T Nation

Diet Progress

Hey all,

I’m currently on week 12 of a 16 week cutting phase and I?ve been following T-dawg 2.0 as best I can.
Using their formula to calculate caloric intake:
Cal. Intake = (Bodyweight * 15) - 500
I should be consuming 1630cals per day which I am since I?m 142lbs. Here are the rest of the macronutrients:
cal: 1630
p: 201 (intake has always been close to 1.5 * bodyweight)
f: 66.7
c: 57.9

As for training, I really like the 5x5 approach so I stuck with it changing my program every 5-6weeks.
Now here is my problem. The first 6 weeks I was doing a flat bench press and I actually gained strength but the time came to change programs so I substituted the bench for a flat dumbbell press. After 5 weeks I switched programs again so I went back to the program that had the bench press and I couldn’t do what I had done previously. I had to drop the weight by 10lbs. (This happened to every exercise on the program) I know that gaining muscle while dieting is extremely hard to do especially when you?re not using any supplements but I?m confused because my strength was always slightly increasing or staying the same, never ever decreasing for all the exercises I was doing.

Here are my questions:

  1. Am I losing muscle because why else would all my exercises suffer? (Any chance it is just a lack of energy from the low carb intake?)

  2. How are my macronutrients and caloric intake looking? Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading and any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.


Hulk: Some loss of strength is expected on a cutting phase. Berardi recommends decreasing reps and increasing sets, with the same weight, to keep your strength up. So if you were doing overhead squats with 100 lbs. for 5x5 (25 reps with 100 lbs) you might move to 100 lbs. for 6x5/4/4/4/4/4 (25 reps with 100 lbs.) or 8x4/3/3/3/3/3/3/3 (25 reps with 100 lbs.)

Also, this loss of strength seems to be a cyclical thing, very sensitive to overtraining within that microcycle. So though I may need to increase sets & decrease reps at some point, the next workout I’ll be back to the usual scheme or even able to do more reps than before. Doing this in my current cutting phase, I’ve increased my weight in most of my compound exercises by ten pounds.

Good luck; keep going!

You’re cutting at 142 pounds??? God, I hope you’re really short or female.

And you’re calling yourself the “Hulk”?

The internet is funny.

quantumbutterfly - Thanks for the reply but i’m still a little bit confused.
Take my bench press example.
I started the program that had the bench press in it for 6 weeks and my bench increased. Then I changed programs and did the flat dumbbell press and that also increased, then when i switched back to the bench I couldn?t do the same weight. Why did this happen? It wasn’t like I had stopped training the chest in fact it was the opposite i was actually makin some small gains. So if my strength was gradually going up why did I take a hit on the bench and every other muscle group?
I would argue that maybe the triceps or lats lost strength but like I said in my last post every muscle group increased or stayed constant when doing the second (dumbell press) program.
Any ideas?


Paul T. - you are correct
“The internet is funny” but you on the other hand are not.

Hulk: A big part of strength is in mental ruts; your body learns to use more of the muscle you already have to lift the weight. So when you switched exercises, your muscles learned a new pattern of movement. Now, as you switch back to benching, your body has ‘forgotten’ how to lift that weight efficiently. You’ll relearn the movement much more quickly than the first time and be speeding up the strength ladder again.

As an aside, I prefer the DB press; you can get larger range of motion without ‘the girls’ getting in the way. :wink:

Don’t be mad at Paul; it seems 90% of the posters are male. Most assume I’m a guy, too, though I can’t imagine any man calling himself ‘butterfly!’

Excuse me 'Fly…care to re-think that last statement?

“Behind the fa?ades of respectability, family life and surprisingly modest homes [are] fathers who hate drugs but sell tons of heroin, gambling czars who lose heavily on the horses, murderers who take offense at off-color language around women and Runyonesque characters with funny nicknames who beat people to death with hammer”

~ Robert D. McFadden

quantumbutterfly - Thanks for the answer that is exactly what I was looking for.

and btw. lol…I am a guy. I was 165lbs and I’m cutting down as much as I can for the summer.

Thanks again.