T Nation

Current Cutting Diet Plan, Help/Suggestions


Ok so I've been power lifting for about a year and a half now and right now I�¢??m currently working through a low back hip injury which prevents me from squatting and am doing a bodybuilding (hypertrophy based) routine while the recovery process is taking place (chiropractor/cold laser treatment/PT).I figured why not take this time to focus on cutting down from the 242 class to the 220 class (I also want to look decently lean). below is a sample of my current diet. I'll break down the macros and take it meal by meal. Basically the premise of the diet is to put myself in a caloric deficit. Everyday I try and consume about three square meals not including pre and post workout shakes/drinks.

(these macros are all based on my average day, some days I either go a tiny bit over or under. also my meals are very consistent, I usually eat the same meals everyday for about a week). I'm going to attempt to be as precise as possible with this lol.

Protein: 200-250g
Carbs:120-150g(almost all are complex carbs)
Water intake: 1-1.5 gallons a day.

calories: 1,800-2,000 a day.

Meal 1(9-10am): 1 cup broccoli, 1-1/12 cups egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 wheat flour breaded chicken filet.

Meal 2(12-2pm): 5-7 oz. of unbreaded swai(fish) filet, 1 cup brown rice, 1-2 cups of some type of vegetable.

Meal 3(6-8pm): 8 oz. of chicken breast, 1 cup of either brown rice, whole wheat pasta or a small russet potatoe.


post-workout: 1-2 scoops of whey with water

between meals 2 and 3 or after meal 3(either 4 or 5pm or 9:30-10pm before bed): 2 scoops of whey, 1 cup of egg whites.

Training: my work outs are usually higher intensity with shorter rest intervals and I usually incorporate HIIT cardio, prowler sprints, or do a little light walking afterwards. on my off days I also try to maybe get out and go for a walk or do the bike for 15-20 minutes.

In conclusion i've already lost about ten lbs. in the first 2 weeks on this diet but last time I weighed in I didn't lose shit which kind of frustrates and confuses me. Any input is greatly appreciated and all considerations and tips will be taken into account. I don't come from a bodybuilding background and weight loss is kind of a whole different spectrum which i'm starting to delve into so please, let me know if this plan is solid. also I WILL be updating this to let you guys know how i am progressing. Thanks guys


I would HIGHLY recommend re-assessing this caloric total initially, and working "down" from a higher amount. Ultimately, you know your body best, but without knowing how truly lean you already are it's hard to make a formal recommendation. I started at 3,000/day at the beginning of my diet and am down to <1600 on most days at this point. Depending on your body type, you might be surprised by how many calories you either can/cannot get away with when dieting. Regardless of this, I don't think starting at 2,000 kcal for someone who's a decent 240 is a good idea. (Not sure if you're actually a decent 240 or not, congrats if so.)

This really doesn't make any sense. Can you possibly please re-type this exactly as the timeline falls so we can see what you're eating/when you're eating it. When cutting dietary timing and precision is 100% of the battle. Any jackass can do cardio all day.

Also, you had better learn to fend off those cravings for sugar at night really fucking fast. And cravings in general. As I mentioned above, I truly don't know you or your body types but I've known very, very few (...if any...) who could pull something off like fruit at night when trying to actually have a successful cut.

Sounds like a lot of weight, a little quickly. Which probably means a few things... you're fattish, and have more weight to lose than you think you do. Or, in more likelihood, that 2,000 calories is just nowhere near close to enough to be consuming within the beginning of the diet.

I'd love to help you out more but there's some pertinent information missing at this point.

Also... no reason for specifics or anything conclusive, but will there be any "helpful cutting supplements" used for this?

Also, any actually good cutting supplements (BCAA, HumaPro, et al) used?

Ever head of Intermittent Fasting? Mountain Dog eating?


meal timing is updated as per request. as far as my weight goes now i'm about 235 and i'm about 18% body fat (caliper test one inch above hip bone). i've noticed from looking back at my caloric intake record that my calories fluctuate between anywhere from 1,300 to 2,000. I don't know why I have a day as low as 1,300 but I do for some odd reason. do you think i would benefit more from progressively cutting my intake down from 2,000 every week? if so how much of a difference would need to be dropped each week. also as of now the only supplements im taking now are just a multivitamin every other day, fish oils, caffeine, dmaa (for school). nothing specifically for cutting. i don't put too much faith into "fat burners".


