T Nation

Eating Less or Doing More?

Below is a quote from DoubleDuce from another thread. Basically he says that he would rather pump up volume in the gym and cardio activities rather than eating less and being scared of doing things that burn muscle.

What do you guys prefer for those of you that have done a cut or are pretty deep into a cut currently? and what is your supported reasoning?

I can see the advantage of both in one hand you have more time because you are spending less time in the gym and still dropping weight/bf, but you may be eating less and hungry more often.

In the other you are probably eating more food but spending more time in the gym and some are concerned that they would be holding on to less muscle due to extra cardio? or is it that you nutrient partitioning would be better and actually maybe holding more muscle with the higher caloric intake paired with extra aerobic activity???

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
Not to the end of my first serious cut yet, but I can say I’ve become a huge fan of doing more and eating more. Lots of volume in the gym, plenty of conditioning and cardio, and keeping my calories as high as I can. As opposed to dropping calories and trying to avoid doing work that might burn muscle.

I’m down a total of 45 pounds from my heaviest as of this morning. Mine has been more of a long term diet though.

where are you now and how much do you have to lose?[/quote]

I have had moderate success by doing an old fashioned cut with restricted calories and some cardio. When I cut next time, my coach will try to do it all with my diet and keep cardio out of the equation for as long as possible.

In the most recent interview with George Farah and Kai Green, Farah is advocating doing cardio WHILE bulking for “hard gainers.”

It is a really interesting debate, but I think at the end of the day, it depends on your body. Some respond very well to the extra cardio and the extra calories, while others cut well with a very tight diet and minimal cardio.

I’m not certain I feel qualified enough to start a thread on the subject. But I think you can make either way work. I just feel better putting in more work. More energy throughout the day, I feel like I recover better, and I’ve leaned out faster with it.

For full disclosure:
First, I like doing stuff anyway. Hiking, strong man style conditioning, hill sprints, est. I love spending time outside getting my lungs burning. AND I’ve come to find, the better shape I get in, the more not only I like it, but the more I’m able to do. It is the one variable that, as you diet, tends to naturally increase as you build capacity (at least for me). It’s also the one side of dieting that for all intents and purposes can always increase. You can virtually always to more walking or eccentric less pump work. You CANNOT always eat less, eating less has a very finite limit. When I started reducing calories I actually found myself avoiding doing the stuff I liked and wanted to do.

Second, I’m not all that lean yet. I’m not down to single digit bodyfat yet, so I don’t know what that will be like.

Third, I haven’t stepped foot in a gym in probably over a year. I’m lifting in my basement and running around the farm I live on. To me, time in the “gym” is time at home. I’ll go out and pull the sled and play with my battle ropes before I head to church on Sunday morning if I get the itch. If I had to drive to the gym and get on a treadmill or something it would be a lot less convenient and I might not train the same way.

I’ll be interested to see some more experienced, leaner guys thoughts.

I just think you can get lean faster if you eat more calories and do intense cardio, but I’ve only done a cut once (it did work great though). I used kettlebells + jumprope for cardio. You can burn a LOT of calories that way.

John Berardi thinks more food + more work is superior to less food + less work:

I would vote for higher intake and higher output.

I hate being hungry, and the higher intake afforded by the higher activity level really seems to make a difference there. I also feel like activity supresses my appetite, whereas calorie restriction with low output leaves me sitting around thinking about how hungry I am all the time.

As far as which approach is best for mitigating muscle loss on a cut…that’s a tough one. I can’t speak for the huge guys on that one, but I think that for me, since I’m not really carrying an unnatural amount of muscle to begin with, my muscle is less “at-risk” than it would be for someone who is carrying more muscle than their natural genetic potential or even for someone who is very close to their natural potential.

I can say from experience that this is a pretty easy way to get shredded. You still have to make good choices, but life doesn’t to suck in the process.

Also, having a high baseline of total activity might help as well. If you go from lifting 45 minutes a day 4-5 days/week to suddenly doing 11 hours of activity/week, you’d probably run into issues. But to go from 7 hours total activity a week to 10 hours isn’t going to be an issue.

