Episode Highlights

00:00:14 Significant progress within the first 4-6 weeks
00:01:48 Importance of resetting the metabolism
00:04:57 Never cut out carbohydrates from a diet completely
00:07:56Rebalancing the metabolism


Fitness Guide





Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host, Darren Kirby.

Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health and fitness. This is Episode 89. And on today’s show, we’re going to be talking about the lack of progress and hitting a plateau when it comes to losing fat and losing weight. So you’ve made progress initially and then all of a sudden you hit a plateau. You’re not making progress. And it becomes hugely, hugely frustrating. Well, I’m pleased to say you are not in the minority. You are in the majority. And this is a standard thing that happens when we start to pay attention to our weight when we pay attention to our fitness. And after a period of time, what happens is the body just adapts, right. So the body is a very intelligent piece of machinery that we get given. And once we start to give it the right nutrients that it needs, you get an initial kind of drop in weight and depending on how much weight you want to lose or you need to lose to get down to the kind of ideal weight that’s calculated through various different means, the body then will just adapt to all of the nutrient dense food that you’re giving it. So initially, within the first four to six weeks, you’ll start to see some significant progress. So weight will be falling off of you. You’ll start to feel really good in yourself.

Darren: You’ll have way more energy. You want to do more, which is fantastic. But then people get extremely frustrated when they hit this four to six week window. And the way either levels off or even as we had in the group coaching this week, we had some guys who increased weight. Now, the first thing I will say is understand that this is a process and it’s something that I’ve said time and time again. Anything that we want to achieve in life doesn’t get achieved instantly. And if it gets achieved in a short space of time, generally it’s not sustainable. But within the first four to six weeks, that’s generally what will happen. So the body will adapt. You’ll be given the right amount of protein, the right amount of carbohydrates. And also within the first couple of weeks, you’ll be tracking your diet so you’ll know exactly what it is you’re consuming from a calorie standpoint and then from a macro nutrient standpoint. So just to recap, macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats, those are the three main macronutrients. And when we reset the metabolism in the TT40 program, that is the first place that we start. We always start with resetting our metabolism. So the reason that we do that is mainly because we’ve evolved to mean that our particularly in the Western world, our diet is very, very carbohydrate based. And whenever I track one of our client’s diets, it’s pretty much 99.9% that when you look at the macronutrient breakdown, they’ll be having over 50 percent carbohydrates and then the rest of it will be made up in proteins and fats.

Darren: So we reset that. And so in the first four weeks, you will start to make some significant progress because your body will be resetting its metabolism and using the nutrients that you give it. And like I said, within the first couple of weeks, you will be tracking your diet. So you know exactly what it is you’re having. So then as we gradually progress in two weeks, four to six, and it doesn’t always happen exactly on week six or exactly one week four, but it’s generally within that window and it will start to plateau. It could well be that you’ve stopped tracking you know, tracking your diet is good to get the data initially, but it is extremely inconvenient to do it continually. So you get that baseline within the first week to two weeks and then you stop tracking it. And it could well be a simple case that your macronutrient ratio has changed. And so you might want to just retract your diet for the next week just to see what’s happening, just to see what’s going on. One key thing, though, that I want to mention is that never, ever change your diet. Unless you’ve got data. We can all assume, you know, what we’re doing is correct.

Darren: But unless you’ve got that data, you are not. No, and you could end up setting yourself back if you try to change your diet without getting the data, first of all, sounds extremely scientific, all sounds extremely inconvenient. But I can assure you it’s not using my fitness pal. There’s another app called Macros, which is really, really good as well, which I’ve been testing. You can just track your diet for that week and then you can understand where you’re at. So that’s point number one. OK, so you’ve made some good progress. You’ve been tracking your diet and then you hit a plateau. So that’s kind of point number one on the plateau side of things. Point number two is I’ve already alluded to this and that is the body will adapt. So you may have been eating the same way that you have been for 10 years. Could be over a decade. Right. And then you’re all of a sudden you change your diet, right, so the body then is adapting your your taking in less carbohydrates, for example, and so you drop weights and you drop fat. One thing I do want to mention, though, is that we should never, ever cut out carbohydrates from a diet completely the body needs. That is its primary fuel source. It’s just that the Western diet has evolved so much that we actually don’t need the volume that we actually have in our diet.

Darren: So, yeah, so this is point number two, that to make the body will adapt also. It could well be like I’ve just said. The fact that you’re not tracking anymore and gradually old habits of crept back in or you’re having one too many what I call flex meals, I don’t call them cheap meals because that’s a horrible term to use. And we should never food should never be about cheating food. We need fuel to live. Right. So it’s flex meals. And what I mean by like a flex meal is that’s where you might go off track from the normal eating habits you’ve got. You might have a takeaway or, you know, you might be eating out and stuff like that. And that’s where you might have been doing that more than once a week. So that also could impact. But generally from weeks four to six, it’s a case of the body has adapted to its new diet and therefore it’s just maintaining where it’s at. So if your goal is ultimate, as most guys are, is to drop either weight in terms of actual weight yourself or to drop fat. What we then tend to do, particularly in the TT40 for a method program, is we will relook at the diet and then we will adapt the generally the macros. And then generally the quantities were eating, because one of the other things that I see more consistently than not is that we just eat too much.

