In an interview here:
"Lyle McDonald.....ignoring the contribution from glycogen stores, let???s keep it simple and say that the body has two places to pull calories from when you diet: fat cells and skeletal muscle......
But now consider the opposite situation, where there is little or no fat available for fuel. If the body still has to cover the caloric deficit (from diet, exercise or both), what does it have to do? Break down muscle. And, as everyone who???s dieted to extreme levels of leanness knows, muscle loss accelerates as folks get leaner......
But an inability to mobilize fat for fuel (which is more difficult as you get to the ???stubborn??? areas is probably part of it. Simply: if you can???t get the fat out of fat cells to cover the deficit, the body will go looking for another source of energy and that???s usually skeletal muscle."
I am hitting this wall myself now. Using leangains, I got myself down below 10 % bodyfat...veins in my lower abs visable kinda lean. But my old lower back fat was/is still there!
So two weeks ago, on meat/fat only rest days, i started trimming most of the fat off my cuts (same total grams of meat a day, just less and less fat). I was going for a sort of protein sparing modified fast, protein only, on alternate days.
I've coupled this with brisk walks on those days from hr 15-16 of my fast while drinking copious amounts of green tea, breaking the fast at hr16-18 generally.
Fat melted over my abs. Dropped over a centimeter waist measurement. Abs got veiny. But the handles lost little! I felt REALLY hungry and really wiped out, but I persevered strictly to attain my goal of nuking those stubborn handles.
Workouts began to suffer even though I kept my training day macros and calories the same. I got weaker for the first time on leangains. I looked in the mirror, and I could SEE my muscle disappearing, also a first on this 4 months of leangains! My ab muscles actually shrunk and became less pronounced.
While freaking about what to do, I came across this quote by Lyle. It spoke to EXACTLY what's happening to me! My calorie deficit became low enough, and all my fat that wasn't so stubborn had been burned, that my body had two choices: burn stubborn fat or muscle....and since the stubborn fat wouldn't mobilize, muscle loss has ensued much to my chagrin.
For the present I'm putting my rest day calories (and fat), back to he place theyve been for the four months prior to this PSMF experiment.
But, what about the problem? Does this mean my handles won't go and if I try, my muscle will go?
I'll see if the continued green tea 15th fasting hour walks with a few more calories will work. Lyle also recommends eating protien only when breaking the fast after such fat burning late fasting period cardio bouts, then having fat and protein a few hrs later.
What can be done?
asked byanimaleater (2417)
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on December 04, 2012
at 03:43 AM
Just an update. What worked was simply cycling my macros a little differently. -35% TDEE on non workout days and +10% on workout days. Carbs stay low on non workout days (75 grams versus 500 grams) and fat stays low on workout days (74 grams versus 100 on rest days for my TDEE). I have been doing this for about four weeks and my weight has been stable but caliper measurements in the stubbon areas have been improving (the other areas are already very lean). Hope this helps someone.
As for the guy who thinks it is somehow unholy to speak of getting rid of love handles you are welcome to keep as much lard as you want on your own body. If I'm supposed to believe that at 40+ being stronger, leaner, having better cardio capacity and greater insulin sensitity than my 196 pound self is bad because you say so please quantify how low handles increase anyone's quality of life.
on September 18, 2012
at 09:49 AM
This sounds like an unhealthy obsession with changing an aspect of your body for no good health related reason, and going so far as to cause physical harm and reduce fitness.
If your body wants to keep your love handles, there's some reason for that, why go to such extreme and unhealthy lengths for no reason?
on October 15, 2012
at 08:50 PM
Has anyone mentioned sleep yet? How's that going?
on September 05, 2012
at 01:28 PM
Interesting post. What about the suggestions on Martin's post about stubborn fat?: http://www.leangains.com/2010/06/intermittent-fasting-and-stubborn-body.html
It seems like you would fall into the category that Marting recommends these tweaks for (very lean, but still holding some fat in "problem areas").
He mentions yohimbine supplementation, and a bunch of other things you're probably already doing: caffeine (coffee), fasted weight training, LISS cardio in the fasted state, etc.
on August 09, 2015
at 02:04 AM
How did it turn out for you? The situation you describe is EXTREMELY similar to mine. I keep hovering between 11-13% bodyfat month after month. When I fine tune everything I get as low as 11% and maybe even leaner, but I can only sustain it for like a week and I get back up to what seems to be 12-13% in no time and start feeling shitty, then get shit sorted out and repeat the cycle all over again. I'm spinning my wheels and only have a few more strategies to try before I give up and hire a coach.
