T Nation

Cutting Anomaly


I have an interesting predicament with my cutting cycle. I will try and make this as flame proof as possible, but if you think my concerns are too minor just ignore this (very long) thread.

Using the following routine I managed to drop from 15.6% bf to 11.7% bf while continuing to make strength gains.

2 Servings HOT-ROX Max Str.
7650 milligrams BCAA's
1 fat for every 2 carbs and protein
170 grams protein
1800 calories
Fat cals from Flax, Sunflower, Olive and/or Canola oils.
70%-75% Morning Cardio 40 minutes

Once I reached 11.7% I decided to hold there for a week and then slowly drop it by 1/10th of a percent per week (because I reached my goal almost 4 weeks too early). After 5 days of holding the same weight and bf%, my bf% went UP by 1/10 of a percent. I figured it was a fluke and maybe had something to do with water retention or something. Then 3 days later I dropped a pound and went up another 1/10 of a percent. At this point I am figuring this is enough evidence to believe I wasn't intaking enough protein. The next day I lowered my carbs and upped my protein. I have a really good idea of what it takes to gain a pound, and I stuffed myself with cottage cheese and broccoli all day long in hopes of gaining 2 or at least 1lb simply by eating a lot more than normal and eating right before bed. To my surprise I lost another half a pound and my bf% was reading 2/10th even higher!

I know this may sound petty, but I record enough data to believe this is more than just a fluke. I've come to the conclusion that either...


I am losing water weight from lowering carbs after a week of maintenance, and the method of gauging body fat is off because of this water loss.



I am losing muscle mass from my body either going into starvation mode, or my workout routine becoming less effective.

I am confused because my numbers in the gym are continuing to go up. Either this is some sort of placebo effect and I am cheating to make gains without realizing it (which I doubt), or, if it is even possible, my muscles are adapting to do more with less. (I managed to set a personal record of 325lb deadlift WHILE my data was telling me I was loosing muscle)

Either way I have changed my routine and going to see how it affects my data.

2 Servings HOT-ROX Ultimate
11475 milligrams BCAA's
1 fat and carb for every 2 protein
250 grams protein
2000 or slightly more calories
Fat cals from Flax, Fish, Sunflower, Olive and/or Canola oils.
60%-65% Morning Cardio 55 minutes

My goal here is to hold in the mid 11% bf range for a few more weeks at which point I will start a dramatic bulking phase. But as the numbers and even the mirror are telling me, I am setting myself up for 12.5%-13% bf if I cant make some sort of positive change in my routine (again, this may seem minor to some, but it is important to me that I reach my goal). I have also considered carbing up for a few days before I start in on the above rotune if I don't see some sort of minuet change for the better in the next day or so.


The bodyfat number is completely pointless. Use the mirror to judge your progress or get someone to take pictures weekly of you and make comparisons that way. The scale is really not a good way to measure much either. I weigh everyday at the gym primarily to make sure I am keeping up my water intake. If I don't drink enough one day I could be down 2 or 3 pounds the next day. Use the mirror, keep busting ass, and it will come.


You are guaging your progress on a 1/10th of a percent of Body Fat? Most calipers, even digital claim to be withing 3% of your actual bodyfat either direction.

Stop obsessing over that minute of an increment. That can be affected by too many factors to even get concerned about. Weight will flucuate daily. Give yourself at least two weeks before you make a judgement and start changing plans around.



Regarding BCAA's, Poliquin recommends .44 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, which would be about 41 grams per day for a 200-pound guy. He says if you can't afford that, take 20 grams per day at a bare minimum, or otherwise don't bother. (He's referring to a leucine/isoleucine/valine combo). He recommends taking them before and throughout your workout.


I try and intake the same foods and drinks on a daily basis and measure myself at the same time every day (first thing in the morning). I figured it could very well be a fluke fluctuation, but I would've liked to see some more variation instead of a steady upward slope in inverse proportion to my weight loss. Even if this is a fluke, I can see ways I can make my plan more efficient.

I'll try upping my bcaa amount even more. I thought I was taking a lot because I was taking 3 times the dosage on the bottle, but I have a bunch and can easily order more.

By comparing the 2 plans, I personally believe that the 2nd plan couldnt do any harm. Would anyone disagree?


Are you using a bioimpedance scale? The other guys are right, you shouldn't be obsessing over a 1/10 of a percent.

I use a bioimpedance scale made by Tanita and the numbers are all over the place. I track the percentage on my diet log just so I have a general idea of where I'm at. Here were the readings for the past 3 mornings as soon as I wake up:

MON: 8.4% 185.0lbs
TUE: 9.1% 181.6lbs
WED: 8.6% 180.2lbs

After a 7-9 mile run at night, I'll check the scale to see how much water weight I may have lost during the run and the BFP reading will be in the 5% range. After drinking a bunch of fluids, I'm back to the 8-9% range.

With that being said, I don't put much value in the BFP reading on a bioimpedance scale. It should be used to give you a general idea of your BFP. The scale says I'm in the 8-9% range but the mirror says I'm around 12%.


Yeah, at least in part the machine I use must be reading wrong. Even though I am seeing a steady lean loss according to the machine, it is over 6lbs in less than 2 weeks which I don't even think is possible. I know it isn't possible to loose that much and still perform well in the gym. Even so, 14 days of data should show some progress. Machine or no machine, I can visually see I am pleaued. I'll start eating more cals and more protein and see if I cant get that dang machine to register something in the opposite direction.