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*I wasn't sure where to post this*

 

This is where I’m at right now, (female) 130 lbs, 5’3, about 25% body fat. I have been stuck in that range for about 6 months, regardless of what I do. Looking at me from the front I look average, slightly toned arms, flat tummy, toned legs. Looking at me from the back I look gross. I am desperate to tone my butt and thighs! I’ve been doing the barbell battalion for about 5 weeks and I already see improvements. Where my frustration comes in is that I’m starting to tone up in my arms, my tummy is starting to show a bit of ab definition, but my backside is just stuck being gross. I want to get rid of my flat butt and extra fat on my thighs. I am not able to squat with any weight yet, because I’m trying to get the correct form down. Before NF I was doing bodyrock and Zcut, but still there were zero changes in my body. I know you can't spot reduce, but I was wondering if building up the muscles there would help in some way.
 
Would it be a problem to add in extra leg workouts throughout the week to help build some muscle back there? Should I just give it some more time? Should I also add in cardio?
 
I eat primal and have been eating this way for about 18 months. I stay at or under 150g carbs, eat approx. 80 to 120g protein and the rest of my 1800 calories comes from good fats. I rarely eat out and don’t eat a lot of sugar or sweets. I can’t figure out what I need to do so my body will let go of the extra fat!
 

 

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Hrmm... well first off, you might want to cut back the calories a bit more to get the weight loss going.  Plugging your numbers into this TDEE calculator http://iifym.com/tdee-calculator/ and assuming you are excercising 3 days a week gives me a TDEE of 1995.  This means that on a daily basis you use about that many calories.  If you are taking in 1800 then you aren't at a very significant deficit and your body has probably adjusted to it. Cutting down to 1600 could get the fat loss going again.

 

Also, why are you not able to squat with weight?  Is it an issue with injuries?  If you are just worried about your form perhaps it is time to stop over thinking it and just give it a shot.  Put some weight on the bar and stop collecting underpants.  If you really want some form help take a video, the form check forum is amazing and helped me out a lot getting everything correct

LVL 3: Zoran Warrior

STR:9 | DEX:5 | STA:10 | CON:5 | WIS:12.75 | CHA:9

Current Challenge: Not Really A 6 Week Challenge Challenge

Previous Challenges: 1st2nd

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant."

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Not gonna be able to help with the extra fat (spot-reducing is not a thing), but there's some solid research indicating barbell hip thrusts are excellent for glute development, summarized nicely here (and in other associated posts):

 

http://bretcontreras.com/hip-thrust-and-glute-science/

 

Here's a barbell hip thrust tutorial:

 

http://bretcontreras.com/hipthrust/

 

Take this stuff with a grain of salt, maybe - the guy's also selling glute-specific products :)  That being said, there's loads of free info on his site.

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

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I may be over thinking the form on the squats, but I hate doing something incorrectly. I have very little flexibility and I always end up hurting myself when I squat with weight. I supposed I could start adding weight to the bar and see how it goes. My form issues really come from not having the flexibility required to make it through the movement while holding the bar, I tend to jack up my wrists and lean too far forward which throws off my balance a bit.

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Sounds like you're pretty dialed in on your diet and exercise. Just a hunch, to get the weight dropping, you'll need to lower the caloric intake a touch. Probably to 1600 or so as KingZora said.

 

Also try adding weight to your squats for sure, maybe add in some deadlifts? In reference to the hip thrusts, they are supposed to be awesome, but I personally HATE doing them, they're pretty uncomfortable and annoying to do. I'd hammer down the squat form first.

"I've torn a hamstring tendon and re-injured my knee, lower back, and upper back while doing yoga. Don't get me started on shin splints. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so might as well be strong." - Some guy on the SS forums.

"Heavy is dangerous, but light is no fun." - Mark Rippetoe

"Squats are a good assistance to bring up your curl, as a bonus you can do your squats while your are still in the curl rack." - SJB

 

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Sounds like you're pretty dialed in on your diet and exercise. Just a hunch, to get the weight dropping, you'll need to lower the caloric intake a touch. Probably to 1600 or so as KingZora said.

 

Also try adding weight to your squats for sure, maybe add in some deadlifts? In reference to the hip thrusts, they are supposed to be awesome, but I personally HATE doing them, they're pretty uncomfortable and annoying to do. I'd hammer down the squat form first.

