Shattering Weight Loss Plateaus

Shattering Weight Loss Plateaus

shattering weight loss plateaus

A lot of people report that they make good progress losing weight at first but then their progress stalls.  Lets first look at some of the reasons that your fat loss progress can stop:

  • You have lost weight but not adjusted your caloric intake downward, this is the #1 reason for stalling.  Remember that each time you lose 5lbs you need to recalculate your caloric requirements.  A 3300 calorie diet will let a 300 pound person lose 5lbs a month but when they drop to 240lbs they will cease to lose weight because 3300 calories is exactly the number of calories their body needs to maintain weight
  • The initial rapid ‘weight’ loss was just water loss.  When you cut carbs and salt, a lot of water can be shed in the first few weeks.  This is not weight loss!  Fluctuations in your sodium intake can make wild weight swings.
  • The initial weight loss was because your weight was not measured properly.  Weighing yourself accurately is not a simple matter, if you are using a scale at the gym then you have little hope of success.  If you are not measuring yourself first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything then your weight can be off by as much as 12 pounds.  If you are using a bad digital scale or one that is hot or too cold, it can be off by another 5 pounds or more.  Add those things up and you might as well use a dartboard to measure your weight.  Remember that the mirror doesn’t lie and your pants do not lie.  If you pants are getting looser then you ARE losing weight! :)
  • You are too lean already.  Your body needs a certain amount of fat (~6% for men, ~12% for women) and attempting to drop below that the body rebels.  Lowering bodyfat further without loss of muscle requires tricking the body with something like carb cycling.
  • Your caloric intake is not what you think.  You are not calorie counting accurately.  You are not weighing/measuring everything or are not taking into account hidden calories like sugar in coffee or other beverages or condiments
  • Your have too drastically cut your calories and are basically fasting

When you have stalled, I suggest you hit the reset button on your weight loss program.

Do the following for two weeks:

  1. Use my calorie calculator and set the goal to be a 20% reduction in calories.
  2. For two weeks weigh, measure and log every single item you eat and every item you drink and tally the daily calories on the free website to make sure your daily caloric consumption is on track, they have an iPhone app too if that is more convenient.
  3. Measure your weight accurately, every day.
  4. Do a good basic resistance training program and at least 20min of daily cardio.
  5. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and get enough sleep!

Bodybuilder sixpack abs


24 thoughts on “Shattering Weight Loss Plateaus”

  1. I cant thank you enough. Your information and knowledge has given me the the motivation to get back into working out & healthy eating. I’m a father of 3 and after getting married I stopped working out and devoted my time to family and work. Now I’m giving myself the time I need to be the fit father for many different reasons. I’m 5’7 175 about 17% b.f. I’m blessed with great genes but I feel I might be eating too little. More importantly, I don’t want to bulk I just want a great lean body. Genetics gives me the thicker body type. I currently do a HIIT training daily (5 times a week) and lift 6 times a week in the evening. Depending on day I’ll eat 1300 to 1600 calories a day, most of which is protein the rest veggies & fruit. My BMR from your calculator is 1800. I feel fine, I have energy and I feel full eating 4 to 5 times a day, drinking 3/4 gallon of water a day.

    Does this sound unhealthy in your opinion?

  2. hey whats up.
    im at 12% body fat and i want to get down to 7-8%.
    i maintain 12% simply by skating everyday. been at 12% for years.
    how much months would it take to get to 8% body fat if i start running 2-3 miles daily ?
    my diet is clean. i dislike soda and only drink water. and food i ussually eat beans, rice, or chicken everyday.

  3. Hey scooby,

    Does the amount of body fat I have affect my metabolic rate that much? I’m 300 pounds and I’m finding it hard to believe that I can eat 2800 calories a day and still lose weight!

    Thank you for your time

  4. america_isht_number_1

    Hey Scooby,

    I have a question about your TDEE calculator. I’m 300 pounds (vast majority of it is fat), and I’m surprised that the number of calories I need to lose weight is so high, even at a 20% deficit. Does all that fat actually make it so that my metabolism is that fast? Or should I calculate my numbers differently?

  5. Hey Scooby, I am 18 years old and i just graduated high school and I am going into the Marines this December. I was wondering if maybe you could make a workout or recommend a workout routine for people like me going into the military that need to get in great physical shape for boot camp. A body for “go” as you like to call it. Thank you :)

  6. Can any body or better you @Scooby_Werkstatt:disqus  if it is dangerous to work out with weights 3 times a week (than 2 – 3 times cardio), every set to failure; while having a light scoliosis??? Thnx

    1. Yoko Joséphine Matsui

      Please speak with your doctor first for your exercise program. Scooby isn’t med specialist. I don’t know what your strength exercises consist of but you must avoid anything that puts pressure on your disk or back since you have 
      a light scoliosis. Anyway, please speak with your doc or any certified physical therapist for specific training program. Sorry but some troubles need expert help.

      1. @facebook-1381527094:disqus I sincerely thank you but the thing I think from consulting the doctor is that he is going to tell me the first thing; to stop working out with weights. This way I am going to loose all the muscles I packed by hard work. Any way, thank you.

