T Nation

Cutting the Right Way?


Can someone give me an Idiot's Guide for cutting? I'm sure there are right ways to do it and wrong ways.

I don't compete and don't plan to, but would like to be in "competition shape" by the end of July. I'm currently bulking.

The only thing to add is that I'd prefer not to use any suppliments to do it, mainly because I don't want to spend the money on them ,and that I'll likely do 2-5 hours a week of cardio mainly because I enjoy it in the summer.

  1. Weigh yourself

  2. Make sure you know what your typical day looks like in terms of calories/macronutrients

  3. Take off a portion of calories (a big portion from carbs, for example, if you've been eating 3500 calories on your bulk, than consider starting your cut at 2750 to 3000 calories)

  4. Re-weigh yourself in one week (how you do this is up to you, I prefer daily weigh ins used to take a weekly average, which helps account for fluctuations)

  5. Assess: a) If you lost 1 to 1.5 pounds, keep everything the same for the next week
    b) If you lost less than 1 pound, maybe knock calories back a small amount, 100 calories
    c) If you didn't lose weight, knock calories back a larger amount, 250 calories
    d) If you lost more than 1.5 pounds, you may want to add back in some calories

  6. Keep in mind that the first week or two of a diet you will likely lose larger amounts (as much as 3 to 5 pounds that first week). These guidelines are for after the initial 1 to 2 weeks.


Fundamentals of fatloss part 1 and 2 by lyle mcdonald is a good source IMO.

I like the carb cycling codex that CT wrote on this site too. (not super basic but very basic carb cycling)

EDIT: reading Lyle's articles first will make CT's carb cycling codex easier to understand the minor details like whether you should base macro's off of entire bodyweight or lean body mass.


i like this post and obviously you seem very efficient at getting to extremely low bf% by your display pic.

one thing though. I just started cutting around the 6th of Jan. I've noticed that there was a two week span that i stayed 246 after losing the first 5lbs. I didn't change cals really but the next week i ended up dropping to 243.
Who knows if maybe for that two weeks i was storing more water than usual or whatever it could have been. But it probably would have been a mistake to lower calories further for this reason I would reccomend waiting 2 or 3 weeks to adjust if there is no change unless one is in a hurry to drop weight or bf%.


Agreed....and you are clearly making progress.


Thanks for noticing PX.



Good point. Especially since OP doesn't have a deadline. He could simply take another week or two to see what happens or bump up activity a bit.


Thanks guys. So it seems as though you are saying a) methodically reduce my calorie intake (mostly carbs) and b) about 1 pound week is a good rate of loss.

I assume I should continue to lift as normal?

I'm guessing the more cardio I do the greater impact it will have on weight loss, but I'm also guessing it will impact my muscles gains negatively. Correct?




Continue to lift as normal (provided you aren't doing something completely idiotic in the gym). The same thing that built your muscle will maintain it. Keep it heavy. But be smart, as you progress and get leaner, your energy levels may be lower so you may need to reduce volume slightly.

Do not overdo the cardio, in fact, I wouldn't do it all in the beginning. Get conditioned with diet, if you stall, then maybe add in some conditioning work.