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After a Long Cut - Old Man Back in Shape: Next Steps?

Many thanks to T Nation over the years. I found such great advice here. I came back as an old man to ask for advice and articles about how to optimally transition out of a long cut. I couldn’t find any good articles when I searched, so feel free to give me shit about being too old to computer properly.

Long story short: I’ve lost 42 lbs since mid-June, 'gunna cut another 10 (20?) and then ???.

41 years old
Starting weight: 217lbs
Current Weight: 175lbs
Goal Weight: 165lbs (maybe lower? this cut is easy-ish)
Goal: To transition into being a fit older dude rather than a fat-ass old man. I want to set my diet on auto-pilot as much as is possible (basically what I’ve done for this cut)

Advice, anecdotes, articles all very welcome.

Should I ramp up calories? Just jump to maintenance? Go immediately to a surplus? Should training goals move towards strength for a few months? Just go right to hypertrophy? I’d love to know what T Nation’ers think.

I’m really looking for strategies and thoughts behind transitioning out of a deep cut and how to do it effectively. Articles or other reading materials would be very helpful.

For context:
I’ve got my diet and macros dialed in pretty well. I’ve been losing an average of 1.6lbs/week consistently for months. I’ve been able to “dial in” macros in that time. I feel confident that I could jump to my TDEE or a slight surplus accurately, or–if I do make a mistake–I’d realize it within a few weeks and be able to adjust. My question is one of short or mid-term strategy rather than long term goals. I’ve never been this heavy nor lost this much weight before, so advice from those who’ve done it would be helpful

I’ve been training using t-nation or equivalent programs on-and-off since around '04. This go around, mostly Waterbury and TBT-type.

That said, in terms of long-term goals,

Maximum Muscular Potential

How ripped could you get? According to Martin Berkhan’s formula, your maximum muscular potential is 155 lbs at 5% body fat. Most people have no desire to be 5% body fat though, so you’d be 163 lbs at 10% body fat & 171 lbs at 15% body fat. These numbers are good goals to aim for if you are bulking up!


These aren’t questions for us, these are questions for YOU lol. If you want advice, you need to know what YOUR goal is… if you want to look good naked - hypertrophy, if you want to lift heavy weight - strength training, if you want to just be healthy - maintenance calories and mild activity.

Cant guide you towards a goal if you dont know what that goal is

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congrats on your excellent progress

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Thanks for the response. I guess I’m asking more “technical” question… What is recommended after a long cut? (or maybe you’re saying there isn’t one recommendation)

Thanks, honestly, I didn’t expect to do this well this quickly… just in the right headspace, I think.

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definitely. This really depends on your goals. there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but an easy way to tell in my opinion is by me asking you this…
Why did you want to lose weight, and why do you still want to?


yes, slowly. How much do you eat now per day? How is that affecting your body weight over a week?

you don’t know what this number is, you must find it. a calculator might give you a starting point but it’s just a guess.

no, not unless you want to be 217 again in 6 weeks. goes on much faster than it comes off.

up to you. do what you will enjoy and consistently do.


Thanks for the response. Frankly, I think I’ve got a pretty good feel for where my TDEE is right now and a good feel of how to watch the scale if I’m wrong. My diet is dialed in pretty well.

My cals were around 2k from ~July–>Oct, but as I lost weight, I felt my losses slowing and dropped another 200 cals while fine tuning my macros. Of course weight loss fluctuates from week to week, but I’ve been averaging 1.6lbs lost per week. For reference, I weigh myself daily and also track weekly progress.

I’m feeling pretty confident that I could jump to maintenance or a slight surplus without regaining 40lbs in 6 weeks (lol). If I do mis-judge, I’m fairly sure I’d know it within 2-4 weeks… the scale doesn’t lie.

I guess I’m wondering if there is an advantage to one strategy over the other (ramp up vs maintenance vs small surplus) or if others who’ve done it have any advice.

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Of those choices, the strategy with an advantage is a 200 calorie surplus w/ 180 grams of protein per day, muscle building.

How important is your goal weight to you? To do that would have you heading away from it, not toward it.

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Thanks for the response.

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That’s fantastic progress.

I’m reading between the lines of your post here and it seems like your long term goals seem to be focused mostly around health and weightloss than strength or hypertrophy. Is that a fair assessment?


For the record, I agree with everything @ejones1 has said so far. Specifically:

  • Changes to your approach should be slow and measured to avoid undoing all your work and to keep you in control
  • Your weight training doesn’t matter that much, you just need to enjoy it and do it regularly.

Thanks for the response. You got it man. I got fat and had to focus on health and weight loss first…lol … now I have to think longer term, explicitly, as everyone is point out.

I just edited the OP to give additional context, but my short term goals are to continue the cut for another 10lbs (maybe a bit more)… long term, I’d like to see hit the ends of my potential in terms of strength and musculature (I copied-and-pasted what I think that will be above).

I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts and help. It’s helping me to see where I’m at and to refine my goals…

Realistically, at the end of this cut, I expect to be around 165 at sub 20%bf (maybe 15%? idk, we’ll see and it doesn’t really matter what the % is). At that point the question goes to how to get to the next level. 165 at 10% seems close to as good as it can get for a guy my height, so maybe that’ll be my goal. I’ll heed everyone’s advice here and slowly make my way there.


So your “big picture” end goal would be aesthetics? To get as muscular and lean as possible? Or is there a broader scope there?

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I’m not sure I understand the question, honestly.

T-Nation is The Bodybuilder’s Thinktank, I think, so I guess my question is primarily about aesthetics, but I see aesthetics as intrinsically linked to health and strength (“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights”).

Maybe I’m misunderstanding?

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Are your goals limited to gaining muscle and losing fat or do you have goals around cardiovascular fitness, health, longevity etc.?

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I guess those are the next step, but I’m still working on “get skinny” and this OP is about “What to do directly after getting skinny” (how to do that)


Gotcha. I don’t think you can go far wrong following @ejones1 advice above.

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Hey T-nation,

I didn’t really get what I was looking for in this thread (technical knowledge about how to transition out of a long cut). This is probably my fault 'cuz I’m dumb and a bad writer.

Anyway, I was eventually able to find some articles, although none on T-Nation. I thought I had posted a few here, but maybe I made a mistake and it didn’t post (?) or maybe it goes against some forum rules and was removed (?)… idk,

Anyway, to anyone thinking about upcoming articles, you’ve got at least one guy who went searching for this information outside of T-nation.

So, how do you reverse diet out of a long cut?