T Nation

Beach Body Preparations


I'm 20 years old and I'm mid-way through a successful cut down. I'm 78kg, 1.78m tall, which might seem small for a lot of you - but I've made my decision that I want to be lean in time for summer. I've got a somewhat desirable stomach, although I want it to be fully lean and shredded, so pinching my stomach skin feels like pinching the skin from your knuckles on a clenched fist.

I would greatly appreciate any extra tips and advice on what to do. Also, this website used to categorise the articles, such as 'bulking' and 'cutting' and 'transformations' and 'atomic dog' - does anybody know how I can find all the articles on cutting down? Can anybody suggest me any good ones please? I love the articles and get 99% of all my knowledge of training and eating from there.

Currently these are the main daily rituals I perform, NOT all in time order; please point out anything that sounds wrong, I greatly appreciate all advice:

Morning (this paragraph is all in time order): Wake up. Drink two cups of green tea. cardio (before breakfast) about 700 - 800kcal of steady state cardio, usually lasting 75 minutes. Protein shake (40g whey). 30 minutes proper resistance training (or what i can muster given my fatigue). More protein at home, and "breakfast".

2 tablespoons of EVOO.

Daily multivitamins and fish oils, cod liver oils etc. spread out for 3 times daily.

Staredown with the sweets and chocolates at the local supermarket.

Drinking about 5 litres of ice cold water (every little helps - I hope).

30 minute (not-particularly-brisk) walk after dinner (around 8pm)

General supplementation of protein throughout the day - 200g a day.

Meals spread out into half-size meals: 8 total feeding times including supplements.

I am aware of the effects of insuling sensitivity, and I am trying my best to cut out fructose and heighten it etc. But I do not want to cut down significantly on carbohydrates. I did this last year and found myself ridiculously sleepy all the time. Needing 10 hours sleep, plus naps during the day. And as soon as I had one bad day, eating sweets or drinking alcohol - I retained all the water I lost and I didn't look so lean. I don't like that deception you get when cutting carbs, how you lose a lot of water.


How long have you been cutting and what did you weigh when you began? Basically, what makes you declare this a success so far?

GSP (in the pic above) is your height and weight, 5'10" and 170 pounds. To get into that condition, he actually "cut down" from about 190 pounds.

My point is, unless you currently look similar to the picture above, there's a good chance you're lacking muscle. Low bodyfat without muscle isn't impressive or useful in the long run.

Could you toss up a current picture?

The articles are currently archived by date, not category like they used to be.

What, exactly, does your current weight training routine look like?

What kind of weights are you using for the squat, deadlift, row, bench press, and overhead press?

  • You're overemphasizing cardio by doing cardio twice a day and weights only if you have the energy. Lift weights three or four days a week, do cardio two or three days a week.

  • Your meal plan is wonky. Very, very, very few people eat eight feedings a day. That's new/old school bodybuilder stuff that never really panned out. Either look into Intermittent Fasting, or get back to the basic three squares plus a shake or two.

  • You're overthinking relatively-small things like fructose intake, mini-meals, and monitoring total calories burned during cardio. Micro-managing like that is actually slowing down your overall progress.


Thanks Colucci, I appreciate your reply and how you've addressed a lot of what I'm written about.
So first things first then, I've come off a very dirty bulk, more like lazy pigging out, alcohol-rife junk food eating diet. (Hey, I am a student after all). I was 83kg (182 lbs) some point in March, and now I'm down to 78kg (171 lbs). I was actually quite the fat boy for a little bit (by my own standards at least - having grown up as the skinny kid). I had no trace of even the first two 'bumps' on my abs, but here is a picture of me now - so something is going right. See picture attached

"Low bodyfat without muscle isn't impressive or useful in the long run."

I appreciate what you're saying here - and of course it comes down to personal opinion. Of course I realise I'm on a bodybuilding website where a lot of people here are competing and trying to look massive, but for a 20 year-old, my size really does suffice for my goals. I train 95% for aestethics, and personally I think I'm big enough for my age.

