T Nation

Cutting and Manual Labor


This is my first time to do a serious cutting phase. I started at 195 two years ago around 20% body fat. im now 220 lbs 19.9%

i decided to do a cutting phase b/c i spend 4-5 hours a day using a chain saw which burn lots of calories.

ive been eating 5000 calories a day before i started doin the manual labor.

my diet and daily routine look like this right now

7:00 protein/carb/creatine

7:30 lift heavy 3 day split rep

8:45 2 tbl spoons extra virgin olive oil, 6 egg whites, 4 whole eggs, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 6 oz blueberries

11:15 4 0z of almonds

1:30pm 2 whole wheat tortillas, 6 oz of chicken, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 lime
1/2 cup of brown rice, 6oz of chicken and some terriaki sauce

7:00pm 6 oz wild salmon, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 lime

9:00pm 6oz buffalo or grass fed beef. with some veggies

3+gallons of water.

comes out to 287g protein, 145g carbs and 176g fat with 3360 calories total

i know it seems like to much fore a cutting phase but 4-5 hours outside in 95 degree heat is draining.

anyone ever cut while working a labor intensive job? and what type of lifting worked best to hold onto muscle?



heres a link to my pics


DO NOT start cutting until you have experienced the effect(s) of your job on your metabolism. Honestly 4-5 hours on a chainsaw in the heat COULD create a large enough caloric deficit that your "bulking diet" is sufficient for cutting. Slowly start scaling things back once you find how many kcals you need to maintain your weight while engaged in manual labor.

In terms of lifting while working a labor intensive job, while cutting I would decrease volume over intensity. If your performance drops or you start getting some type of nagging pain/injury be smart, adjust your training (specific exercises, form, volume) and analyze what might be the cause.


i deal with this too. i work outside 8 hours a day 5-7 days a week, granted its not INTENSE physical activity, its been around 90-100 degrees for the past 3 weeks where i live. i am typically walking or doing light repetitive activitys through out the day. i drink ALOT of water, and appear bloated (to myself) this led me to think i was gaining weight. i started to restrict my carbs and calories. after this went on for about 2 weeks i realized i was losing a noticeable amount of muscle. and feeling like SHIT. i upped the carbs for breakfast and lunch, snacks kept as protein. this helped alot. i find i can eat about 4000-5000 cals a day without gaining fat. im actually cutting and have had significant progress on this amount. keeping all carbs am/lunch/and preworkout.


Did you just start doing this manual labor? Summer job? If not, how long have you been doing it?

Have you lost any weight? Scale weight? Noticeable muscle loss?

Are you lifting three days per week? I assume no cardio as of yet.

Are you recovering between workouts?

How is your energy during the rest of the day?

I'd switch around the 1:45 pm meal with the 8:45 am meal. Not sure that it will make a huge difference overall, but sandwiching your workouts between two carb containing meals can't hurt.

If you feel you need more carbs (due to poor performance in the gym, lack of mental focus, loss of energy during the day, etc). I'd add in another small serving at the second whole food meal post workout.

You want to keep your cals (and carbs) as high as possible in the beginning of a cut, while still losing body fat. You need the energy both in and out of the gym, and if you cut cals too quickly, you have no wiggle room to work with. AND before you even cut cals the first time, you'd want to increase exercise volume slightly, for the very same reason.

Of course, if you can afford the Anaconda Protocol, that would change the whole game for you. I'm on my feet 6-8 hours per day, and was training in the gym 6 days per week at a very high intensity during my last cut. I noticed as soon as I implemented the AP, my workouts improved, and my recovery and performance outside of my workouts improved dramatically.

You may also want to look into the use of a couple of other neural inhibiting supplements and adaptogens:
1. Phophotidyl serine (Poliquin Brand is one of the better ones)
2. Glycine (especially if you're keeping your overall carb intake low) (Poliquin Brand)
3. Rhodiola (Biotest)

Hope this helps. Good luck


definatly no cardio, but i walk back from class for a good 15 minute nepa walk! And i just started this job for the summer and work monday through friday and used to lift 7 days a week while bulking, but prob stick to 5 days lifting on work days and some stongman stuff on the weekends, if im recovering well enough. and i would love to be able to train after i get a good carb meal in but i have class from 9;30 to 1 and work is from 2-7 but on weekends ill be able to get my workout after some meals

i have lost no scale weight, but look a lil leaner in the mirror. My intensity has not suffered at all in gym but i went sub 75g carbs for 2 days and then stated the job and nearly fainted the first day. terrible idea when cutting down trees holding a spinning blade near your wheels....that is when i added tortillas right before i start work and added more blueberries.

I will definatley look into those supliments and im making alright money and spending $75 less a week at the grocery store so i can afford the anaconda but havent read up on it much. i just always spend my money on food and have only used creatine and caffeine as supplements.

I dont know if i should cycle my carbs whether to lower the carbs throughout the week and carb up on weekends or if i should keep carbs
where they are at and go really low/keto on the weekends? i will leave them where their at for now and see how my body responds.

i make all my own food and dont eat out so if you know some recipes that i could substitute in in my meal plan just let me know.

My goal is 10% and which means i need to get down to 194 and lose no muscle.


One thing to think about, as I discovered it recently myself, is with protein being your major % macro your body will be more likely to use it as a fuel source. That's not optimal. I suggest upping carbs and lowering protein, around 40/40 instead the 50/30 or so that you have it now.


why did you up the carbs and not fat?


you aren't doing ketosis so why would you up the fat? That would be pointless. Carbs are the bodies preferred energy source.