T Nation

Advice on Cutting the Last 10 lbs

Hi all,

I am hoping for a bit of input on the program I am planning to start once I recover from a cold. Over the past year I have dropped 45 lbs. while maintaining most of my lean body mass.

Initially I just focused on eating better and took up lifting (which I did years ago), then over the summer I read a lot of articles here on T-Nation and my fat loss really improved. Right now, here is where I am at:

Age: 23
Height: 6’
Weight: 185 lbs.
Body fat: ~13.3% (that is the 3-point skinfold result, with a hand held electronic test reading 14.4% and 12.7% on two consecutive days)

My plan is to get down to 8-10% body fat, hold that weight for 2 months while focusing on getting stronger, and then transition into lean mass building.

I am planning to continue a starting strength program which I do Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Specifically:

Starting Strength Onus Wunsler Beginner Program
Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Press
1x5 Deadlift / 5x3 Power Cleans (Alternating �?? doing DL one workout A, Cleans the next workout A)

Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
5x10 Back Extensions
Chin-Ups: 3 sets to failure

Workouts A and B alternate

I am primarily looking for advice on adding in metabolic lifting, intervals and steady state cardio around it most effectively. I am considering the following:

Sunday: steady state cardio
Monday: Heavy lifting followed by alactic sprints
Tuesday: Metabolic training followed by steady state cardio
Wednesday: Heavy followed by aerobic interval training
Thursday: steady state cardio
Friday: Heavy followed by aerobic interval training
Saturday: Metabolic training followed by steady state cardio

For steady state cardio I do just a straight 20-30 minutes on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or rowing with a heart-rate around 165 (which is the 80% training zone for me).

Metabolic training I have been doing circuits, barbell complexes and recently Thib’s metabolic pairings. All of these have very short rest periods and are in the 12-20 rep range, and I tend to change these workout up a lot.

Creatine: 5g. Post workout or in the evening
EC Stack: Using 10mg ephedrine hcl tabs: 20-30mg Ephedrine and 200mg Caffeine twice a day. I suppose this would be taking the first early in the morning and the other 60-90 minutes before working out.

Additional caffeine throughout the day from coffee, tea and low-carb energy drinks, approximately 300-500mg beyond the EC Stack, giving daily total intakes of 50mg ephedrine and 700+ mg caffeine.
CLA: 5g
Fishoil: 5g

Nutrition: From about 5-6 meals a day I stay around 2000 cal. with about 200 grams of protein (whey, fish, eggs), 70 grams of fat (CLA, Fishoil, eggs, nuts, avacado, and evoo) and 200 grams of carbs.

I try to keep the protein around that or higher, but let the fat and carbs fluctuate a bit more maintaining the same caloric intake. It may be noteworthy that I use a program to track my food intake which gives me a good breakdown of the calories and macros which helps me plan my eating each day.

I have many low-carb days which usually reduce my appetite and result in really low calorie days (like 1500 even on a very active day), but I find it hard to stay low-carb all of the time.

Ok, so if anybody has some suggestions for improvements, they are much appreciated. I am particularly wondering what people think about doing separate heavy and metabolic lifting days, or if I should do metabolic lifting right after heavy lifting (the heavy lifting usually only takes me 30 min).


Have you been dieting consecutively for the last 45lbs. If you have I would really recommend spending two weeks increasing your calories to the 3000-3500kcal range.

Spend a week transitioning up and a week back down. I think that you will find that your metabolism will be higher, you will be stronger, and may just recover a little lost lean mass. I am assuming that you have been dieting just about straight through. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Zag’s got some good advice…good work smarty.

Those last few pounds are gonna be tough!

I’m 6-1 and when I was 185 at about 12%; I was little…and not as strong as I’d like…

are you sure you wanna drop MORE? jeez…

Regarding zag’s point, I should have mentioned that I did take a week (about a week ago) at 3200 cal, and a similar recovery week a few months ago (when my metabolism was definitely going down).

B Rock, while leaning out has made some people think I am bigger with my arms having more definition and such, I am smaller than I eventually plan to be. My reason for still cutting at this point is that I have read that formerly fat people should shoot for cutting low (and hold it there) in order to reset the body for that, and that the leaner one is when one starts to gain lean mass the more of it which will likely be lean rather than fat gains.

Thanks for your considerations.

Ok, you are talking about modifying your “set point”. Good you have basically done what i would advise with the days off, I just fear that you may have slowed your metabolism with those “Low Carb” days at 1500kcal. It may not have been long enough to bring your metabolism back up, but it is hard to tell.

On your low carb days I would not drop below 2000kcals, dropping below your basal metabolic rate is a sure way to reduce it. I would try and shoot for 2200-2400 for kcals while maintaining roughly 1g/lb of protein.

The problem you may run into is you are demanding a lot out of your body and underfeeding it. If fact, if you are planning to do add metabolic lifting, HIIT, and more steady state you will need to consume even more calories than you are.

It may not sound too appealing, but may be necessary. You may like to read up on Bernardi’s g-flux concept.

I wouldn’t do any metabolic resistance training right after your heavy lifting. I would keep most of your workouts “heavy”, it is the best way to prevent loss of lean mass.

You have a solid plan and it looks like it will work, as long as you don’t add too much too fast, get into an adrenal fatigue and overtraining situation where your metabolism will drop.

The only thing left is to do it.