My weight training programme is a little bit all over the place, and has been for the last 6 months. Well I've been busy at uni. I have gone to the gym often but I don't think I've managed to keep up with a proper programme for more than a week, that's the obvious flaw in my progress so I'll try and sort it out. The problem lies with exams coming up in May and June. I have been doing full body workouts, or upper body and lower body days for the last month. I have tried to keep up with compound exercises, but I suppose I should go hunt for a good workout programme that I can stick with. As bad as this sounds that I haven't even been training with weights properly - I will say that I do put a lot of effort into what training I do. I never half-arse my way through a workout, playing around on the sex and no-sex (abductor and adductor) machines. Clearly there's a mass of room for improvement on my training regime, but don't assume I'm totally lazy at the gym. So even if my workout seems a bit scrambled - I am doing appropriate weights and squeezing out every last rep.

I have a few injuries that I have to deal with. I currently have a problem with my spinal erectors, so I haven't been able to deadlift or squat with a bar for about 6 months now. I would appreciate some kind of motility training exercises, I can't even do leg press without feeling agonising pain in my lower back, I can't touch my toes, or even get close (even with slightly bent knees) without it hurting. Other exercises which I can't do on account of this back pain include leg extension, leg curl, barbell squats, deadlifts (all variations), straight leg calf raises.
I also have some kind of sharp pain under my shin bones in my calf muscles. I think it's from the running so I've switched to the bike now, I think it'll heal up within a few weeks.
I've also got a mechanical problem with my right knee which I've had since young age. It sometimes seizes up and I can't bend it or extend it without getting a sharp 'clicking' pain under my knee cap. I have on occasion had to cancel doing squats for single days at a time because of this - although I never took squats out of a programme because of it. I'm not a t-shirt trainer, I have been training my legs, a lot: they account for a lot of my weight gains.

My overhead presses are about 40kg for 3x12 reps, my sit-down rows are about 55kg according to the machine. I was doing vertical rows on that bench that has a lot of space underneath at about 45kg 3x12. Bench press varies: 50,52.5,55kg for 3x12, 60kg for 4x8 reps, 42.5kg for 10x10 GVT.

8 feedings a day didn't last long, I think that was wishful thinking that I could keep it up. I'm on Easter holidays now so it will be a different story come next week. Also, I don't count calories in my day in terms of eating. I just keep track of what the machine tells me so I have a basis for consistency. You can't compare 35km on the bike with 8km on the treadmill... I should also mention - that evening walk I take I don't really count as cardio. It's just a bit of time to get some fresh air and gather my thoughts. I don't even try to measure how many calories it burns off.

So the obvious thing here is to get a programme and stick to it. Been getting really slack lately, no excuse for it. I also just saw another post on this forum similar to mine, but his was more specific about what he ate and he got reamed for saying he didn't eat vegetables. Just thought I'd clear it up - I do eat vegetables and I do get variety.


I thought that too before I cut down to sub 10 last summer. Just hold judgment about whether you think you're big enough or not until you've actually shed the fat. If you are happy with your size NOW, that means you are going to have to add 10-20lbs of muscle, if you also want the level of leanness you're after. Without adding muscle, while losing fat, you WILL get smaller. Hell, if you add 10lbs of muscle and lose 10 lbs of fat, you WILL get smaller.

P.S. I think you mean to say you don't train for aesthetics? Training for aesthetics implies you're primary focus is physique oriented, which would be inconsistent with everything else you've said.


For reference, here I am at exactly your height and weigh actually, but at 9% body fat (89 to 77 kg). Getting down to 9% body fat, you will be even smaller than this. If you're ok with that, then keep on!


If you are dead set of getting "sliced and diced" for this beach season, you are going to try it no matter what, but here are some thoughts:

1 - To get as lean as GSP is in the above picture you would have to lose about 20 pounds of pure fat, to get SHREDDED like you want to be, you would have to lose 30-35. I'm not kidding. And you will be MUCH less impressive since he has more muscle than you do. It takes a PHENOMENAL amount of dedication to get low in body fat, and judging by your posts, you dont have what it takes at this point, but so be it, here is the advice.

