T Nation

4 Weeks of Cut Left Before First Meet


Since the end of January I started my cut as I was carrying a fair bit of fat and wasn’t happy. My weight then was 182lbs, I am now down to about 171.

I have since decided I want to compete in my first powerlifting competition in August which has a 165lb weight category.

I am still trying to cut down and the weight loss has naturally slowed, however I am definitely leaner - I can see that in the mirror. I wanted to get down to 165lbs in the next 4 weeks which was my aim, so I can then up the calories just a bit, and I will stay fairly close to that weight. That will give me a good 13-14 weeks to try and gain strength.

I have been weighing myself everyday for the past two weeks and my weights are as follows:

28th March: 173.4
29th March: 174.4
30th March: 172.0
31st March 172.0

1st April: 171.2
2nd April: 171.2
3rd April: 171.2
4th April: 172.8
5th April: 171.0
6th April: 171.0
7th April: 171.0

8th April 171.0
9th April: 170.2 (low weigh in - possibly as it was a saturday and slightly later in the morning
10th April: 171.2

11th April: (today): 171.2

I’m trying not to obsess about the weight as I am still getting leaner. As you can see I seem a bit stuck around 171 with minor fluctuations each side.

I don’t think I’m doing enough cardio, but it is hard to physically perform cardio when also lifting. I don’t want to overtrain.

I know generally that weight can sit still for 2 weeks and then drop so maybe that’s what will happen.

Currently my cardio consists of:

Monday: Run (I did try HIIT sprints but I find it quite impactive on my hamstrings and hips)
Wednesday: Swimming
Saturday: Conditioning and strongman (farmers walk, carrying sandbags, etc…)

Any advice or thoughts on this?

Thanks everyone


It’s your first meet. Compete at whatever you weigh on the day. I didn’t cut until my fourth meet, and even then only over 24 hours before the 24 hour weigh in because I realised I had about 4.5 lbs to the 220s and I figured I could do it in that time.



There are three reasons I wanted to get down to 165lbs:

  1. I’ve always wanted to reach that weight

  2. I’m enjoying looking leaner and getting rid of the excess fat which I’ve wanted to do for ages

  3. come competition time, I’d really like to be in that weight category just to give me a good chance of at least featuring in the competition. Rather than just coming last for example in the higher weight category.

I have taken on board what you say though and considering it now


That’s fair enough, but nothing to do with the meet.

See above

I wouldn’t worry about that. If it’s anything like here is Australia there are one or two freakishly strong 165s at almost every meet. You’ll probably have a better time focusing on going 9/9 unless you’re realistically looking at a total of 1100 or higher.


I’m actually really confused here. I don’t know how its hard for you to perform cardio. I think its safe to assume you’re not doing a 25 hour a week Olympic lifting program. I also don’t know where you got the notion that cardio can over train you unless you’re running a marathon a day. I’m assuming you’re 100% healthy with no handicaps or health conditions.

Nothing wrong with wanting to reach a certain weight and dropping fat, but are you planning on being competitive for the rest of your life or is this just for fun? If you just want to do some meets here and there, enjoy the experience then drop to 165. At 171 you should have no problem losing 5ish lb before the comp, most of that is water anyway.

If you’re in it for the long run, then don’t cut weight until you:
a) have a shot at setting a record
b) have a shot at winning at the regional or national level

Because you should be focusing on getting stronger and always going 9/9. Trying to cut weight is going to impede that. I cut weight for my first comp and it wasn’t worth it.

IMO this is a symptom of wanting it all now, in this case the “feature” you mentioned. Too many beginners want to win and be the best right away and they haven’t even competed yet. All that will come with experience and strength.


Well I don’t generally do cardio on the same day I lift. I am currently lifting around 4 days a week. So that leaves three other days, one of which is usually a complete rest.

Having typed this it’s pretty obvious that I just need to be more disciplined and probably do a bit of cardio after lifting.

I think I am a little obsessed with the fat I’m carrying and I don’t want to up the calories until I’m at a stage where I feel good about how I look and feel.

I know that’s not the best approach if trying to gain strength. At this present time part of me is worried that if I up my calories then I will gain weight and fat.

To answer your question - the competition is definitely just for fun.

I’ve always wanted to be lean and this is the leanest I have been for years, especially having lost most of stomach fat, and love handles. So having wanted this for so long, I’m in a position where I’m close to being at my ideal body fat %.

