T Nation

Fat Loss + Keep Max Strength


I have been eating as a strength athlete to grow or maintain for over two years. It worked, on put on over 70lbs, most of it lbm. I now need to drop fat mass to enter a lower weight class and for professional reasons.

I have been adjusting diet for the last few months, running a more 'detox' version of t-dawg that just incorporates more cruciferous veggies and leafy greens, and to compensate for increased daily carbohydrate consumption, I have a carb-up biweekly (instead of every 5 or so days). My metabolism has adapted surprisingly fast, and I can't continue to milk dropping the calories and still maintain muscle mass or a metabolism (as is, I'm loosing ANY appetite whatsoever when I'm already eating 1000s of calories BELOW maintenance).

I am familiar with the large variety of fat loss plans and diets here on T-Nation, all aspire to maintain (or even gain) muscle mass, but none that I know are geared towards maximal strength maintenance (or gain).

During this time, I have been training with a periodized Starr/Pendlay 5x5/3x3 TBT 3x a week. On off days, I walk, do sled work and a recuperative work out, or rest, depending on recovery.

I would like to hear from those that have walked this path before to find an optimal pathway for continued fat loss while keeping PRs. I see my two options as
1. continue to cut calories, but also continue to depress metabolism and quality of training or

  1. G-flux style living, in which I maintain calories, but increase my body's expenditure of them through EPOC with something like the lactate acid producing workouts like 'fat to fire' or 'German body comp' and HIIT complexes/Tabata.

Extensive ground work still is not an option for me, I am still too heavy and my knees take too much of a beating already with all my squatting and Olympic lifting. I am also flexible to train heavy only 2x a week if necessary while increasing the 'other' sessions. As I said above, this is also for professional reasons, otherwise I would do as wrestlers and lifters have done for decades, 'sauna training' for a weigh-in.

In summary, I have been on calorie restricted diet for roughly three months, diet has reached the point of diminishing returns due to metabolism adaptations. I still have about 15lbs to go.

What is the way to go for continued fat loss (metabolism be damn, keep cutting calories vs. g-flux/lactate acid training/Tabata) with big caveat is that maximal strength levels must be maintained.

I appreciate your responses and the time you took to read my Dickens-length post,




Well I have zero experience in this realm but I would say try the G-flux approach while incorporating ME days to help keep the maximal strength levels up. I doubt that you would do well to continue cutting calories and I would reckon that throwing something different at your body would illicit some sort of positive response.

But then again I dont really know what I am talking about!


anyone else?


i think i should pay PGA to advertise for this thread with some cool graphic


HRX will help lose fat, while keeping muscle. I'd imagine keeping muscle mass will help keep strength levels up.


This site has existed since 1998. Since around 2001, there has been a forum.

Did you even use the search function before posting your question and "bumping" it twice?


Or you could show that you respect people on the forum and do at least a cursory search before asking a question.

Posting questions about topics that have been discussed for years shows you're lazy. Why would anyone give dieting advice to a lazy person?


Well, not everyone will agree with this given some recent debates but I would recommend fasted cardio at a light to moderate pace. You said you can't do much groundwork, I am assuming you are talking about running and not walking. So I would walk at an incline for 30-60 minutes. You can occasionally do other forms of cardio as long as they aren't too hard. To me your situation is much like a bodybuilder dieting down for a contest, they are trying to keep muscle but lose fat, so they almost always do this type of cardio.

I was 202 lbs and needed to diet down to the 181 lb weight class but maintain my strength for PL. I had to lift heavy but I used this for method about 8 weeks and actually weighed in at 178 (was young and nervous I wouldn't make it the night before). Still was as strong as I had been at 198. Have used it several times since all equally effective.

The keys to being successful with this are do cardio before you eat and keep the intensity only moderate. You should think that you can definitely do the activity for an hour and you should not be exhausted when you finish it. For most people that is walking 4-4.5 mph at about a 5% incline, if you are bigger it might be lower. Generally a heart rate of 130 or so works well. If you do intense cardio like HITT or anything like that I believe you will get lean but you will lose too much muscle and strength given you are already on a diet.

