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10 Weeks Into Cut, Making Adjustments. Tips?

Hello T Nation. I’m a 33yo male, 178cm. Because of the coronavirus and the lockdown, unable to go to the gym, I figured might as well use that time to cut and lose all the fat from poor dieting once and for all. My goal is to reach between 10-12%. Obviously I want to save as much muscle and strength as I can, but I’m not a professional so performance loss is irrelevant, my goals are purely aesthetic.

I started my cut on March 21th, 9.5 weeks ago. I was weighting 84.5kg. Estimated BF between 20-23%, hard to say…
Before the lockdown I used to train 5/3/1 4 days a week, plus a crossfit WOD twice a week. My PR were approx 1/2.5/3/3.5 plates. Now I only do bodyweight workouts at home 3 times per week (this one:


, however I take rest between exercies, but increase reps and backpack weight from one session to the next). Obviously this isn’t ideal and I probably lost a great deal of strength, but I’d rather get lean once and for all and then resume a very clean diet and training with a solid foundation. Strength will be back quickly.

I practice intermittent fasting, it’s been 3 years. I eat between 1pm and 9pm. I train the morning, fasted. I usually take EAA before the workout and BCAA during. I’ve been diagnosed with low T 6 weeks ago and put on TRT. I’m still tweaking the protocol but so far I take 50mg of test E, twice a week. This might affect how the cut is going.

My estimated maintenance calories were 2400. I started the cut at 2200. I lost about 1kg the first week, then stalled. Reduced calories to 2000. Still stalling, reduced the calories to 1900. Added light jogging twice a week. After the third week I was still hovering between 83 and 84kg, so I reduced further to 1800kcal. Even with that the scale wouldn’t go down.

So I basically said fuck it and went keto on april 18th, almost a month after the beginning of the cut. The day before I stuffed my face with one of the most decadent burger meal ever, and I fucking loved it. Transition was smoothless, most likely because it wasn’t my first drill. No keto flu. Bumped hydration to 4L of water a day.

My daily macros are: 25g carbs (4%), 170g protein (30%), 169g fat (66%). I don’t have cravings, I don’t do cheat meals.

It has now been 2 weeks. I went from 83.5kg to 79.8kg as of this morning. I was at 1800kcal at first, but slowly increased as I found the weight loss a bit quick (not counting all the water weight loss). This week, I lost 1.3kg which is a bit much for my taste (planning to lose 500g-800g max per week).

Here are some before keto / today pics:


. The scale did move, thanks to keto, but I don’t really look leaner. The fat I have on my stomach when I pinch seems more or less the same than 2 months ago.

What do you guys think? Did I screw up the first months by reducing calories too quickly and tanked my metabolism? Any glaring mistake that I should correct? Or advice? Or is everything going smooth and I’m just paranoid? Does my body just reacts better to keto? What BF am I currently? I estimate around 19%.

Also, I use no supplements whatsoever, should I take any? I have very little knowledge in supplementation, and considering how costly it is, I’d be comfortable taking only stuff that make a big difference.

Last question, what about a card refeed or a bump in calorie once per week to “restart my metabolism” ? Is it absolute bullshit or will it help me reach my goals faster?

If you’ve made it here, thanks a lot for reading me.

I’ll go ahead and get @JamesBrawn007 in here, I think he’s had some good results with keto, and knows how to work things to get done in shorter periods.

I’m more of a start with higher calories and slowly work down guy, but I’ve never done any kind of low carb dieting. Probably only useful advice I can give is don’t think in percentages, just take regular photos in the same lighting and measure your waistline.

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I was just talking to someone about this very subject so the figures are still fresh in my mind. This is something of a “bro myth” based on the premise that extended deficits lead to low leptins levels, which in turn lead to greater feelings of hunger, not to mention such deficits cause a drop in metabolism.

Yet studies appear to show that, while indeed additional energy intake, especially from carbs, will boost leptin levels, these levels begin to taper off very quickly the moment you start restricting energy intake, e.g. by ceasing to eat, going to bed, etc.

For example, in one case, subjects ate an additional 40% of their daily energy intake, made up mainly of carbs, for 3 days. This led to a 27% rise in leptin. By the lunchtime on the 4th day, where they had hardly consumed anything from waking (I think it was about a 150 kcal breakfast, from memory), their leptin levels had almost dropped back to where they were.

I guess the moral here is: a planned ‘refeed’ may be a good tactic as part of a reward strategy but trying to justify it by science is patently flawed.

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I see. In this case zero need for it, plus I’d rather not yo-yo in and out of keto like this.

Do you weigh your foods?

What did a sample day look like before keto?

What does a training day look like now that you switched to home workouts?

Do you stay indoors most of the day? How long are the jogs? How many steps do you take a day?

Yes I do weight my food, to the gram. I have two meals per day, lunch and dinner.