Follow the advice of BB experts. Read up on what Shelby and Clay here on T Nation say about losing fat. They are more experienced than anybody on this forum.

I think people are way too scared about losing muscles while cutting. You can be a lot more aggressive with cals and cardio without losing muscles than you think (I mean natties).

Disclaimer: Getting down to stage condition as a natty seems to be a different thing though.

ps: I officially started my cutting phase today.

I think it depends on bodyfat percentage, and where you have plateau’d at. If you can lose weight and still look good while eating more then by all means go for it. Who doesn’t want more muscle?

The only issue is when someone is at 10% and needs to get to 8. Few people have the genes to remain below a true 10% without some extreme form of dieting or cardio, and extreme cardio will make you smaller.

DoubleDuce
is spot on in my opinion.
Orange is my answer.
That question is like a favorite color, it is personal.
You posted some weeks back about living like an ermit, BB committed.
To me less work is the only right answer for me.
Eating more =

  • more residue
  • more stress(buying quality food)
  • less time to enjoy other aspects of life
  • dying sooner (for decades studies have proven eating more = dying sooner
  • eating more = sleeping more

John Berardi is an expert being paid to fill space.
Fads, flavor of the month usually loose over decades proven ways.
We all know writers who allways have the best ultimate way to switch 2 years later…

Dreamers buy lottery tickets.

Do you ?

Are you planning on an other 3 years long permabulk ?

Tabata is a short way to bypass cardio. 8 minutes weekly of goblet squats.

Doing cardio to burn calories is, well by now you can guess my answer.

This was not written by a BB, but my waist line is under 29 and my morning heart rate is 33. Pick the suggestions that make sense to you kido, i am too old to be your big brother.

I don’t mind the cardio or intense workouts. I’d rather eat more burn more.

I feel like it’s easier to lose muscle on very low caloric diets. I feel like workouts will be better with more food. I also think the extra calories will hold off the effects of a slowly metabolism from a grueling low cal diet.

Just my broscience but this is how I’ll be dieting. I also realize to get shredded I’ll need to eat very low cals at some point so I’m not worried about that, but I’d rather eat more until that point.

I am most definitely on the side of Dr. Berardi, Serge, and DoubleDuce. Not even close for me. You don’t feel nearly as miserable when you’re eating more, and your workouts don’t suffer, nor does my connective tissue tend to tweak or inflame as much with more calories. Besides that, cutting calories drastically IMO leads to a much greater likelihood of losing muscle with a long cut.

Im a hardwired wrestlers lol

I go days without food.

In December I wanted to bring up my arms, so I did a arms specialization routine. Knowing I was laying off legs, chests and back, I dropped my kcals from when I was gaining 2Lbs/ month (3500) to 3100 and lost dam near 3 Lbs! wtf??? Water?

No cardio, just standard lifting split. I was pretty freaking upset, but I wonder if I stumbled upon a way to get lean"er" without feeling like shit from daily low-carbing+cardio?

Do you guys try cutting with resistance training only? How does cutting kcals end up affecting muscle damage from a “bro-split”?

[quote]giograves wrote:
In December I wanted to bring up my arms, so I did a arms specialization routine. Knowing I was laying off legs, chests and back, I dropped my kcals from when I was gaining 2Lbs/ month (3500) to 3100 and lost dam near 3 Lbs! wtf??? Water?

No cardio, just standard lifting split. I was pretty freaking upset, but I wonder if I stumbled upon a way to get lean"er" without feeling like shit from daily low-carbing+cardio?

Do you guys try cutting with resistance training only? How does cutting kcals end up affecting muscle damage from a “bro-split”?[/quote]

First 3 pounds are easy no mater what you do.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]giograves wrote:
In December I wanted to bring up my arms, so I did a arms specialization routine. Knowing I was laying off legs, chests and back, I dropped my kcals from when I was gaining 2Lbs/ month (3500) to 3100 and lost dam near 3 Lbs! wtf??? Water?