2 - If you have ANY long term plans for weight lifting (ie - You plan to do this for longer than just this summer and actually build an impressive physique one day) cut this bullshit out now, START READING about training and nutrition, AND START TRAINING TO GET STRONGER YOUR VERY NEXT WORKOUT. Any time wasted is just that, wasted. No one will be impressed by your physique if you lose 8 pounds of fat between now an June, you will looks slightly leaner, THATS IT. People WILL be impressed if you gain 30 lean pounds from now until next summer. Trust that.

3 - Again, this only applies if you have aspirations to have a well-above-average physique one day but you need to get your WEIGHT TRAINING in order, and your cardio plan is craziness. 75 minutes of "cardio" and then 30 minutes of weights? Try reversing that. ABSOLUTELY KILL THE WEIGHTS and then focus on the cardio. The weights will be your long term key to the physique you want, not long duration, boring as all hell cardio. You wonder why people cant stick to this long term? Its because they dont see results after HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of soul sucking cardio that gets them nowhere.

4 - CONSISTENCY. You keep making excuses about this, that, school, finals, injuries, blah, blah blah... GET IT DONE. Bottom line. If you are going to come to this forum and ask people who have been doing this for 10-15 years, who do this because we love it more than anything else we do, for advice, the bare minimum you owe them is to at least have the decency to not dick them around and actually be serious about this. If you aren't even serious enough to workout 3 lousy days a week, you are dead in the water already. Pick a new hobby.

I dont want to sound too harsh here, but you are asking about how to get in to an EXTREME condition (which you havent even set yourself up well to do) and yet you admit "I have gone to the gym often but I don't think I've managed to keep up with a proper programme for more than a week" - - - Brother, I've been in school with 23 units, with a 5 day a week job, with a family, with a girlfriend and gotten it done 5 days a week, every week. If you want it, you'll do it, its really that simple.

I've been where you are before, I've been the "Just want to get real lean for summer" guy... He doesnt make it. He doesn't get lean. He doesnt get big. He NEVER does, and he never goes anywhere. Trust me. Make a plan that will have you making progress for YEARS and then you can earn the right to look awesome.


bad exemple mrduckworth as clearly a better frame than your. He would look better than you shredded. but thats true you gonna look small.Im the same height than OP and look similar with less abs visible and if I cut, I look small in a T shirt. but if you just wanna look good at the beach and don't want to add more mass, why not?


I heart Lonnie. Duckworth, marinate on everything Lonnie wrote. Seriously.

First things first, dude, you're in much better shape than I expected. Nice work so far. And if you've gotten there with the training and diet you've been using, you should see some great progress when we implement the right tweaks.

What I was mainly trying to say was, as Lonnie alluded to, shooting just for maximum bodyfat loss without also caring about building lean muscle won't allow for the greatest long-term progress.

Yes, everyone has their own personal goals and I'm not one to try to persuade you to aim for something you don't really want. Just trying to give some perspective.

If your schedule is getting legitimately hectic, you might want to consider a lower volume/higher intensity routine, which helps to squeeze the most work from brief workouts, instead of doing half-hearted sessions whenever. However, that's not an excuse to copout and slack with the effort. If anything, training like this requires even more focus.

Tacking on some basic cardio immediately after the weights will promote more fat loss.

Injuries suck, and injuries to the spine suck more. You might want to start a thread in the Injuries and Rehab forum to just address these issues.

But this article might give you some ideas to get started, just be sure to take it easy when you start introducing mobility drills.

Could be simple shin splints. High rep tibialis raises (basically the opposite of a calf raise, with the resistance where your shoelaces would be) seem to help this.

Again, smart and consistent training will increase your strength and lean muscle.

I like this article for a simple step-by-step guide to designing a fat loss diet plan.


Re-read my OP. I said, if he DOESN'T PUT ON ANYMORE MUSCLE, and just keeps losing until he hits sub 10, he will be smaller.


He'll be so small all the girls at the beach will want to take him home... and put him on the dresser with the rest of the their dolls. He has absolutely no muscle to cut down to at this point, seriously.


Thanks for all the replies guys, I appreciate it.