Really?  I found them to be really low-skill in comparison to squats.  It took me over 8 months to get my squat form to a place that I'm happy with it (still working on it, but it's acceptable), but I've found a decent groove with hip thrusts within a few weeks (again, not perfect form, but acceptable).  Where is the discomfort?  The first time I did them I didn't use any padding and it SUCKED.  Hurt like hell where the bar was resting.  But I just use some padding (an old pillow) now and it's really helped.

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

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I may be over thinking the form on the squats, but I hate doing something incorrectly. I have very little flexibility and I always end up hurting myself when I squat with weight. I supposed I could start adding weight to the bar and see how it goes. My form issues really come from not having the flexibility required to make it through the movement while holding the bar, I tend to jack up my wrists and lean too far forward which throws off my balance a bit.

Wanna know how you get correct flexibility to do a squat?  You squat with heavy weight on your back.  When I started squatting my hip flexibility was terrible.  Now I can sink into an ass to ground squat no problem.  This is because I started loading up the weight and letting it push me deep into my squat, was it uncomfortable?  HELL YAH... but it helped a ton.  Squats, your good ole butterfly stretch, and mobilitywod.com's couch stretch are some of the best things you can be doing for yourself.

 

Basically if you haven't lost anything for six months then you have found your maintenance level, and your body has adjusted to what you are doing.  Your options here are to either jack up the intensity of your workouts (add weight) and push your body to burn more.  Or to drop your calorie intake down.  Your choice.  But all I am seeing in the quote above is excuses, you seem to know that there is something wrong, lets go fix it :D

LVL 3: Zoran Warrior

STR:9 | DEX:5 | STA:10 | CON:5 | WIS:12.75 | CHA:9

Current Challenge: Not Really A 6 Week Challenge Challenge

Previous Challenges: 1st2nd

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant."

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I wouldn't get to crazy with the "letting the loaded bar stretch you out".... YES It helps- my mobility has improved as I started pushing weight- BUT I also do a lot of body weight as deep as I can squats- and I've gone from getting down to not getting up/falling over- to being able to A2G it body weight only and now a month later- pretty much with the bar.

 

But you still gotta get out of the hole!!!

 

I'd start working with the bar and see where it gets you- women are REALLY suspectable to holding up their own progress with "form fears"  where as men- tend to over do it and let their form go to shit sooner for the sake of heavier weight.   Gotta sometimes just put a little english on it and grind it out.

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Really?  I found them to be really low-skill in comparison to squats.  It took me over 8 months to get my squat form to a place that I'm happy with it (still working on it, but it's acceptable), but I've found a decent groove with hip thrusts within a few weeks (again, not perfect form, but acceptable).  Where is the discomfort?  The first time I did them I didn't use any padding and it SUCKED.  Hurt like hell where the bar was resting.  But I just use some padding (an old pillow) now and it's really helped.

 

They're lower skill absolutely, but they are just uncomfortable for me, even with padding. Maybe I should just toughen up, who knows.

 

 

But you still gotta get out of the hole!!!

 

 

Actually not entirely true :) I see plenty of guys setting the pins real low and failing squats on purpose. This accomplishes two things, gets you used to much higher weight than you can squat, and forces you into that position. If you're not concerned with getting back up, you can really focus on form, and pulling yourself into the hole. Obviously don't go from just the bar to 315 or anything crazy like that, but within reason it can be helpful, and really open up those hips.

"I've torn a hamstring tendon and re-injured my knee, lower back, and upper back while doing yoga. Don't get me started on shin splints. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so might as well be strong." - Some guy on the SS forums.

"Heavy is dangerous, but light is no fun." - Mark Rippetoe

"Squats are a good assistance to bring up your curl, as a bonus you can do your squats while your are still in the curl rack." - SJB

 

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Wanna know how you get correct flexibility to do a squat?  You squat with heavy weight on your back.  When I started squatting my hip flexibility was terrible.  Now I can sink into an ass to ground squat no problem.  This is because I started loading up the weight and letting it push me deep into my squat, was it uncomfortable?  HELL YAH... but it helped a ton.  Squats, your good ole butterfly stretch, and mobilitywod.com's couch stretch are some of the best things you can be doing for yourself.