No cardio, just standard lifting split. I was pretty freaking upset, but I wonder if I stumbled upon a way to get lean"er" without feeling like shit from daily low-carbing+cardio?

Do you guys try cutting with resistance training only? How does cutting kcals end up affecting muscle damage from a “bro-split”?[/quote]

First 3 pounds are easy no mater what you do.[/quote]

I lost 4 lbs last sunday to monday (1 overnight) without meaning to. Made it back. Lost 2 lbs from last night to today even while eating a ridiculous amount. 3-5 lbs is absolutely nothing.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I am most definitely on the side of Dr. Berardi, Serge, and DoubleDuce. Not even close for me. You don’t feel nearly as miserable when you’re eating more, and your workouts don’t suffer, nor does my connective tissue tend to tweak or inflame as much with more calories. Besides that, cutting calories drastically IMO leads to a much greater likelihood of losing muscle with a long cut.[/quote]

While everyone is different, I never felt miserable and had shitty sessions when cutting with Shelby (less food+plenty of cardio), except at the VERY end of one long cut.

Also, is there actually any good data available on how much muscle people on strict but non-retarded cuts tend to lose?

To me the whole fear of muscle loss on non-crash diets seems like a broscience myth, conjured by either people who want to sell stuff or by people who try to explain their lack of muscle (disappointment) after a cut by muscle loss.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
To me the whole fear of muscle loss on non-crash diets seems like a broscience myth, conjured by either people who want to sell stuff or by people who try to explain their lack of muscle (disappointment) after a cut by muscle loss.[/quote]

^ Made me laugh. “I lost too much muscle during my cut” is up there with “I was holding water on contest day” as some of the most widely heard excuses among trainers.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
To me the whole fear of muscle loss on non-crash diets seems like a broscience myth, conjured by either people who want to sell stuff or by people who try to explain their lack of muscle (disappointment) after a cut by muscle loss.[/quote]

^ Made me laugh. “I lost too much muscle during my cut” is up there with “I was holding water on contest day” as some of the most widely heard excuses among trainers.

S[/quote]

I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. Does it change as you get to really low body fat levels?

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I am most definitely on the side of Dr. Berardi, Serge, and DoubleDuce. Not even close for me. You don’t feel nearly as miserable when you’re eating more, and your workouts don’t suffer, nor does my connective tissue tend to tweak or inflame as much with more calories. Besides that, cutting calories drastically IMO leads to a much greater likelihood of losing muscle with a long cut.[/quote]

While everyone is different, I never felt miserable and had shitty sessions when cutting with Shelby (less food+plenty of cardio), except at the VERY end of one long cut.

Also, is there actually any good data available on how much muscle people on strict but non-retarded cuts tend to lose?

To me the whole fear of muscle loss on non-crash diets seems like a broscience myth, conjured by either people who want to sell stuff or by people who try to explain their lack of muscle (disappointment) after a cut by muscle loss.[/quote]

I wouldn’t say it’s bro-science, but I would say that it’s overblown in terms of severity when NOT crash dieting or stage dieting. Agree with Mighty Stu about #1 excuses lol. I know a specific case off the top of my head of a university professor who lost about 5 lbs of muscle going from 33% fat to 25.5% fat. Talk about a shitty cut lol. He also didn’t train and he ate complete shit (he was testing the calorie = calorie “hypothesis”).

On topic, I would look to Dr. John Berardi and Lonnie Lowery for data…I am not sure that there is a lot of data, or any, to be honest. However, the notion is scientifically supported, if overblown–I believe that what many “bros” term muscle loss is merely water loss and flat looking muscles from being without full glycogen stores, along with the strength loss that accompanies the loss of intramuscular stores of water and glycogen. This for ‘reasonable’ cuts. For hard cuts, and especially LONG cuts, muscle loss is a reality and can be significant.

What you weighing these days Paulie? Looking badass.