The competition is in August - I don’t care about where I finish or come as I’m just a beginner really. My main objective was to just hit some numbers I AM PERSONALLY proud of and that is a good achievement for me personally.

Sorry if what I’ve written is confusing…


Oh and one last thing…

I had decided to keep the calories as they are for the next 2 weeks as I am quite busy with work, away for a few days so training will change a little.

After those 2 weeks, I planned to raise the calories 100-150 each week until I get back up to maintanence


Is there a reason why you only lift 4 days a week? If you weight trained 6-7 days a week youd get stronger quicker. Some people say training evetyday you’d overtrain but I don’t feel thats true at all


Good question…

I find it a bit exhausting mentally sometimes. When training is going really well it’s fairly easy. I would find training 6 days a week a bit much - not physically, but I’d probably get sick of it.

I love the gym, but often, especially after work there are the same idiots in there.

I would worry about overtraining to be honest.

In the earlier part of the year - when I was eating a bit more, I was training 4 times a week:

Tuesday - Bench + accessories
Thursday - Deadlift + accessories
Friday - bodybuilding/spare day
Saturday - Squat + accessories

I found that worked really well. I know it’s only training the big lifts once a week, but I felt fresh and ready.


The trick is before you head to the gym, while your taking a preworkout throw in a good action movie that you like but only watch the good scenes. Itll get you ready to go kill it. Give it a shot


I just noticed the thread title is a bit confusing. It sounds like I have 4 weeks before my meet, and I am cutting… obviously this is not the case.

My meet is about 17 weeks away, I was cutting since January and have another 3-4 weeks left before I up the calories and really focus on strength again.

I took a few pics today to monitor progress:

Currently weighing:

170.2 lbs as of this morning
That is equivilent to 77.2kg or 12 stone 1


Thank you for clarifying that you’re not trying to do both at the same time, because that’s not gonna happen.

This is an issue of diet. It’s all diet, which I’m surprised you haven’t posted yet, because that’s most likely what needs to be changed.

Personally I think you should stop whining and put the work in. Your goals demand a lot and you’re saying that it’s “hard to perform”, “don’t want to overtrain”, “mentally exhausting”, “I’ll get sick of it”. Either make your goals easier to achieve or put in the effort that’s needed to achieve them. Focus on hitting great personal PRs and the lose fat, or drop the fat off and then do the comp.

That being said, considering your situation, I would suggest you do the former because honestly, even if you do lose 5-10 lb in 4 weeks, you’ll most likely put it back on during the meet prep.

You can either:

A) (My suggestion) Up until your meet, focus on getting as strong as possible while maintaining your BF levels. Make sure you put in the food and the work that you need to achieve solid PRs. You will have to be EXTREMLY PRECISE with your diet here if you’re so adamant on fat loss. More muscle means more efficient fat burning down the line and in 17 weeks you can easily gain more muscle and strength. Not to mention that you will probably burn fat in the process. Focus on the fat loss after the meet. This is much simpler and better in the long run.

B) Find yourself a good 10 or 12 week meet prep template. Schedule it and then for the next few weeks leading up to the start of the meet prep, stop focusing on lifting and put in 3-4 days a week of just hard cardio and conditioning, stuff that won’t make you lose muscle: sprinting, jumping, jumping over stuff, throwing stuff, carrying stuff and pushing and pulling. Drop your carbs to only the peri-workout (only before and after) and up your protein and fat. If you have 4 weeks before the start of the meet prep you should be able to drop up to 10 lb including water, however like I said, you can very well put all that weight back on from the meet prep. This option requires A LOT more work: balls to the wall conditioning and then an extremely strict diet to maintain your conditioning WHILE at the same time building strength.

I think it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. Do the meet, perform your best and then, with your new strength and musculature, focus on the fat loss. You can always lose the fat especially if you prioritize getting stronger.


Some people can, some can’t. I’m more of a three to four day a week guy. I’ve even had good results going two days one week and four the other. Granted, I think everyone can do extras on off days and be fine - like cardio or conditioning or pump work - as long as it is short and not overly taxing.


I’m confused are you preping for power lifting or body building? Eat and get stronger then eat some more then take a nap, wake up kill a baby deer (they taste the best) and eat it for your before bed protein meal.


Nothing more needs to be said. It’s all aboit priorities and expectations.