T Nation

3-4 Week Diets


#1

I am 5'7.5" and weigh around 175 lbs at approximately 15% body fat from what I reckon. I could be off a point or two in either direction. I am one week into a diet that I intend upon doing for 3 or 4 weeks. After that, I plan on bulking for about 6 weeks before dieting again.

I want to repeat this until I eventually reach about 10% whereupon I'll focus on bulking for 8-12 weeks and dieting for 3-4 weeks to maintain around 10%. I really dislike dieting for long periods and want to structure it in a way that will keep me into fitness mentally and physically.

Is there anything bad about this short-term diets like this? If it can get the job done well enough, I will be happy. It doesn't have to be 100% optimal.


#2

We’ve had a similar thread recently. The general verdict is: think more long term. There isn’t a lot of fat you can lose in three weeks, or muscle you an build in six. Chances are you’ll yoyo up and down without gaining any lasting lean mass. So diet now until you are as lean as you want to be, then slowly increase calories. Don’t pig out, it’ll just bring the fat back - faster than you may think.


#3

Damn it. Are you trying to kill my spirit? :stuck_out_tongue: Thank you for the reply.

I’ll mull it over and do it if that ends up being the consensus.


#4

That’s the consensus. You need to figure out what your goal is and work toward it. If you want to be leaner then bite the bullet and diet till your where you need to be. Personally at your body weight and height if your body fat % is where you say it is then I would personally focus on strength and adding some size. If you can put on 15lbs of lean muscle over the next 2 years without putting on much body fat at all it would dramatically decrease your body fat % and leave you much stronger, fuller, and a much better looking physique.

I honestly believe if you diet at this point and get down to 155 or so sure you will have some abs but that will be it… And as it has been said abs on skinny small guy are like giant tits on a fat girl no one is impressed or cares.


#5

I see, sir. Thank you for your reply as well.

Alright, here’s my question for you guys. What is wrong with dieting for a month at a time? Is there a particular reason why it is bad to split it up as opposed to doing it all at once?


#6

It’s bad because, immediately after a hard cut, your body is primed to gain all sorts of weight again. Conversely, after you’ve gained some mass, it takes some time until the body gets used to it and won’t shed it in a hurry. Basically, your body is a lazy bastard who likes to stay the way it is - and swiftly return to the shape it’s been in for long periods. So if you ‘bulk’ (a stupid concept anyway) by stuffing yourself for six weeks and then try to cut hard for three weeks you’ll lose a lot of muscle along with the fat. So the best long-term plan, in my opinion, would be to

  • get to a level of leanness that is decent but not taxing (say, 10-12%)
  • Slowly eat a bit more than you have to so you won’t gain too much fat along with muscle, if any.

This way, you’ll never have to do a major cut since you’re only a few pounds away from looking pretty good. It is way healthier. And yes, I realise Prof X will rip me a new one if he gets to this thread.


#7

In absolute terms, you can drop weight and lose a decent amount fat in three weeks if you stay dedicated nearly every day and have a good plan.

However, you have a bit of fat on you, so you won’t “see” the results.

If you do a “bulk”, especially for 6 weeks, you probably will end in an infinite cycle.

It sounds like you’ve never dieted down to being really lean. I encourage you to try to do so just to learn about your body. There gets to be a point where every pound becomes more and more difficult to take, especially if you are trying to gain/maintain strength.

If you really don’t like to diet a long time, STICK to your diet for 3-4 weeks and just take a one week maintenance break. If you don’t sabotage yourself with cheats, you will make definite progress doing something like this.