out of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy properties of foods.
Incorporate re-feeds or modest “cheat/free” meals. Play around with IIFYM and give yourself a bit of a break. A properly structured re-feed or cheat has been shown to have amazing results during fat loss diets. If performed in moderation, the metabolic effects of a small carb/sugar/fat reload will actually work in your favor.
Do not blindly lower calories just to move a scale number.
Round 1: The best fat loss method
Round 2: Fasted vs fed cardio for fatloss
Round 5: The best 3 exercises
Round 6: The ideal training program
Round 7: How much protein for fat loss