 

Basically if you haven't lost anything for six months then you have found your maintenance level, and your body has adjusted to what you are doing.  Your options here are to either jack up the intensity of your workouts (add weight) and push your body to burn more.  Or to drop your calorie intake down.  Your choice.  But all I am seeing in the quote above is excuses, you seem to know that there is something wrong, lets go fix it It

I'm not afraid of being uncomfortable, if I was I wouldn't be lifting at all. I've just had it drilled into my head by the trainer I was using to always have correct form before adding weight. I would take a video of my form and upload it, but my husband is deployed and has my only camera with him. I do add weight regularly to my workouts, since I'm still new to lifting the weight increases pretty rapidly. I suspect it will slow down soon. 

 

As far as TDEE goes, I must be doing something wrong when calculating it, because the number I get is around 2200. Dropping calories isn't a big deal for me, 1800 calories is more food than I can eat most days anyway.

 

I'll try the suggestions and see if adding weight to my squats helps with my form and flexibility issues. 

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They're lower skill absolutely, but they are just uncomfortable for me, even with padding. Maybe I should just toughen up, who knows.

 

 

Actually not entirely true :) I see plenty of guys setting the pins real low and failing squats on purpose. This accomplishes two things, gets you used to much higher weight than you can squat, and forces you into that position. If you're not concerned with getting back up, you can really focus on form, and pulling yourself into the hole. Obviously don't go from just the bar to 315 or anything crazy like that, but within reason it can be helpful, and really open up those hips.

you go on with your bad self... that sounds like a really great way to hurt yourself.

 

I'm not saying it can't have a place but yeah- I wouldn't be encouraging people to go crazy heavy to fail on purpose like that.    Especially a newer person.  

 

That and forcing a stretch with a lot of weight- makes me leery. 

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I'm not surprised about the TDEE. Mine's somewhere around 2000-2100 (I think) and I'm 145ish. Same height.

 

Just be careful not to drop calories *too* low, as this can mess with your metabolism something fierce, and is no joke to fix.

 

Have you looked at the kind of things that you're eating? I've noticed if I have beer (my biggest vice) that I'll be horribly bloated. Like, for a while. Also eating a lot of sodium can cause you to retain water, as can being dehydrated.

 

In addition to squats, you can also do deadlifts - GREAT posterior chain exercise - good mornings, lunges, glute ham raises...there are lots of different exercises you can do.

 

Sounds like you are generally on the right track though - and I am stuck right about where you are too. I know it's frustrating...trust me...I was on a cut last challenge and I actually gained weight (WTF). So, more patience. More awesome.

Level ? Half-Dwarf/Half-Amazon Warrior

STR:21.25 STA:15 DEX: 10.95 CON: 14 WIS:15.5 CHA:17

SWOLE BUCKS: 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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I eat basically Primal, I don't really cheat on anything anymore it just ends up bad for me. I don't eat wheat, and have very little sugar, no fruit since I'm basically allergic to it all. However, I do still eat dairy, I've thought about cutting that out as well. I could take a closer look at my diet and make sure I'm eating as well as I should be. I do have about 4 oz of wine most nights. I could live without it or just have wine on the weekend. I don't drink alcohol besides that.

 

I already do deadlifts, I love those. I just wasn't sure if I should be adding more leg workouts in, I have a tendency to overdo things so I'm taking it slow and making sure I'm giving my body time to rest. Bodyrock and Zcut totally killed my body and it's taken a while to recover from it. I was doing way too much with too little rest. 

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Yeah - just don't do too much. That's something I'm still learning/working on ;)

 

How heavy do you lift? That can make a difference too. 

 

I would probably cut out the wine before I cut out dairy...or I would try...haha.

Level ? Half-Dwarf/Half-Amazon Warrior

STR:21.25 STA:15 DEX: 10.95 CON: 14 WIS:15.5 CHA:17

SWOLE BUCKS: 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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Lots of issues brought up in this thread, really interesting.

In reference to the weighted exercises used to improve flexibility: I understand I-Jo's leeriness, it does sound weird. However, it works. I used it to improve my hamstrings' ROM by doing RDLs. When I broke my wrist in December, my PT used similar techniques to recover my flexibility there, also with great success (headstand push-ups FTW!).

Check your squat form by hiring a trainer or borrowing someone's camera phone. Then start adding weight. No need to go nuts though... add 5-10 lbs per workout. It will start out as a mobility exercise and transition to a strength exercise. By the time weight gets heavy, most likely you'll be plenty flexible.

Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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*I wasn't sure where to post this*

 

This is where I’m at right now, (female) 130 lbs, 5’3, about 25% body fat. I have been stuck in that range for about 6 months, regardless of what I do. Looking at me from the front I look average, slightly toned arms, flat tummy, toned legs. Looking at me from the back I look gross. I am desperate to tone my butt and thighs! I’ve been doing the barbell battalion for about 5 weeks and I already see improvements. Where my frustration comes in is that I’m starting to tone up in my arms, my tummy is starting to show a bit of ab definition, but my backside is just stuck being gross. I want to get rid of my flat butt and extra fat on my thighs. I am not able to squat with any weight yet, because I’m trying to get the correct form down. Before NF I was doing bodyrock and Zcut, but still there were zero changes in my body. I know you can't spot reduce, but I was wondering if building up the muscles there would help in some way.
 
Would it be a problem to add in extra leg workouts throughout the week to help build some muscle back there? Should I just give it some more time? Should I also add in cardio?
 
I eat primal and have been eating this way for about 18 months. I stay at or under 150g carbs, eat approx. 80 to 120g protein and the rest of my 1800 calories comes from good fats. I rarely eat out and don’t eat a lot of sugar or sweets. I can’t figure out what I need to do so my body will let go of the extra fat!

 

 

Where your body stores fat is based on your genetics. And if you gain fat somewhere first, you tend to lose it from there last. How long has it been since you dropped inches or fat%, assuming that you're calculating fat percentage accurately?

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Where your body stores fat is based on your genetics. And if you gain fat somewhere first, you tend to lose it from there last. How long has it been since you dropped inches or fat%, assuming that you're calculating fat percentage accurately?

I went from 180 lbs in October 2011 to 130 lbs in May 2012, I believe I went from a size 14 to a size 5,  since then I've been the same size. It's actually abnormal for my body to hold onto fat in my butt, I usually gain in my stomach and arms, then legs and butt. It seems like since losing weight my body has shifted to storing in my legs and butt, or maybe I've never really noticed because I had never been overweight until after having kids.

 

I'm still not lifting very heavy, I've only been doing this for 5 weeks. I'm at 70 lbs on the deadlift, 40 lbs on the push press, I do pull ups with body weight and can only do the first two pull ups of each set from standing, the rest are negatives, and the squats I use only the bar. The only other exercise I do would be sprinting once a week.

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I went from 180 lbs in October 2011 to 130 lbs in May 2012, I believe I went from a size 14 to a size 5,  since then I've been the same size. It's actually abnormal for my body to hold onto fat in my butt, I usually gain in my stomach and arms, then legs and butt. It seems like since losing weight my body has shifted to storing in my legs and butt, or maybe I've never really noticed because I had never been overweight until after having kids.

 

I'm still not lifting very heavy, I've only been doing this for 5 weeks. I'm at 70 lbs on the deadlift, 40 lbs on the push press, I do pull ups with body weight and can only do the first two pull ups of each set from standing, the rest are negatives, and the squats I use only the bar. The only other exercise I do would be sprinting once a week.

 

First of all, congratulations on the weight loss. 50lbs lost is an excellent achievement.

 

On the squats front, slow and consistent is much better than heavy. IMO, you are better to be cautious with the form than adding weight too quickly. That being said if you have been using the bar for squats for 5 weeks, adding some more weight is probably a good idea. Go by how the sets feel, if they feel easy, add 5lbs. I find that there is a sweet spot of difficulty where the correct form is easier to find. But that maybe just me.

 

If you feel flexibilty is an issue, then some shoulder and hip mobility drills before your workouts (after your warmup) will probably help here. As you are just starting out, I would not worry about depth overly much as long as you are breaking parallel. As the weight goes up and your mobility improves, the depth will come. Just strive to get deeper over time.

 

Posting a video really will be great if you have other from concerns. People here are ace for helping out.

 

Now to business...

 

 

*I wasn't sure where to post this*

 

This is where I’m at right now, (female) 130 lbs, 5’3, about 25% body fat. I have been stuck in that range for about 6 months, regardless of what I do. Looking at me from the front I look average, slightly toned arms, flat tummy, toned legs. Looking at me from the back I look gross. I am desperate to tone my butt and thighs! I’ve been doing the barbell battalion for about 5 weeks and I already see improvements. Where my frustration comes in is that I’m starting to tone up in my arms, my tummy is starting to show a bit of ab definition, but my backside is just stuck being gross. I want to get rid of my flat butt and extra fat on my thighs. I am not able to squat with any weight yet, because I’m trying to get the correct form down. Before NF I was doing bodyrock and Zcut, but still there were zero changes in my body. I know you can't spot reduce, but I was wondering if building up the muscles there would help in some way.
 