What did you do?
on January 31, 2013
at 10:44 PM
First, you can't judge yourself by a number: this is the weight on the scale or a body fat percentage doesn't map to how good of a person you are, so you should quit that kind of measurement. You should go by how you feel and how you perform. If you feel good and can do what you want to do, then you're good.
Second, this is why I always do my rants when people talk about restricting calories (even paleo calories) and upping their workouts (even HIIT, paleo-aproved working out). You can't starve yourself or workout enough to ever burn the fat you want to. You need to eat enough food to build muscle which will then burn your fat if your hormones are such that you can mobilize fat.
So it's simple: eat real food, don't count, don't measure, do something active that's fun, but don't go crazy with it.
on January 31, 2013
at 10:26 PM
Have you read Lyle's articles about a diet break? Sounds like what you need to do:
You're probably overtraining and undereating. just switch it up for a week or two then go back to it.
on January 31, 2013
at 09:53 PM
I have had this exact same experience and have concluded that the key must be to keep the caloric deficit small enough at all times so that the body is able to make up for it from the stubborn fat you have left without resorting to muscle catabolism. This means not only that overall calories must not be too low, but also that you should never extend the fast too long and that the difference in calories between the high and low periods should not be too great. My personal experience was that I was extending the fast to approximately ~22 hours, then working out fasted and eating a tremendous PWO meal of sweet potatoes. No matter how much I increased calories, the fast was simply too long, and so while I was able to get down to an extremely lean ~6%-7% b/f, I lost a great deal of muscle and just couldn't get rid of that last bit of fat on my glutes. Martin has said that one of the keys to his eventual success was keeping the deficit small and "easing into maintenance." I believe that this is why.
on October 15, 2012
at 07:53 PM
I'm dealing with this right not. By the 3 site caliper test I am at about 6% bodyfat but I don't believe the numbers anymore and have started measuring just what is left of my pooch (nice problem to have). My abs are not popping yet though I have a clear four-pack. I have also upped the water intake to around 1.5 gallons per day so make sure I am not giving my body a reason to hold extra water. I have been doing my usual leangains workout and instead of taking BCAAs after the workout, taking yohimbe and going trying to just move around (taking walks and such). It seems to be working but I am still not disgustingly lean. My plan is to lower the grams of carbs to around 80 per day for this week and up the fat to make up for the lost calories. Seems counterintuitive but so is IF. I will also up the protein a tab though I already head 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight and that is probably enough. So far after a month of stagnation the calipers are moving in the correct direction again . . no lost strength so far (bp 335@163 pounds so already strong enough for most people).
on September 18, 2012
at 05:45 AM
Sounds like you might just have to experiment to find the answer. Here are some suggestions that I would probably try if I was in this situation.
-Continue IF, but make sure you get enough calories during the eating window... feeling weak probably means you aren't getting enough energy. -You didn't specify your macronutrients, but I assume low carb. If so, you could eat more fat in order combat weakness, etc. You also didn't specify how much protein, but more protein isn't always better, i.e. if your body is converting it to glucose and storing it as fat. So try high fat, moderate protein, and low (but not zero) carb. -You also didn't specify how often you work out. I wouldn't work out more than 3x's a week, lifting heavy and giving it your all, then resting the next day.
I don't know, but I just kind of got the feeling that you weren't eating enough of the correct food (i.e. saturated fat), and probably eating too much protein, like a lot of lifters tend to do. Agreed on not taking shortcuts like herbal fat loss supps -- hope you stick to that. When you get down to such a low body fat percentage it's going to be slow times for getting the last bit off. Body recomp takes time, but it ain't gonna happen if you don't eat enough and fuel yourself.
I hope that this helps. I think the main point is be patient, make tweaks and experiment, but I think you gotta give it time and mess around with your macros a bit. For example, the hyperlipid guy (Peter, I think...but irrelevent) maintains a 12% BF without trying or lifting or IFing. So perhaps mirroring that diet, with some changes and additions to support your weightlifting might suffice.
on October 15, 2012
at 09:52 PM
This whole thread is nonsense. You must have a certain amount of body fat to live. figures for lowest functional body fat % run in the mid single digits 3-6% for men (I think). If you compromise your ability to simply sustain life at lower than those levels how the hell will you scale a rock wall? if its 'dead weight' your looking to loose why don't you get your appendix removed? maybe a kidney or half your liver# damn thing will grow back anyway#? I mean they don't do anything but add dead weight too. Don't patronize me or anyone here by covering your vain obsession with the veil of health or performance enhancement. I also don't give a shit about how many people share your goals, and nobody else should either.