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205 Pounds, 11-12% Bodyfat Sustainable?

Stats: 48 y/o, 5’9", 213 lbs (morning weight). Because convenient all my body comp measurements of late have been done hydrostatic (dunk tank). My last measurement was 15.9%.

Cutting 15 lbs for a meet is not fun, b/c from what I understand I can’t do a simple water cut (I’ve cut 8 lbs in 3 days with a water load and no other changes).

This leads me to want to diet down to 205 for my day to day weight, to make a simple water cut to make weight. Ideally this would be all fat loss, so that would put me in the 11-12% body fat range.

Is that kind of number sustainable w/o being a food nazi? I like to eat out, and I like my red wine. Cutting booze in half and meal prepping so fewer dinners out would likely get me to the slight calorie deficit I’d need for a slow cut.


I think it would be pretty hard to maintain such low body fat without really restricting what you do and don’t eat. Particularly since you’re 48 years old. If you were on TRT or something of that sort it would be more realistic. Some people can do it simply because of genetics, but I remember Mike Tuchscherer saying that most of the top lifter around 93-105kg are around 15% bf, it’s the lower weight classes like 74kg or below where you have guys at 10-12%. It’s hard to maintain strength at low bf as well. If I was you I would just stay at the same weight or even consider moving up a weight class, seems that it’s not worth doing a water cut unless you are going for something big.

As for alcohol, Layne Norton has a video (maybe on his facebook page or youtube, it’s been a while) where he discusses alcohol and training. He says that he has drinking 1-2 beers a day when he won whatever bodybuilding titles and also when he set his IPF/USAPL records. At 200lbs. or so you can safely drink up to 3 beers or equivalent without any negative effects to recovery or muscle protein synthesis, but you will have to account for the caloric intake. Personally, I was at about 234-235 and need to make weight at under 231 (105kg) in a couple weeks so I haven’t had a drink in a couple months and just lost the weight slowly so it wouldn’t affect my strength.

By the way, look for Amit Sapir’s nutrition thread. He says that powerlifters should in fact be able to stay around 10-12%bf. See what he has to say.

Thanks for the reply. Good information.

I’m getting dunked again in a week to see where I am exactly. I’ve put on some weight since my last test but I’m not sure how much of it was fat and how much lean body tissue. I’ve got the beginnings of a turtle shell power belly and not sure how I feel about that. LOL

As for booze, my goal is to cut back to 2-3 drinks/day. . . not just for weight reasons but for overall health.

I’m on TRT btw.

Yeah, definitely keep it at 3 drinks or below for the sake of recovery and hypertrophy, at least not on a regular basis.

If you’re on TRT then it sounds pretty reasonable, you just have to be careful with your diet. Losing 8lbs. isn’t too hard and shouldn’t affect your strength too much if you do it slowly. If I was you, I would aim to lose about a pound a week. But also want to do this during a higher volume phase so that there is less potential for muscle loss. I don’t know what your training or competition schedule looks like, but you could try something like high volume/cutting for 4 week followed by higher intensity and caloric maintenance (try to build back any strength you may have lost) for another 4 weeks then repeat.

By the way, what weight class are you aiming to compete in? 198?

Yeah, 198. I’ve done 3 meets at 198 and would like to stay there.

OTOH, I’ve thought about bulking up from 215 to 230ish, and competing at 220. But damn, that seems like a lot of mass for me to haul around on a daily basis and I worry about long term health effects since I’m nearly 50 and would like to hang around on this spinning orb for another 40 ish years. LOL.

It’s tough b/c at a powerbelly-wielding 215 lbs I’m now at my strongest ever as I approach a 500 lb raw squat (soon) and 600 lb deadlift (within a year I hope). This is a numbers game, of course, so psychologically it would be tough to go backwards in terms of performance.

What about just bulking to 220 and not cutting for a meet? You’re almost there, I’m sure you could drop a few pounds of fat and add a bit of muscle. Your lifts would certainly go up, and not cutting at all for a meet would mean that you should be able to lift quite a bit more in a meet than you can in the gym. What does your doctor say about your weight?

I weigh around 230 (231.8 yesterday morning) and I’m probably around 15-18%, planning to lean out a bit after the meet. Since I got bigger I don’t actually feel bigger, everyone else just seems smaller. Strange.

What you say is so true. 3.5 years in, from 174 lbs to 215 I don’t feel bigger. Rather everyone else is smaller.

Looking at my old pics, I just look smaller.

What’s that old saying? Your first day in the gym is the day you can never be too big or your girlfriend too small. Something like that. Ha!

I think I’ll lean out and see how sustainable it is, while tracking my LBM to ensure no/minimal muscle loss. I figure done with a very modest calorie deficit 3-4 months should minimize any losses

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maybe you can ask @T3hPwnisher, he’s the same height and he’s been around the same weight and leaner while maintaining it, I think.

Whenever I get over the 200lb threshold, I start getting chubby. 195 is my safe spot, with 190 being where I tend to get pretty defined but also a little more prone to injury.

When I was 190, I clocked 8.4% bodyfat on a bodypod, so take that for what it is worth.

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T3, you are 5’9" as well? At 190 you are ripped!

Yup, 5’9. 5’8 after a yoke workout.

I posted a topic here when I had the measurements taken

The internet told me those readings were off, so there’s that, but I was still pretty low on bodyfat.

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I hear ya on the yoke workout. Nice work on the fat loss.

I don’t have the discipline to get to sub 10, but based on your experience, it looks like walking around at 12% is very doable.

I’m going to do a slow cut and see if I can get there in several months.


Interesting, last night I was reading an article by Ben Pollack where he says that being at extremely low bf% may increase the risk of injury. Since he stays very lean year-round, he finds that staying well hydrated when training helps to reduce the risk. He referenced a study involving ballet dancers, which is kind of odd, but I remember John Broz saying that losing more than 10% of body weight was associated with an increased chance of lower back injury so there must be something to it.

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