T Nation

Cutting Last Year's Weight, Up Calories Yet?


I have been cutting the eccess weight I gained last year. I've currently dropped somewhere about 35 pounds. While I could lose some more my question is this. Should I switch to a caloric surplus diet and add some muscle and go on another shorter diet? this diet ends in about 3 weeks and its a total of about 17 weeks long. My muscle retention has been great but every day I'm on my diet I feel like I'm missing opportunities to increase my size. My fault for getting so far out of shape. Just looking to get some opinions. I feel conflicted.


Hopefully you have a lot of muscle because gaining more than 35lbs of excess fat in a year is WAAAAAAY too high.

As far as switching up your focus and trying to gain muscle... What are your current stats? What are your goals?


My problem was the rebound effect. I have an issue with sugary goodness, and BBQing way too often. I'm currently a carb depleted upper 180's. although this is light for me I still get compliments. My overall goal is muscle but muscle without definition is pointless. Last year I went on a strict contest style diet, because I planned on competeing. This year just improving my body comp. Because I've been dieting I can get a surge by switching back to gaining. After maybe 16 weeks go back on a mini cutting diet to maximize both training effects.


@Greene Machine:

I recommend you read Shelby Starnes' articles (all of them) in order at least 2-3 times. All you answers are in there. The rebound effect is likely less than you think and easy to overdo, especially if you have issues with control (your words). At least you know and accept your issues, that is an excellent start. On to Shelby:


If you need clarification after reading the articles, try asking in his livespill with the closest topic:


If that doesn't work for you, of course come back here.


wow, really, wow. why is it if your new to a forum everyone thinks your an idiot? I asked for an opinion.


Actually I didn't think you were an idiot, quite the opposite.

Shelby's articles will explain how to optimize your approach to maximize your gains and minimize fat gain, or rather lose fat without losing muscle.

The reason I asked you to read them 2-3 times is because this is how many times I read them to get them to sink in. Perhaps I am slow.

You are the one who can't decide to bulk or cut. Why are you asking strangers their opinion. Are you seeking accomplices if you fail?

There are gems in those articles that will probably answer your question of what is better for you not just for the next couple weeks, but for the long run. I also tried to help you get directly in touch with the top diet/nutrition physique coach on this site right now for free advice.

The reason I said in order is that there is a definite building of theory and application and the repeated reading would make that clearer as you got to re-digest the information.

I tried to leave it up to you to decide, but obviously my support for bulk or cut is more important to you. Sorry I cannot validate your query, I certainly don't think you to be an idiot, but I think your attitude explains your lack of dietary control and your insecurity as to what to do. In no way was I then or now being facetious.

Have you even considered that maybe I was once in shoes similar to yours and perhaps understand your dilemma? I gave you my opinion, you didn't like it. Would you care to try again?

BTW if you can lose more, you are in no position to take advantage of any serious rebound effect. I wish you luck in your endeavor.

Without prejudice, Pete


I guess I took it the wrong way, by no means did I mean disrespect. I read everything on this site. Shelby is very good at what he does. I dont post much and just from past if you start everyone just assumes the worst. My dilemma is simple. I want muscle but I lost all control last year for some reason. I have a vacation coming up and will be with family. Was thinking of using a different strategy this year and using mini burst cylces of adding and subtracting the weight for a better package. I will re-read his spills to gain a better foothold. I have no plans of competing soon, the dieting process is rough even when it makes the appearance better. I'm no stranger to the game. Sometimes, just sometime someone will say something that'll ring as "crap why didn't I think of that."


Thank you, I hope I pushed the right buttons. Shit happens too us all and sometimes we fall into stupid traps emotionally and they affect much in many ways.

Your best strategy is to come up with a stable base diet that can be easily modified for a hardcore cut or a lean bulk. This is basically the old animal protein, healthy fats, veggies, and clean carbs added after lifting. Then breakfast is the next step, then possibly a little at other meals.

You would do better to get lean as possible, then slowly work back up. Since summer is coming anyway, the leaning out (not so much cutting full blown) is a good strategy.

You wrote spills, but I want you to read the articles, the spills are good, but use those to interact. Certainly come back here to fine tune if you want.

As for the insecurities bit, this is something CT mentioned in a recent spill. I hope you take my blunt highlighting of attitude and effects as a friendly reminder not an attack. I certainly won't claim I am above such faults (though like many, often I would like to believe so and am probably lying).

For example my own situation when I started was I wanted to gain 20-30 pounds LBM and lose 10 pounds fat. Instead I got caught up in powerlifting and getting bigger. This is silly because my main sport activity is windsurfing, particularly wave sailing - down the line and jumping. I didn't stick to my personal goals and let others' ideas lead my actions.

Anyways, study the articles, and when in doubt keep it simple. In time you will surpass what you thought you could achieve. Focus your energies on the rest of life, go with the flow and enjoy the ride.