  7. Scoob,
     I know this is off topic for this blurb, but I have seen you respond to someone on here already so I thought I would give my question a shot since you didn’t get to it on your question / answer session on you tube.
     I am doing your advanced workout currently and had a question about resting between sets. I have seen that you rest much longer than me when you broadcast your live workouts. I normally do anywhere from 16- to- 20 sets of excercises per muscle. Without much rest in between sets, I can get this done in about 40 min. I know I should take my time, but I do not have that much time to spare between completeing a weight workout, I do abs every other day, and run 2 or 3 miles for cardio everyday. I end up exercising for about 1 1/2 hours a day. Is not resting between sets hurting my progress ? I have been working out for 2 1/2 years, I am 39yrs old, weight is 148lbs height 5’6″

    1. In some ways, short rest periods might be helping your muscle gains because hypertrophy is induced by time under tension, which is why scoobys S61XL workouts work so well. On the other hand, if you are hitting a lot of plateaus then it is possible that you are not resting enough and that your strength will suddenly shoot up if you rest longer. It also depends your intensity and rep ranges – generally you do not need to rest very long if you are doing the standard 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps routine, but if you are going heavier ie 3-6 reps, or doing more sets, then I would rest longer. If you are circuit training or supersetting you might also want to wait more time than usual between circuits. Hope that is helpful :)

      1. Thanks Lewis for the reply. Truth is I do feel like I am at a plateau right now. when I started, I didn’t know what I was doing and was over training. I have always wondered that if you are over training for long periods of time, is it possible for your body to get used to this sort of strain on the muscles? therefore making you need to work that much harder (over train again) just to bust a plateau.

    1. you will still build your muscles while doing abs, even tough you might have a belly.

      However, you will start to see these muscles after you lost your fat.

      Personally, I’d recomennd you to do scoobys 3 Minute ab workout plus some vacuum exercises in combination with your running routine. give it a try!!

    1. Yoko Joséphine Matsui

      It seems to work well for some people and some fitness guru like Alan Aragon gives a good review about it. But it just doesn’t work for some people like me, I have blood sugar problem and I need to eat exactly every 3 hrs so that my blood sugar stays well stabilized. So for me, 6 small meals a day is much easier and much healthier choice. Do you know about yourself? Do you think intermittent fasting works for you? You need to pose the question first to yourself.  So far Scooby has been successful with 6 smalls a day strategy for so long, why should he try intermittent fasting?  And have you tried 
      6 smalls a day strategy???

  8. Scooby, 

    I want to get my body fat down to 8%, but once I’m there, how can I avoid eating so little (so I don’t have a caloric surplus). I drink a lot of water and have plenty of fiber but I just don’t want to feel hungry. What can I do?

    1. Yoko Joséphine Matsui

      Do you know your TDEE? To lose weight, you need to eat a little less than TDEE. When you get to your ideal weight with 6 pack abs, that’s the right TDEE for you. Hunger comes from your brain, not really from your body. Just try eating according to TDEE. If you still feel hungry with exact TDEE, that means you have been eating too much and have spoiled your appetite. Please learn to tame your appetite while losing weight or body fat.  Otherwise. you shall remain same forever… unfortunately… You know, there’s millions of people who actually suffer and die from real hunger… But you live in a country where you have a privilege to eat well and train. Just think about that…  

  9. Hi Scooby,
    Firstly, Thanks for the information here and on your website, it is of great help to me and millions of other people who are struggling to get the results they seek in Bodybuilding!! I’m very passionate about bodybuilding and have been trying to reduce fat and gain muscle for a long time now but haven’t been successful. After reading your website, I have some hope now. I wanted to ask you a question and will really appreciate your response. Its about reps and weights; I have seen your video on how much weight to lift and you mentioned a range of 8-15 reps for building muscle. Now my question is “When would it be ideal for me to increase the weight that I lift?” We always discuss about the reps in the first set; what about the preceeding sets i.e. sets 2, 3 & 4? Lets say on biceps preacher curls I can do 16 reps in my first set (which is more than 15) but 12 reps in my 2nd set, 08 reps in my 3rd set and less than 8 reps on my 04th set; should I keep using the same weight until I’m able to do atleast 15 reps in all my sets or should I increase the weight in my next workout considering that I’m able to do more than 15 reps in my first set? Is there a benchmark on the reps for 2nd, 3rd and 4th set? Choosing the correct weight can often be a problem for most of the beginners and intermediate bodybuilders as due to a lack of knowledge, we tend to increase the weight too often and end up using bad form or putting less tension on the muscle which results in no gains.

    Also, I was wondering what is your take on rest-pause sets? Taking the above example- for the 02nd set, I’m able to do only 12 reps to failure; would it help if I drop the weight, take a pause and complete the 15 reps?

    I apologize for the long thread but will really appreciate your response on the above as it will be of great help to me and others like me.

    Thanks again!!


  10. Scooby,
    Thanks for the great info.
    I thought you should add to your commentary that people should weight their food with a food scale.
    I’m on the fence to buying one since I’ve seem to be having a stall but not sure.
    Also, I’m using your  Lean Body – Body Fat  charting system (which is great) .However, I’m having a problem with getting accurate caliper readings near the belly button area so it throws my numbers all over.

    1. Thats the second to the last bullet point – “You are not weighing/measuring everything or are not taking into account hidden calories like sugar in coffee or other beverages or condiments”.  Perhaps I should highlight that because its a very common cause of problems as you point out. Its easy to dump out what you think is one cup of cereal into a bowl when if you measured it you would find its twice that.  

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