Advice on getting lean without losing more weight
I've arrived at maintenance. According to the age- and gender-adjusted Jackson-Pollack body fat chart, I'm at a healthy BF% (21%) for my age (51), and my weight (158) is OK for my height (66"), too.
The problem is that I want to be lean (16% BF) to show some muscular definition. The obvious suggestion is to do weight resistance training + HIIT, but I do — nearly 7 hours a week of it (see example workout below). I've hit a plateau, and I don't know how to get stronger. I changed up my routine about a month ago, and I'm only slightly stronger than I was. For example, I can lift only than about 40% of my body weight in a bench press, and only 6 reps worth of that.
I adopted a form of intermittent fasting about 4 weeks ago after reading the leangains.com site. I eat only in an 8-hour window, and only 2 large meals per day, with a high-calcium snack like yogurt or cheese every 3rd day. I'm not perfect with this protocol, but I stick to it 5-6 days each week. I eat closer to 1900 calories on non-workout days, and closer to 2500 on workout days. When I deviate, I'm still low-carb/primal, but I "graze," eating for more than 8 hours and with smaller meals and snacks. I suppose I could reduce my calories, but I'm not sure that would do anything but lower my metabolism.
I'm lifting as heavy as I can 3x/week. Here's an example from my most recent workout, adapted from "I Want to… Do a Pull-Up!":
10 min. recumbent bike (low-speed)
Lat-pec stretch on foam roller
Shoulder Circuits (3 sets)
Band pull-aparts (15x3)
Wall slides (10x2)
DB split squat (25x10x3)
DB incline press (30x10x3)
Plank push-ups (10x3)
Close-grip front lat pulldown (70x12, 85x10, 100x6)
Pushups (15 shoulder-width, 15 elevated, 15 spiderman)
Plank sets (3 sets, L. side w/flexing 30 sec., front 30 sec. . R. side w/flexing 30 sec.)
Band-assisted pullups* (10, 8, .5, 6); I estimate I'm lifting 50% of my weight
Standing wide-grip cable row (23x12, 27x10, 30x8, 33x6)
DB bicep curl w/ shoulder press (12.5x12, 15x10, 17.5x8, 20x6)
HIIT cardio, 20 min.
*I stand on a huge rubber band slung over 2 parallel posts, then do a pull up where my hands grab 2 small handholds above me.
I've built up to my current weight amounts and pull-up lifts over the course of 4 weeks, and I've hit my plateau. I have some limits on how much weight I can safely lift in the DB squat, due to knee problems (crepitus, aka crunchy knee syndrome) and shoulder/deltoid exercises (tight rotator cuffs). I can do 1-2 unassisted pull-ups or chin-ups, and I can't make any progress in my bench press or military press. Am I just being impatient, or is it possible I've already reached my genetic potential?
Any ideas for breaking through this plateau?
Last edited by acohn; 04-29-2012 at 11:45 AM.