I think I have hit my fat percentage wall. I weigh between 175-178 lbs and my body fat percentage is consistently 22-28%. Here is my routine. I crossfit in the morning, so I get some good cardio. I try to run 0.5 - 1 mile at a pace of 6 mph. I then do bench press or dead Max 2-3 days per week by myself. I consume lots of water. I eat paleo 5 days a week. I eat cheat meals like pizza or high carb burger or burrito for just 3 meals a week. Despite all these my body fat % remains the same. It never goes below 23. I want it to bring 18 or under in 2 months. What am I doing wrong? What can I do different to break this wall?


I am male, 27, weight 175-178, height 5'10". I do crossfit, other than that I lift a little bit of weight. Bench press Max - 130. Dead lift Max - 215.

  • Drop crossfit and start doing some serious lifting. And find foods so you don't have to cheat. 3 meals a week is quite a lot. I used to cheat every 3 weeks. For example, i would pick my cheat meal and build a healthy variation around it. Now i only eat clean. You can try mixing up so many things that will taste like you are cheating. And even when cheating, still count your macros.
    – s3v3ns
    Feb 20, 2015 at 9:20
  • Are you male or female? That makes a difference.
    – JohnP
    Feb 20, 2015 at 16:31
  • 2
    @s3v3ns while I am certainly no fan of crossfit, it definitely is not the problem here. I would go even further and suggest that dropping crossfit for oly lifting would even be counter-productive. The goal here is fat loss, and they are following a cardio program, so it follows that the problem would most likely be in the diet.
    – Moses
    Feb 20, 2015 at 17:23
  • 3
    @howtechstuffworks bodyfat scales can be widely inaccurate, and answers can be hugely variable depending on when you measure, the scale, it's quality, and many other external factors. Using calipers would be a preferred method (can get for less than $5 on Amazon). And what Lego probably meant was that if you are cheating 3 out of 7 days then that no longer counts as a cheat because it's simply too frequent to call it anything other than part of a poor diet.
    – Moses
    Feb 20, 2015 at 21:35
  • 1
    No no no, I cheat 3 meals per week. Saturday afternoon after work out, Saturday night or a weekday night and Sunday after noon or night depending upon when my team is playing football. Feb 20, 2015 at 21:39

3 Answers 3


Are you losing weight at all? How are you measuring your fat percentage? Scales that use bioelectric impedance are not very reliable. However, make the best of it and always measure in the morning, before breakfast.

Count you calories, make a conservative estimate of your calorie expediture, adapt your diet to the expenditure and you will lose weight, and fat.

To lower your fat percentage you'll have to signal your body to maintain muscle as well, and cardio is NOT ideal for this purpose, neither is crossfit, which isn't really in the right rep count range to to maintain muscle mass and strength.

Can you clarify this deadlift/bench press thing? Are you doing serious weight lifting? How often, at what times, how long?

  • Hi Marten. I lost lots of weight in last 1 year. I was 195 lbs starting 2013. I started losing weight using proper diet and by the end of 2013 I was 156 lbs. However, I was doing just cardio and diet, so I didnt have much strength. Thats when I started taking personal trainer classes once to month to set up my weight lifting routine. It would be safe to assume that I never heard of dead lifts until the start of 2014 (I was 25 yrs old at that time, 26 now, 27 if you ask me next week). I worked on deadlifts, banded-pullups, push ups, high pull, free-weight shoulder press, squats, lunges. Feb 20, 2015 at 17:05
  • By OCT 2014 I noticed, I wasn't pushing myself enough and I gave too much time in between sets. So I joined crossfit and switched my diet to paleo. It worked good so far. I do understand that crossfit is a GPP program. Here's why I dont think I should stop crossfit, in order. Feb 20, 2015 at 17:13
  • 1) With my crazy work pressure and 12 hour job per day, I dont have to worry about my work out routine for the next day, I just need to gain enough motivation to show up - thats it. There were times I skipped gym for 3 weeks straight, but now even on my worst phase of a year at work, I would have had atleast 3 good workouts per week - it keeps me going. I agree this is a lame thing to say, but it worked for me. 2) With out crossfit, I would never push my self enough 3) I heard about d-lifts a year ago, how many work out routines you think I would know, who is going to correct my bad posture. Feb 20, 2015 at 17:15
  • GOAL: Correct me if you see any problem with this or feel free to modify it. Daily Routine in order: 1) Crossfit - for above mentioned reasons 2) Run (0.5 - 2 miles in treadmill - Speed - 6-7 <or Interval Training?>) - I want to hit the belly fat too 3) Work on strength - Deadlifts, Bench, Pull ups(I still can do only 3-5), <Feel free to suggest anything else here> 4) Diet - Yes I will make sure I burn enough before having it. Cheat meals - lets say 1-3 a week. You can tell me if it is going to work or am I getting too ambitious and will get fatigued. Appreciate your thoughts. Feb 20, 2015 at 17:25
  • @howtechstuffworks - You should have put all of that in your original question. However, you can't "hit that belly fat", spot reduction is a myth. And only you can tell if it's too ambitious.
    – JohnP
    Feb 21, 2015 at 14:47

To decrease your fat percentage, you need to lose fat, increase lean muscle mass, or do both.

There are two approaches used for this.

You can do a "steady state approach" where you eat enough to keep your weight constant and exercise enough so that you don't lose muscle at the same time. This is known as "recomposition".

You can do the "bulk/cut". In a bulk, you eat a slight excess over what your body needs and weightlift hard, so that you put on a lot of muscle and a little fat. And then you cut, where you eat less than what your body needs and continue to weightlift to retain your muscle.

I've only done the recomposition approach. It can work, but it's slow. Doing a bulk/cut is common among weightlifters.

You don't mention how you had your body fat measured; there are a lot of methods, and many aren't very accurate. You may not be at 23%.

5% of your body weight is about 8-9 pounds. At 1 pound per week, you can lose that much weight. If you eat at a deficit of 500 calories per day and continue to do the weightlifting that you are currently doing, you should make it.


try simple approach.

Cut physical activity by 2/3(volume) , but keep the weight on the bar. Cut calories to 800 Cal a day(200g protein from lean meats). Add I pill of multivitamin and 10 grams of fish Oil. any number of green leafs. For 2 weeks . It is usefull if you are low-carber paleo eater, in this case it would be easy.
you may loose up to 10 of weight this way, and about a half would be fat.

This diet is not easy , but very effective . For 2 weeks. the actual diet is http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/the-rapid-fat-loss-handbook/

  • for someone who lifts those numbers and does crosfit in addition to that 800 calories seems EXTREMELY unhealthy Feb 24, 2015 at 17:44
  • >>Cut physical activity by 2/3(volume) you are correct.
    – Sergey
    Feb 25, 2015 at 16:14
  • Cut physical activity? You mean work less hours but increase the weight? Feb 28, 2015 at 5:57
  • weight on the bar will save your muscles , but volume should be decreased , VLCD is not a good time for volume training. i used to do one very heavy set of 5 rm .
    – Sergey
    Mar 1, 2015 at 7:23

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