To jskrabac:

I cut down to 8% body fat 2 years ago and by then I weighed just 65kg. Funnily enough - a lot of my friends from the gym who were bigger than GSP were actually jealous of my physique. But I was really dissatisfied with how much smaller I had got. It was the end of April so I decided I'd try and bulk again. I lost my six-pack and haven't seen it since. I'm currently one month into my cut down, and I'm not going to repeat my mistake. I know how much size I can expect to lose from a cut down. I've made my decision so I will stick with it. I was 83kg before this cut-down compared to my 73kg I was 2 years ago before that cut-down, so by my own standards I have done the necessary bulking, I think it's time I got lean again.

P.s. disappointed to see who you really are, I was enjoying that avatar ha, but you do look in good shape so well done for that.

To Lonnie123:
You have a very typical attitude as do a lot of the guys at my gyms, and also at my university. I go to Loughborough University, which is no.1 for sports in the UK. Everyone here is massive - everyone plays rugby, goes to the gym and has big muscles. Nobody stands out with big muscles here. People with visible abs do.
You say "No one will be impressed by your physique if you lose 8 pounds of fat between now an June",
which is very wrong. My girlfriend is 5ft3 (160cm) and slim, and I look like a tank next to her. I know it sounds silly, a little 12 stone guy on a bodybuilding website calling himself a tank, but I really do look stacked when we look into a mirror. Girls average at 5ft5 or thereabouts, and any girl that I'd be interested in would most probably be a lot smaller than me - and would probably be impressed with my size.

It may be the case that nobody can tell I lift weights if I'm wearing a large t-shirt, but I'm okay with that - what I really care about is when my top is off. I'd rather be that guy that surprises people when his top comes off with a ripped physique, rather than fill out a t-shirt - only to reveal a fat stomach at the moment of truth.

"If you aren't even serious enough to workout 3 lousy days a week, you are dead in the water already. Pick a new hobby. "
I workout with weights 5 days a week. When I said I don't stick with a programme for more than a week - I meant I don't necessarily do the same exercises, I don't keep track of what weights and reppage etc. Although as of today that changed - I got my notepad out. It's only in this last month that I've let cardio take priority over resistance - because I'm on holiday and I can afford to wake up as late as 9:30am and still go to the gym before breakfast with no hurry to get to work or whatever.

I am very determined to achieve what I want. I don't consider cardio to be soul sucking at all. I have the patience of buddha (provided I have my ipod). All it takes is to listen to some Rammstein, and I can sprint for minutes at a time if I want. Otherwise I'll listen to other music which gets me psyched for steady state cardio (Pendulum, Sub Focus, Prodigy). I enjoy it. I don't listen to music at any other time of the day. I look forward to waking up in the morning and doing energy systems work. I may be out of the ordinary because I can stick to doing cardio for hours. I can keep it up in the long term.

I am not making any excuses as to why I can't train. I didn't say exams were going to stop me, but my back injury certainly has. I used to look forward to deadlifting, as I was lifting 160kg (1 rep max), or sets of 120kg. It is not an excuse that I have a back injury, I have been doing physio and taking care with what exercises I have been doing.

My schedule isn't so busy that I can't make the time. This last month I have been off, so I have the time to do cardio 7 days a week and I have been taking advantage because I know I can't keep it up from the start of term. I will have to switch to HIIT energy systems, and I won't be able to keep that up every day.

To CC:
"What I was mainly trying to say was, as Lonnie alluded to, shooting just for maximum bodyfat loss without also caring about building lean muscle won't allow for the greatest long-term progress."

You're right. You're absolutely right, and if you read what I wrote to jskrabac you'll see the problems I occurred two years ago when I foccussed too much on maximum fat loss. You should assume I'm not going to repeat that - it's just difficult to convey that message through text when I'm writing about how much cardio I'm doing. So far I haven't lost any obvious muscle mass, but my stomach is a hell of a lot leaner. I am however going to find a good weights programme and stick to it. At the moment I think I'm going to start a 2 week arms programme that I once found on this website. If anyone has any reason why I shouldn't train just arms over the next 2 weeks please let me know, and have a good reason prepared. After the short arms burst I'll look into a proper 8 week programme involving all muscle groups.

and GTFOmypower rack: thanks, I think. Hard to decipher with that spelling but I think that was a compliment to me.

