A fat loss plateau is normal, your body’s goal is survival. Thus, homeostasis is it’s priority, essentially trying to keep you where you are.
1- Decrease caloric intake
It’s important to note, the starting point of any fat loss phase should be to consume as many calories as possible, whilst still losing fat. This will then allow better performance in the gym i.e greater poundage’s being used with weights. Thus, this allows better muscle retention.
The drop in calories should be as small as possible to start losing fat again, re-measure, then adjust caloric intake based on response.
2-Increase energy expenditure
Increase energy expenditure, i.e. increase training output. Once the foundation of a progressive resistance program is in place. Increasing energy expenditure through cardio can be a useful tool to break through a fat loss plateau.
I have discussed whether LISS or HIIT is better herehttp://www.jameslaytonfitness.co.uk/?p=403 , essentially it really depends on the context which format you use or, a combination of both.
3- Diet break
Diet break- Lyle McDonald talks about this in his book “Flexible Dieting”, If I am honest, I am yet to really apply this concept with myself and my clients. The concept is sound, yet I think you need to decide whether to deploy this method on an individual basis. Some may see this as an opportunity to binge, this method would be useful depending on the client. Essentially, trying to determine whether they will abuse this or not.
An extremely useful tool, especially for those who are very lean. I tend not to use this method with individuals with a considerable amount of fat to lose, a linear approach is much more superior. However, the further an individual heads into a diet this method can be very usual for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, as an individual gets leaner a hormone called leptin drops coupled with a decrease in metabolic rate. Short term overfeeding, predominantly in the form of carbohydrates can raise leptin levels along with your metabolic rate. Thus, returning to dieting calories again, will usually mean more fat loss. The frequency and size of these re-feeds completely depends on the severity and duration of the energy deficit.
5- Reverse diet
This method is very useful for those who have been dieting on extremely low calories. Basically, those individuals with no where to go, there training volume is already high and calories are at an all time low. A reverse diet is essentially, raising calories slowly at a rate disproportionate to weight gain. Layne Norton calls this “metabolic capacity”, however, listening to Alan Aragon this weekend it is more of an increase in NEAT (Non exercise activity thermogenesis).
As you reverse diet, the goal is to essentially bring your metabolic rate to a point where you can then go into a energy deficit to try and lose fat again. This method basically means you put on hold your goals for fat loss temporarily.