Darren: You know, it’s all very well eating the right macronutrient breakdown. So the right breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. But if you can still have all of the good stuff. But if you’re eating too much, you’re eating too much and you’re not moving as much, you will gradually put on weight. And that’s the other thing. You know, once we get into weeks, four to six in the program, you’re in the flow of your new workout plan or you’re doing specific HIIT workouts and Tabata workouts and stuff like that. You that you can’t speak today that you perhaps actually haven’t done before. And again, the body’s adaptive, right? So we might look at first of all, will always, always look at diet because you cannot try a bad diet. And I’m not saying your diet would have gone bad, but there will be some elements there that we maybe need to tweak. We may even need to drop the calories down by 19% for a couple of weeks. And then we’ll gradually increase them so that the body doesn’t go into starvation mode. Right. So I want to come on to point number three because of kind of already covered this in point number two. But but essentially, point number three is rebalancing the metabolism again. So essentially, we’re almost going back to where we were when we first started week one, I’ll call it.

Darren: And we’re relooking at the diet, we’re relooking at metabolism. We’re looking at the diet in relation to your activity. So it could well be that you’re doing a HIIT workout in a day and you’re covering ten to fifteen thousand steps a day. The other side to this day as well, in terms of rebalancing the metabolism, it could well be because your activity levels have actually increased that you’re actually not giving the body enough. Right on. What happens in that scenario is a body will go into starvation mode. So going back to our caveman days, when we then when there were no shops and we stuff to hunt and gather our own food, what would happen is, you know, they might go out hunting and catch some food and then eat, but they don’t know when they’re going to eat again. Right. So it could be two or three days. And so the body will just have the nutrients that you’ve given it, if it realizes it’s not going to get any more, it will store what it’s already got in the form of, you know, glycogen in the muscles in the form of fat in our fat cells. So it could well be with your change in activity that we’re actually not giving the body enough. So it’s not just a simple case of we’re either overeating or eating the wrong stuff. It actually can be in reverse.

Darren: It can be that we’re actually not eating enough. Right. And also, one of the key things to to point out as well is it’s the type of activity that you’re doing. So I do a lot of endurance type activities where I’m working in a specific heart rate zone for a long period of time. And in that time, I’m probably burning more fat than I am carbohydrates more so my diet needs to be or my macros need to be adapted for that type of activity that you’re doing. So you guys that are listening to this, more often than not, would I ever be doing some strength work, whether that’s body weight or actually using weights that you either have at home or you’ll be doing HIIT workouts? When you do real high intensity stuff and the real high intensity workout, they use both fuel systems. So when your heart rate is 85 to 95 percent of its max, the body will be accessing glycogen, which comes from carbohydrates. And that is the most easy, accessible fuel source in the body. Then as your heart rate starts to come down, it comes down within the 55-65% range. The body will then switch its fuel source to then start burning fats. So the point about point number three, about rebalancing the metabolism of the six weeks, is just kind of relooking at where we’ve got to relooking at the diet and aligning those two things up.

Darren: And like I said, we could even be cutting down the calories to kind of kick starting the metabolism again, or we may have to increase them. So just to recap then, guys, on today’s episode, which is about hitting a plateau or not making progress, you know, point number one, as I mentioned earlier, initially, you make some good progress when you rebalance your metabolism. You know, the weight is dropping off your night. The fat is dropping off. You’re tracking your diet. So point number one is you’re in a good space when you first start full of motivation, full of drive and ambition to kind of get this weight off. And then point number two is that the body adapts, right. Or you’ve kind of got out of the habit of tracking the diet and you start to let them flex meals, get back in. So you’re having more than one flex meal a week and you’re not tracking. And so there’s that side to it. And then the other side to it is, is the body’s adapting to your new nutrition plan. You’ve given it. And then point number three, we’re talking about rebalancing the metabolism. And the metabolism is a very intelligent process that goes on in the body. And after six weeks when generally we see people stop making progress on the weight and fat side or hit a  plateau, as we call it, we look at rebalancing the metabolism, we relook at the diet, we relook at the macros in relation to the activity you’re doing, whether it’s endurance, whether that’s HIIT workouts and stuff like that.

Darren: So I hope that helps for some of you guys that have asked me questions about not making progress, about hitting a plateau. It’s a constant process that we’re going through. And I think that’s the key message. I want to get out through today’s episode, and that is just understanding, this is a process. It’s not that you set out on one path and progress is linear. I mean, that’s like anything in life, right? There are ups and downs in all areas of life. And, you know, nutrition and fitness and health is no different. But that doesn’t mean to say you need to stop. You need to quit. You need to give up. We just need to regroup. We need to look at where we’re at, look at where we come from, look at our targets or where we’re trying to get to and we rebalance all of that. So I hope that helps. And yeah, stay tuned for next week and I’ll look forward to speaking to you again soon. Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe. And I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. All the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at fitterhealthierdad.com