 

I have a couple of questions on this.

 

Firstly how did you measure your BF%?

 

25% seems slightly high if you are starting to show some ab definition (but it can vary so you may not be far off). Soundls like you have got to the 'stubborn last 10lbs stage' which can be a real pain to shift.

 

Secondly, your stated aim is to 'tone up' your butt and thighs. What do you really mean by this? Do you want further fat loss? Or more muscle in these areas? Both of these can lead to better muscle definition but will require different approaches ultimately.

 

For example, if you want to add muscle you need to eat more (and lift heavy), to lose more fat, you need to eat less.

 

For now, I would suggest not changing your diet and start adding some weight to your squats (again, consistent beats heavy every time while you are learning).

 

It sounds like you are currently at maintenace calorie wise and your macros seem to be at reasonable levels, See how this goes for the next month or two while focussing on your lifting. Once your weight on the bar starts to feel heavy and your are happy with your form. You can decide which route you want to take.

(i.e. more muscle = more calories + more weight on the bar OR Fat loss = cut calories + maintain weight on the bar)

 

Just my opinion of course, feel free to listen to others with more experience.

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Wow that was really helpful. I may be off on body fat % because I use picture comparisons and my measurements. My tummy will always look slightly more toned because I had an abdominoplasty to repair torn abdominal muscles.

As far as the other question goes, I want to have a nice firm butt instead of the flat squishy butt that I have. I'm assuming I want to build muscle there and also lose the extra fat I have in my thighs. I guess that would mean I want both? I mostly want to build muscle because as it is I look like I have no butt :(

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If you're having problems with form and balance you probably need to work on mobility before you add weight. Play around with your stance -- have your feet wider, narrower, pointing out more, pointing more straight ahead, etc. and see if you can find a place where they feel more comfortable. Then add weight. :)

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That's true. Mir just likes all the squats. For mobility work, check out MWOD. Basically google any part of your body that you are having trouble with + MWOD and you'll come up with some great exercises.

 

For instance, ankle MWOD. or hip MWOD.

Level ? Half-Dwarf/Half-Amazon Warrior

STR:21.25 STA:15 DEX: 10.95 CON: 14 WIS:15.5 CHA:17

SWOLE BUCKS: 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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Wow that was really helpful. I may be off on body fat % because I use picture comparisons and my measurements. My tummy will always look slightly more toned because I had an abdominoplasty to repair torn abdominal muscles.

As far as the other question goes, I want to have a nice firm butt instead of the flat squishy butt that I have. I'm assuming I want to build muscle there and also lose the extra fat I have in my thighs. I guess that would mean I want both? I mostly want to build muscle because as it is I look like I have no butt :(

Nothing wrong with pictures as a comparison. Actually picture comparisons are one of my favourite ways to track myself as I find weight loss to be a little misleading (doesn't discriminate lean / fat loss / gain) and BF% is notoriously difficult to measure.

Unfortunately, both fat loss and muscle gain at the same time is unlikely (but not impossible for a beginner lifter). Fat loss requires a deficit in calories. Muscle gain requires an excess. I find it is much easier to focus on one at a time.

If to want to try and lose more fat, cut your calories by 500 a day and keep lifting what you can to maintain your muscle (you will still be able to make some strength gains and raise the weight as you are a beginner).

However, you may struggle to put on significant extra physical muscle while in a deficit.

To build muscle you will need to eat a caloric excess and lift heavy (again though don't sacrifice form for more weight, patience and consistency is king).

You will also need to be prepared for some fat gain if you take the build muscle route. It is inevitable unfortunately. Just remember that you lost 50lbs! If you put 5lbs of fat back on (along with 5lbs of muscle) then dieting them off will be a piece of cake (pun intended).

Sounds me like a good plan for you would be to stay at maintenance calories for a few months while you increase the weight in your lifts (particularly the squats). You MAY find that you get some fat loss as you increase the weight in the lifts.

As the lifts get harder and you start to miss reps in the final sets, bump your daily calories up by 500 a day.

Keep protein up at about 1g per lb of body weight, keep lifting and you will be properly bootylicious in no time!

Other than that, keep tracking your weight, keep taking pictures and (most importantly) enjoy the ride!

Hope this helps.

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