I really do appreciate all the replies. I was initially looking for extra 'hints and tips' such as: "use some HOT-ROX", or "try increasing your vitamin D intake" or some kind of little things that could give me that extra edge. Obviously I need to get a damn weights programme and stick to it. But I am definnitely 100% set on getting lean. What's impressive is totally subjective, and I personally think that being lean is much more impressive than having big muscles with a bulky stomach.

I would still appreciate any extra little tricks too.


You are creating a false dichotomy of being lean and small, and "having big muscles with a bulky stomach" - There is a 3rd option that you are not entertaining, which is "having big muscles and being shredded to the bone at the same time." ANYONE

I'm not saying you need to be 230 pounds in stage condition, what I am saying (and I probably didnt say it effectively the first time around) is that you would do yourself a favor if you buckled down on progressing on the WEIGHTS to keep your metabolism and musculature up, and lets your diet and cardio do the work of stripping fat away. There arent any tricks, its called hard work. You want the extra edge? Increase the intensity of your cardio. Increase the intensity you lift with. THATS the edge.


lol @ calling yourself a tank when compared to a 5'3 girl


Go to crossfit's website and enjoy being a small pussyburger

lol @ bulky stomach. clown


Four years on this site? Fuck.


lol I thought the grenades would have been tossed much sooner but here they come.


Funny how the ones acting like big shots on here have no photos uploaded. And as for that ugly belgian fuck - why have you gone to so much effort to hide your face out of all the pictures you've taken? It suggests itself that you're an ugly twat trying to compensate for two things by building big muscles. Good luck finding a normal sized girl to fuck you, I'm sure she's really attracted to that steroid bullshit you call a body while you waltz down the street acting like the fucking nuts because you fill out a t-shirt. Get real. Real men don't use their body to try and attract women. For me it's just an added bonus for my girlfriend to enjoy.

Lonnie you have good words and I appreciate that. I'll be heeding your advice. If all goes well, I'm gonna have a great time on my holidays. Heading to Cyprus, Portugal and who knows where else. And also, I think 150 minutes in the gym a day constitutes hard work. Maybe I've got my priorities wrong, but you can't deny the effort.


mduckworth... where are you from?


I wasnt ever intended to come across as denying the fact that you were putting the in the work, you certainly are logging the hours. I just saw (what I believe to be) a disconnect in the goals you were stating and the route you were taking to get there, possibly to the point of being counter productive.

I am also coming from a somewhat emotional point of view, because I have been where you are at:


The above photo is me several years ago when I first started out AFTER an "I just want to get shredded" diet and some really shitty training (NOT focused on gaining strength) - The more I dieted the smaller and smaller I looked.

I decided I needed to gain some size, so I did. I gained muscle and strength, but I got too fat, but then I was able to diet down (the before and after comparison is in my profile if you want to see how chunky I got), which resulted in the following look:


I think we can all agree that the addition of about 20-25 pounds of muscle was WELL worth the addition of a few pounds of fat for a year or so.

If you want to look like a slightly more toned up version of me in the first shot, keep on doing what you are doing. If you want to look BETTER than that I was simply trying to give you some advice and save you some frustration.

If I could go back and talk to ME from 6-7 years ago, I could be 2-3 years ahead of my current progress easily. I'm still learning and adapting my training. There is NOTHING worse than looking back at your life and realizing you wasted time doing something. Absolutely nothing.

In any event, I honestly do hope you reach whatever goals you are setting for yourself, and I am ready and willing to try and help you achieve them along with many others on this site.


The comments you made about Bonez are alittle uncalled for man. Alot of people don't post their face. This is a physique website we aren't concerned with peoples faces. Also just because someone is big and doesn't have a big gut doesn't mean they've taken steroids. You sound like most smaller guys whom don't understand the hard work and dedication that goes into becoming a big strong dude.

I wish you the best of luck but you were the one asking questions expect to get bashed for your different goals, but don't bash back or your not going to get much help.