Alright, gotcha.

Yeah, I would take whatever your maintenance is, start slightly below that, and move down a couple hundred basically every week. Should be pretty easy for it to melt off initially. I can't really say for sure, because I know everyone's different, but I usually like to make at least a 150 or so calorie jump downwards when reducing my calories, although it may only be a 100 or as high as 200 sometimes, it just depends.

I wouldn't discount fat-burners. Hopping on something as low-and-slow as an ECA stack can and will make a difference. HOT-ROX is actually pretty legit last time I had it, although it's been some time. Plus, although it may seem easy now when you start getting down there in BF% it does become a mental game. Some fat-burners really help to stunt the appetite, which I personally find to be crucial since I have a huge one.


yeah i'm with you on the whole appetite thing. my appetite is normally good through out the day but right before bed i get cravings for the craziest shit, mostly sugar based foods. i'm gonna try experimenting with a appetite suppressant at night and see if that helps me out at all, to be honesty i think the food cravings at night are metabolic. for as long as i can remember i've always been a night eater lol. anyway thanks for your help. i'll update this week by week and let you know how i'm progressing


here's some ideas.


im at 240ish now (down from 251-255) and still dropping lbs/body fat at 2800-3400 cals a day.

everyone is different but i find it hard to believe your maintenance is roughly 2000 cals a day.


so do you agree i should be taking in around 2,300-500 and progressively cut it down from there?


I think that maybe eat at maintenance for a month or so then make a 20% decrease

I also think you should be pretty consistent with your calories from day to day and the only differences really should be off days or days you go light in the gym.

I also think for someone your bf level that 2500 cals doesn't leave you a lot of room to work with. meaning your first decrease may be 500 cals or so, but then after the next couple decreases you'll be eating as much as a school girl and probably unsatisfied with your body fat level.

but i am no cutting guru I too am learning through trial and error right now.


Your goal being that you want to compete in powerlifting at 220 should play a big role in the diet plan you choose. It is of utmost importance that you have a clear objective so that you don't end up taking two steps forward and one step back.

If your set on the goal of plifting and looking decently lean (which IMO when you're at 18% can be synonymous depending on what you define as "descently lean") certain things need to be taken into consideration given
your timeframe (time to rehab injury and get ready for meet) that you should seek the help of the powerlifters and use that information to come up with a diet plan.

"and as of late n I didn't lose shit which kind of frustrates and confuses me."

the short answer to why is energy homeostasis. Very simple but yet very complex. You're going to be in a battle with your body as long as you're not feeding it what it wants. After the first few lbs. after the initial non fat loss your body is like wtf is going on this has to stop and will make changes some which you can tell (hungry at night) and many other ones you can't always tell.

Although it may seem counterintuitive as has been pointed out the extreme caloric restriction plan you were following was not helping you overcome your body's resistance to change. As kind of a general guideline you should never eat less than 10 X your weight in calories on any day since doing so will significantly decrease the energy your body uses all day.

I know it's hard not be a creature of habit and it's hard to have time to come up with food selections but eating the same meals every day and the same calories every day may not be the best route to take once again to overcome your body's resistance to decreasing your fat stores. Think of losing fat = beating your body which is hard to do because your body is built from a blueprint that has been changing since the beginning of whatever to make sure that you are able to survive and reproduce. Losing energy storage is not something that your body is just going to let you do since losing fat is not good for survival and having sex takes a lot of energy. It's also hard to beat your body since it does things to you involuntarily while you can't do anything to it involuntarily since your brain is part of your body. But your body is also part of you so doesn't really make sense but I think it makes sense kind of. Eating same meals and not changing calories may not be ideal since after a while your body is able to anticipate that you are not going to feed it what it wants and is going to be using the shit out of its feedforward homeostatic mechanisms and takes precautionary measures to ensure it loses the minimum amount of energy (fat) even before you eat. And the longer you keep doing the same thing the more efficient the mechanisms your body uses to resist fat loss are. So even when you are sleeping your body is saying to itself oh shit this vain fucker is not going to give me what I want when he wakes up tomorrow let me do something to hold on to this precious energy. Something IMO that would be more ideal especially in beginning stages of regressing caloric plan diet(like the one suggested) would be to let's say your target daily calorie range is X. Take 7X calories and distribute them unevenly throughout the week with no day being less than 10 X calories with many peaks and valleys. This way your body will now know what you are going to do so you are kind of "tricking" it and you are beating it out of some of its feedforward mechanisms. The longer you diet and monitor the more things you will be able to do to essentially "trick" your body into letting you lose fat and with some things you will be amazed.
Dieting doesn't have to be as daunting as it is made out to be if you think about it like an experiment where you are the subject where as cheesy and queer as it may sound you are getting more in touch with yourself.


