T Nation

213 to 180 Cut Success Story


February 25 I was at 213 and probably 20% BF. Now I'm 180 and probably 10%. (I'm 5'8)

I went through two cutting phases with a 2 week break in between. For the first half lifting I did a 4 day a week full body routine with olympic lifting and generally heavy lifting. I didn't have any extra ESW and relied mostly on nutrition.

It was pretty much Thib's cutting guidelines. Near-zero carbs except for a carb-up day. During/after the workout I had whey+glutamine+BCAAs. I got to 194 and probably 14% BF after this first phase.

The next phase was much tougher. I did a different full-body heavy lifting olympic lifting program, started losing strength and went to 5/3/1, where my strength largely stabilized.
I stalled for a couple weeks in my fat loss, then cut calories further and added morning cardio. Meals of steak+broccoli turned into a can of sardines+a serving of Metabolic Drive. I'm probably getting around 1700-1800 calories a day right now.
In addition I added fasted morning cardio on my off-days, and eventually to my upper body lifting days too.
I also had to limit my drinking when I'm out:/

Now I'd like to have lower BF%, but at this point I've cut for too long and it's about time for a clean bulk phase. This time around I definitely don't want to go about 12% BF and definitely don't want to balloon up again, so I plan to keep nutrition the same except for the peri-workout nutrition protocol described. I definitely can't have any carbs outside this window, nor can I have the overall high calories I used to have, so this means the cutting phase has resulted in a general change of nutrition lifestyle (which was already low on carbs). I'm definitely ready to pack on some meat though. From the last bulk I learned that Chad Waterbury's programs are a worthless POSs but WestSide has always been a solid template. This time around I plan to do DC and then I, Bodybuilder with emphasis on Bench and Triceps.

I liked how I held off adding the cardio until the last phase. Saving my biggest guns clearly made a difference.

I'll add before/after pictures below


Before Pic 1:


After Pic 1


After 2




WOW! Very impressive indeed!!! Nice work!


good job man!




IS the 'After 2' after the 'After 1?'

You look a lot bigger in the After 2. In After 1, you just look like a skinny guy who is so lean you can see his abs.

In the After 2, you look like you workout.


After 2 I'm flexing, after 1 everything is at rest. The picture is directly facing me so doesn't really show arms much. I think the angle of the back pic too doesn't show arms and shoulders well as it's angled up, but gives a good picture of my back. And on that note I think my erectors are good but my width needs a lot of work.


behold, the difference between flexed and relaxed (one of the tell tale signs of a natty). the low carbs prob contribute to the difference as well.


Good stuff bro. Now don't get all caught up in getting 'big' so much that you undo all that you've accomplished. Definitely start packing on size, but give yourself some sort of limit so that you don't fall into the 'eternal bulk' that so many seem to do -lol.

I do think that your cals are way too low, but as they've probably come down slowly, I'm certain your metabolism has slowed accordingly. Be very careful bringing your numbers back up, don't wanna do it too quickly and pudge up. I don't think I ever went below 2400 cals myself, except maybe the very last week before my show, and at that point I knew that I was going to be losing some muscle in the process. Saving the cardio until the later stages is a great approach, and I did it as well. I think if more people were able to deal with stricter diets, then they would be able to preserve more lbm in the process (just my personal opinion).



TheBlade just curious as to what your cardio consisted of HIIT or Steady state? Assuming you did cardio 3 days a week?
What was your total calories consumed for your 1st cut?
Also interested in what your carb up day consisted of

I have to lose some body fat and you did a hell of a job. Congrats


Nice job with the cut. Just curious, but what were your lifts like before compared to now?


Thanks for all the props!

Right on. I'm planning to keep my nutrition the same except for adding carbs before and during my workout and watch the scale and mirror closely. And only adjust the nutrition from the rest of the day a month or two down the road if it seems like I'm not gaining any fat and it could help.

Steady state. I fear HIIT would eat at my muscle.

I started out twice a week of cardio and at the end was doing 30 min twice a week and 45 min three times a week

Total calories during 1st cut was around 2500. What I did was go through fitday, shoot for a rough meal plan that was 500 under maintenance. Then I just shot for losing a pound or two a week, dropping more calories each week if I didn't meet my target

Carb up day: 14 egg whites and a bunch of berries. Standard bulking Para-workout nutrition, then hour and a half after workout two bananas and a can of tuna. Then I'd have one relatively high calories P+F meal closer to the end of the day and end with my typical pre-bed Metabolic Drive and 8-12 fish oil capsules.

Tough to compare as I switch up my exercises.

Bench 295
Box Squat 355
Deadlift 485

Bench 255x3
Front Squat 225x4
Sumo Deadlift 400x4
Haven't maxed recently, these are the results from my recent 5/3/1 program


Turn your elbows inward when hitting the back double bi and get your arms higher up......that will spread your back out as much as it can when performing the back double bi.


Exactly! Remember that you're displaying your V-Taper, so really pull those lats out even when you're focusing on flexing your bis!



Do you think you would of kept more of your strength if you did 5/3/1 the entire time during your cut?


im trying to cut too. i lift heavy (obviously) and do cardio. one problem i have is i like to get my heart rate up from higher reps to add some energy expenditure. should i just focus on pure strength and do extra cardio afterwards or should i add in the higher rep stuff?

PS - Great job, Blade.



No, because I get bored if I stay on the same routine for longer than 3 months so my heart wouldn't be in it

Complexes and metabolic lifting days are additional tools of fat loss that are like what you're talking about with the higher reps. I've just briefly dabbled with them a while ago but didn't use them during the cut so can't comment about them from personal experience.

I did fasted cardio in the morning rather than after my workout.