Before keto, lunch:

  • 300-400g of chicken or 500-600g of squid with olive oil
  • 500kcal of potatoes, rosties, brown rice or gnocchis
  • veggies, usually mushrooms, tomatoes, or frozen mix
  • one apple or some kiwis

Dinner:

  • homemade protein pancakes (mostly protein, low fat and medium carb), with a bit of maple syrup OR same as lunch but with other kind of meat, or fish and veggies…
  • one apple or some kiwis (I miss the fruits…)

I eat the same training and non training day. This is my current meal plan, lunch:

  • 300g of fat pork cut OR protein and fat equivalent of squid with olive oil
  • 300g broccolis

Dinner:

  • 4eggs omelet cooked with 10g of grass fed butter
  • one avocado with 15g of 0carb mayonnaise
  • 150g of roman lettuce with homemade 0carb Caesar dressing (one yolk and some skyr plus spices)
  • one homemade chocolate protein mug cake

This is about 2100. Today I am adding 100g of sardines to get to 2300.

I absolutely stay home most of the day, I’m a couch potato (and a software engineer which doesn’t help). Since keto started I tried to jog but I have no energy. They used to be 30min. No issue with the workouts though, but like I said I rest between exercices.
So basically, virtually no steps. However I live on the 8th floor and I take the stairs when I do go out, which is like 3 times a week to do groceries. Still.

Is it still allowed to go out for walks where you live?

Yes.

Could it be an option for you to go out on a walk before breakfast (45-60 minutes) or 15-20 minutes after breakfast, lunch and dinner? It would not surprise me if either option nets you 6-8k steps.

Oh I can absolutely do that. Is that a worthy goal? Does it help with the cutting or it’s merely to burn additional calories? Although I don’t have breakfast, my first meal is at 1pm. But I can walk from noon to then.

What kind of chicken? Do you measure food before or after cooking?

Frozen chicken breast. I weight before cooking.

How many calories is this? You said you started at 2200.

There’s some evidence that’d suggest that it’d be beneficial in helping you. On fasted morning walking there’s this

https://www.ergo-log.com/exercising-before-breakfast-trains-your-fat-tissues-to-break-themselves-down.html

And walking after a meal would speed up glucose disposal. But really, I was suggesting it primarily from a health standpoint. I don’t think it’s healthy to stay shut-in for days at a time if it can be helped. Even if it was a zero sum game for your body (it isn’t) fresh air, rays of sunlight and exposing the mind to some new scenery it would be worth the time in my opinion.

I believe fresh air is beneficial, being struck by rays of sunlight, and

The sample before keto meal was about 2000kcal. Then I just reduced the quantities of carbs to lower the daily calorie intake.

This morning I’m at 80.2, little bump, so I’m going 2200kcal today. I’ve taken my measurements this morning as well. Will need to check next week to see a trend if any. I’ve also ordered some fat calipers.

Just received my fat caliper. I’m at 21mm, which according to their chart put me at… 10-11% bf. Its absolutely rubbish. I guess I’ll just monitor the mm evolution.

Went for groceries today. 6500 steps. I guess I’ll do that everyday now.

  1. EAA stop the fasting
  2. You should vary your time fasting if you dont want to slow down your metabolism and always be effective.
  3. You should start eating after your workout, timing nutrition is always a good option.
  4. You can do your cardio fasted, then eat a breakast protein / veggies / fat and then go to gym with your eaa/bcaa and put some carbs post workout
  5. Maybe your food choice is not appropriate for you.
  6. Drop your cheat meal intensity, use good food for cheat like homemade burger.
  7. Fuck keto

1-4. Oh, I didn’t know that. I can definitely do without but I read its recommended. I guess I can take EAA at the beginning of my feeding window, then train and eat after that. That would require me to eat between 10am-6pm though.
2. Does it? How often should I switch? How? Why?
3. Yes I’ve been lowering the interval between my workout and my lunch.
5-6. How to know? I have no cravings, I absolutely love what I eat, every meal is like Christmas. I don’t cheat meal. Or like twice a year. When I do though it’s all in gargantuan quantities. Won’t kill me. Or it will, who cares.
7. I dunno. First time I did it for 6 months and had amazing results. It keeps my hunger in check, I like the food… I think its the proper way to cut for me.

Based on what you said I would say that you were not moving enough to need higher calories. When you initially switched over to keto you had a drop in weight that was most likely water weight from the lack of carbs. I would ditch the keto unless you like it but, there is no magic to it.

Try to get 10k steps a day.

You did not mess up/slow down your metabolism.

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So it has been a week now.
Doing good on the daily steps: https://ibb.co/TPBF2JJ.
My legs and especially shins are pretty sore, but that’s not concerning considering the fact that I’ve never really walked or ran for extended periods of time in my life.

However… Holy shit am I absolutely knackered. These steps apparently add around 500kcal deficit daily, and I’ve reduced my calories intake to 2100kcal because the scale didn’t move this week. But man, I’m literally napping after every meal. I’m exhausted. I have to take EAA and black coffee to energize myself for my workouts.

Is this normal? I’m not going to be able to continue cutting with this amount of energy. I can deal with calorie restriction, no cheat meal, fasting and all that stuff, but sleepwalking all day long and having no energy, not an option. Not to mention that I’m still 5-10kg away from my goal.

If this doesn’t improve I’m seriously considering ditching keto and intermittent fasting (IF mainly to lower my SHBG which is quite high) and stick with the same routine and calorie intake, but regular eating schedule…