you kinda lost me on the "with no day being less than 10 x calories with many peaks and valleys" part. so are you saying basically have my amount of calories that i want to eat in a week, lets just go ahead and say that number is 17,500, but i should have everyday be different. for example 2,800 one day and the next day 2,300(or less maybe). am i right? btw i appreciate your input. what you said about the whole SAID(specific adaptations to imposed demands) principle made good sense.


yes, an option you could consider is what you said with the important part
being that the minimum daily calorie count being your body weight multiplied
by 10....varying the daily calorie count as much as you can.......
based on the numbers you listed that you might be thinking about averaging
2500 cals/day...............
(starting out at such low calories may be too aggressive of an approach
I'm sure that you worked really hard to gain the muscle that you have 230
at 18% that's more LBM than most people weigh with such an aggressive plan
and a high body weight high energy demand it is guaranteed that you will
lose a lot of muscle by the time you get the reasonable leanness you are
looking for doesn't matter if you drink liquid egg whites/olive oil/quinoa
shakes your energy demand at 230 is too high)
(i would suggest possibly rethinking your whole approach to your diet
if you crave sugary food at night means you might have been making poor
food choices; another option you might want to consider is carb cycling approach
so that you try to change the type of fuel you run on before buying an expensive
(muscle costing) tune-up)
something to think about


varying daily calorie content. do you mean like calorie cycling.

something like
day 1-2 (2500)
day 3-4 (2800)
day 5 (2300)

and maybe cycling a combination of those (i just picked random numbers.)


well the way "thefreshmanverve" described it, it sounds like calorie cycling. I looked up my caloric maintainence (took into acount my activity level, gender, height & wt. etc. and it says its about 2,900 (which i take with a grain of salt because that seems like a lot to me lol). do you think it would be beneficial to do this: eat around 2,900 on training days and then maybe drop down to about 2,200-2,400 on my off days?


i dont know how many calories you need man I do know that i weighed 241-242ish this morning and im eating 3400 on 2 of my lift days, 3100, on my other 2 lift days and on my off day im eating 2800

but this is because im using the carb cycling codex article on this site in combination with 16/8 leangains fast


yeah, i was considering giving carb cycling another go. how is it working for you?


calorie cycling makes sense especially at a relatively higher daily calorie intake
where you have more room between your daily average intake of calories and the minimum
amount of calories needed to be consumed.
the minimum amount should be set per individual and how aggressive of a diet plan they
want to follow...... 10 X bodyweight minimum is for more of a conservative plan and can be scaled down
to 10 X target body weight for more of an aggressive approach.
and if you wanted to get real creative you can cycle cycles.

most important do yourself a favor and whatever you do keep 6 or more servings of fruits and veggies a day a constant


i mean its early i've been taking a moderate approach with it, but im down 9 or 10lbs in 5ish weeks. i haven't dropped cals again yet though.


yeah thats not a problem my vegetable intake is always good (kale, spinach, broccoli, pears etc) or sometimes i just blend them into a shake. im definitely gonna give the calorie cycling a go. sounds like the best thing for me as of now and i'll maybe cycle carbs a bit here and there. thanks a lot btw for your help


are your calories for the most part consistent though? on high and low days.


i gave you a link to my thread,

back/bi -3400

legs -3100

off -2800