T Nation

Attempting a Cut

This will be my first attempt at a cut so any advice is appreciated.

I’m currently 186lbs at approx 15-20% body fat, judging from the mirror and comparisons with photos of leaner guys. I’m 5foot5 and 21.

I want to cut to 10-12%.

Bodyweight multiply 12 = 2232cals and I’d already dropped from 2800 to 2250 to cut so I was in the right ball park.

My question is how to distribute these calories between macros, I know protein will be making the bulk of it to help with muscle retention but how much?

Protein x 300g = 1200
Fat x 75g = 600
Carbs x 100g = 400

Is this reasonable?

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
This will be my first attempt at a cut so any advice is appreciated.[/quote]
If it’s your first real, dedicated attempt, you might want to follow the advice of a coach rather than trying to figure it out on your own.

John Meadows, Nate Miyaki, Shelby Starnes, Dr. Lonnie Lowery, Mike Roussell, and Dr. John Berardi have a ton of articles here on the site that detail different cutting plans.

[quote]I’m currently 186lbs at approx 15-20% body fat, judging from the mirror and comparisons with photos of leaner guys. I’m 5foot5 and 21.

I want to cut to 10-12%.[/quote]
If you’re using for for a current reference point, then totally forget about reaching a particular bodyfat percentage. Base your progress on photos and the mirror.

When did you cut these calories? What results have you seen?

Also, what does your training look like (weights and cardio)? That’s going to influence your calories.

[quote]My question is how to distribute these calories between macros, I know protein will be making the bulk of it to help with muscle retention but how much?

Protein x 300g = 1200
Fat x 75g = 600
Carbs x 100g = 400

Is this reasonable? [/quote]
Again, it depends a lot on how you’re training and also on your preferred nutritional approach. If you want to go low-ish carb (capping it at 100 grams like you wrote), then your fats can/should be a bit higher. Your protein intake is also pretty high. 1.5-2g/pound of bodyweight is on the higher side for most lifters, but again, if you’re on a lower carb plan, then yeah it’s going to be high.

This article talks all about that approach:

Hi Chris, just read that article you suggested and found it really useful, thanks!

Yeah i don’t have access to any calipers so i shall be relying on the mirror. 12% is just the area i want to aim for because i want to lean out!

I cut these calories last week so haven’t noticed anything yet, but i’m sure it will take some time. what would be the best way to track progress, waist circumference? As i know weight can fluctuate a lot with things such as water.

My training is a four day split, each day focuses on a compound lift, overhead press, deadlift, bench and squat. i train these in the low rep ranges to maintain strength and i have a number of accessory lifts for each main one, i.e BB bench press, followed by DB incline and declines. Back squat, followed by front squats and split squats…

I have also recently started doing some sled pushing with a friend of mine, were aiming to do this twice a week for some conditioning.

Thank you for your reply

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
Yeah i don’t have access to any calipers so i shall be relying on the mirror. 12% is just the area i want to aim for because i want to lean out![/quote]
Gotcha. I’m just saying that it’s hard to tell what “12%” actually looks like, so focusing on the look itself is more important than reaching an arbitrary number.

I generally have people track neck, both upper arms (around bi/tri), around the nipple line, around the belly button, around the thigh (pick the same spot, usually the widest part), and both calves. It sounds like a lot, but by tracking the total inches lost as well as individual spots, you’ll be able to see trends. For example, if the “total inches” are decreasing but the bis/tris, nipple line, and thighs are increasing or staying the same, while your strength is going up in the gym, you’re probably in a good place.

Yep, that’s why it’s important to weigh-in under consistent conditions - usually first thing in the morning, after using the bathroom, before eating or drinking, wearing your birthday suit.

Sounds like a solid plan, just watch your exercise selection. There’s usually no need to do flat bench and incline DB press and decline DB press in the same workout. A bit more exercise variety, or just going harder on fewer exercises, would be a better choice.

Very good idea. Sled work is killer cardio.

Perhaps I’ll start recording those measurements weekly then and see if I notice anything.

Your not wrong, sled work is KILLER, I haven’t decided if I enjoy it or despise it yet!

Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about this yet anyway, but after I have dropped enough body fat, I am inevitably going to want to begin building muscle again in as lean a fashion as possible. Now prior to me attempting to sort my diet out for this cut, I was eating sandwiches for dinner and potatoes for tea and toast before bed. But surely it would be extremely difficult to build muscle on such a restricted carb diet?

Whats your opinion on adjusting this much cleaner diet for gaining lean muscle? As the last thing I want to be doing is yoyo-ing from bulking and cutting. Although some people do in fact do this, with success, I myself prefer a routine.

Thank you for your input.

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about this yet anyway, but after I have dropped enough body fat, I am inevitably going to want to begin building muscle again in as lean a fashion as possible.[/quote]
Keep in mind, this is also why it’s important to be on a well-designed training program even while you’re cutting - so you end up with some muscle, which will make it even more effective when you switch to gaining.

If you choose to follow a low carb plan, it can absolutely be used for building muscle/gaining size if it’s done right. The Anabolic Diet (there’s been a ton written on it) is just one example.

Just like with cutting, there are different paths depending on what you respond to, your actual bodyfat and muscle, your training, your calorie intake, several variables.

Generally speaking, if you have a reason to be concerned with excessive fat gain during a bulk, the “easiest” solution is to incorporate some brief, easy-to-moderate intensity cardio a few days a week. Nothing nearly as intense as you’d do during a cut, but enough to keep things in check.

Other than that, it’s hard to offer much concrete advice because that’s pretty far down the road based on where you are now. Focus on your current goals 100%, then we can switch gears in a few months.

Thank you for your efforts, if you don’t mind I’d like to get back to you in a month or two and let you know where I’m at. You’ve been a great help so far, bring on the cut!

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
Thank you for your efforts, if you don’t mind I’d like to get back to you in a month or two and let you know where I’m at. You’ve been a great help so far, bring on the cut! [/quote]
Ha, sure thing, man. If any questions pop up along the way, just toss them up somewhere. Good luck with it all.