T Nation

Cutting & I Think I'm Losing Muscle

Guys I’ve got a huge problem. I?ve been cutting since May 16, 2007 (about 3 and a half weeks) and I?ve apparently LOST 4.53 pounds of MUSCLE! My stats (I?m 5?9 btw) were as follows:

May 16 2007: Weight= 210 lbs LM= 166.53 lbs Fat= 43.47 lbs 20.7% Body fat
June 6 2007: Weight=200 lbs LM= 162 lbs Fat= 38 lbs 19.0% Body fat

As you can see, in the 3 ? weeks I?ve been cutting, I?ve lost 5.47 pounds of fat and 4.53 pounds of muscle! I thought the body fat measurement was done wrong (it?s the electronic shit they stick on your arm, not calipers), but I had them do it 5 times and it was the same. I figured it might be water weight or something but I just measured my arms, they are BOTH ? inch thinner than before I started to cut!

Now let me explain my exercise routine and diet. First off, I train my heart out in the gym. I think this intensity might be hurting my cutting phase, as I?m expending too many calories. Ok so let me breakdown my routine. I train 5 times a week (Mon-Fri), Mon, Wed, Fri being Upper Body, and Tues, Thurs Lower Body. For Upper Body I do:

Bench press 195 10 205 9-7-7
Incline Dumbbell Press (70) 10-10-10
Elbow-In Dips (25) 10-10-10
Decline Benchpress (135) 10 (155) 10-10
Pull Ups - 10-10-10
Bent-over Rows (185) 10-10 (195) 10
Military Press (95) 10-10-10
Shoulder Shrugs (245) 10-10-10
Preacher Curls (85) 10-10-10
Duration: 1 h 25 minutes

On Wednesday I substitute Military Press for Close-Grip Bench press and on Friday its Neutral Grip Dumbell Press. Also once a week I do Flat Dumbbells instead of Benchpress and Incline Benchpress instead of with Dumbbells. I think I should cut out some exercises and decrease the reps, but then it would feel like I?m doing LESS work, if you guys know what I mean? For Lower Body I do the following:

Deadlift (275) 10 (295) 10 (315) 5-5
ATG Front Squats (135) 10 (185) 10-10
Box Back Squats (225) 10 (275) 10-10
Duration: 40 minutes

On Lower Body Days I run right after I finish working out for fifteen minutes. My muscle is primarily in my lower body, and back (hence the emphasis on my shitty chest and arms).

As for my diet, its basically JB?s Precision Nutrition. I used to eat 5 meals (first week of cutting) a day, now its four. I consume about 2000-2200 calories. My macronutrient breakdown is about 40% protein, 45% fat and 15% carbs (I consume three Protein Fat meals and one Protein Carb meal-the Protein Carb meal immediately after working out). The other source of carbs is all the veggies I eat, about 5 servings a day. I use creatine (5g a day) and that?s it. I?ve ordered some HOT-ROX and so I?ll start using that when it arrives.

I?ve read some inspirational stories of successful cutting phases (Dave Tate, Christian Thibaudeau, JB on Get Shredded) and I just want to have a successful cut. I?ve been working my ass off the last 8 months bulking (according to measurements, I?ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, though of course that number is far lower once the water retention is eliminated) and it sucks to see all my progress melting before my eyes.

I?m not sure if it?s the low calories, long workouts, or cardio. In addition, tomorrow I?m restarting my muay thai (kickbocking) classes and I?ll be doing that three times a week (I guess this should count as my cardio?)! I feel like reducing the duration of my workouts, but then I?d feel like I?m becoming weaker, if you guys understand what I mean. The main thing that is frustrating are my shrinking arms, both half an inch less in circumference (while at the same time, my leg measurements have remained the same).

So T-brothers, what should I do? Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

First–

2000-2200 calories is starving yourself. Of course you are losing muscle, because you sure as hell can’t build any at that caloric level with that level of activity.

Second–

less is more!

Cutting is about getting your diet tight, not burning yourself out with 2 hour workouts. And I don’t care where you think you carry all of your muscle, work your legs more than your arms and chest. At 20% bodyfat, I wouldn’t worry so much about finetuning anything. I would get my diet in order and work out reasonably so your body has the ability to recover. Now, it doesn’t. Your constantly catabolic and it it thwarting your goals.

My plan–

Workout 3-5 days a week depending on what fits you, BUT watch your volume at each workout. If you are bound and dtermined to work your chest 3 times a week–vary the exercises and limit each workout to one tough set etc…

Cardio should be done on non-workout days. I can’t see an efective HIIT after squats and deads. OH, and forget the ATG nonsense.

Diet needs to be much better. You need at least 50% more calories. Unless you have a medical condition, you are simply eating muscle to store fat given that workout with that caloric consumption.

What do you mean ATG nonsense? Let me guess, you don’t do ATG because you either can’t or you want to put those extra 10’s on the barbell to impress the other people in the weight room. Your opinion doesn’t make it nonsense.

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
What do you mean ATG nonsense? Let me guess, you don’t do ATG because you either can’t or you want to put those extra 10’s on the barbell to impress the other people in the weight room. Your opinion doesn’t make it nonsense. [/quote]

You’re right–you know so much about me.

My comment was actually about the term not the physical action. When I say squat–proper form is implied. I don’t need the describer. Usually, only those that feel inadequate need to sensationalize their effort. Like you.

#1 are you getting weaker?? If no likly your holding on to much of the muscle it may not be full glycogen packed and hydrated but if you aint to keep strength then your golden

If preservation of LBM is priority slow it down 1 lb a week maybe tow nice and slow Hit HEAVY recover

Phill

At your bf% I would be inclined to say forget about cutting. What you need to do is to lift with a sensible balance of intensity and volume. Check out Hanley’s Sheiko: a Log thread on the Strength Sports forum. He is eating everything that is not nailed down, putting on weight and STILL losing fat. You could do the same.

[quote]Smooth_Serb wrote:
June 6 2007: Weight=200 lbs LM= 162 lbs Fat= 38 lbs 19.0% Body fat

I consume about 2000-2200 calories.

So T-brothers, what should I do? [/quote]

Eat more, fool!

Read this, too:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=811783

[quote]Smooth_Serb wrote:
As you can see, in the 3 ? weeks I?ve been cutting, I?ve lost 5.47 pounds of fat and 4.53 pounds of muscle! I thought the body fat measurement was done wrong (it?s the electronic shit they stick on your arm, not calipers), but I had them do it 5 times and it was the same. I figured it might be water weight or something but I just measured my arms, they are BOTH ? inch thinner than before I started to cut!
[/quote]

Aren’t these electronic bady fat measurements fairly inaccurate since they are dependent on how hydrated you are?

Why not get a more accurate measurement from the people at your gym (or by some calipers) so that you can track the BF% change?

Next, don’t panick.