Hope whatever you choose works for you.



Good call. Maintain as much muscle as possible through keeping your protein intake high and using a product like HOT-ROX Extreme and Methoxy-7 as well as TRIBEX Gold which can all be stacked together creating the best environment for keeping strength and muscle while dropping the fat. Of course nutrition is the priority. Read each product article for detailed info on each product mentioned.

Good luck,



Whatever you do, I'd recommend consuming massive amounts of BCAA's. Depending on your BW i'd try to get in at least 16-30g a day.


Dude take it easy already. If you don't think his question is worthy of your greatness just disregard it. This high horse crap is getting old.



I second that motion.


If you think expecting somone to run a basic search before posting a question that has been discussed hundreds of times and to NOT bump said post twice, puts me on a high horse; then you must have very low standards.

P.S. People also should do research before asking: "Hey, I want to gain muscle and lose fat. How do I do this?" "What is creatine?" "What is ZMA?"


Well Californialaw,
I must thank you for bumping this thread for me, I was tired of doing it myself. I had also hoped you would be more literate. I am no 6-pack monkey, I am not looking to keep every single ounce of muscle mass to stay Hyoooge while I diet, so the hundreds of previous posts which you mention do not apply to my situation, as I had hoped to make clear in my lengthy post. But continue policing the board, as I'm sure there's some 'n00b' under 175 who is contemplating cutting.

I was looking for very specific recommendations from very specific people who have walked this path before (read: not you). Also I know not to waste either the board's time or my own to ask questions pertinent to temporary weight loss for the vast majority of strength athletes and wrestlers, I would have just followed Kroc's regimen pre-06 Arnold.

These are both reasons, which I posted within my original thread, as to why I made one of very own! Although I am still looking the experiences of strength athletes who have lived Beradi's G-flux. Also, have people had success combining GH/lactic acid with ME days? Viewing all the different programs of that style of training (Alessi's, Poloquin's, and Davies') I cannot help but visualizing maximal strength plummeting due to the high reps, minimal rest periods, and incomplete recovery.
Thanks for your time,
ps. I had also somehow had this illusion that my total bill for dieting would be LESS than for bulking, especially for those without much of a disposible income, but eyes to the prize and if BCAAs and HRX are the way to go...


I'm curious, did you even read kane's entire post? He pointed out that he could not find any previous threads pertinent to his goal, and explained that he needed help from others who have been in his situation.

Responding with a generic "do a search, nub!!" is nice for some 15 year old who just got on the site, but is retarded and uncalled for in this case.

If you don't know how to answer the question, don't advertise it by telling the OP to search, just leave. Or stay, you might learn something.


Considering that you have already been dieting for 12 weeks I think it would be a good idea for you to increase your Kcals for a couple of weeks and then begin to lower them back down again.

Maximal Strength is mainly neural, although there are obvious correlations between cross sectional area and strength. They key to maintaining strength is to train heavy and consistently. I personally dont like weight training for fat loss purposes - keep your energy systems work and strength training separate.

To continue to lose body fat you have to create an energy deficit. Steady state cardio is out - it only builds economy and efficiency. You need to keep the metabolic cost of exercise high therefore EPOC is paramount. However do remember that these activities are CNS stressors. Considering that you are a strength athlete be specific (S.A.I.D principle applies here) therefore complexes, sled work, tabata etc are all good examples.

Increase your NEPA. This is so simple yet is often neglected. Little habits like chewing gum, walking whenever possible, using stairs and staying active throughout the day do indeed make differences. Keep a food log (at least for a few weeks). Fat loss needs to be systematic. Im afraid to get your weight down you will need to lower your calories however this should not be done haphazardly. Make a log of what you eat and sytematically reduce it over the following weeks, however keep your protein and fat consumption pretty stable.

The majority of your caloric deficit should be from reducing your carb intake. And yes HOT-ROX will help as will Selenium, Kelp, Green tea etc.


Insulting posters has become a popular trend on these boards. Some people prefer to get information from other lifters in the trenches instead of articles.

A person is usually a better source for information than an article.

Having said that, I have heard that doing maintenance work and reducing calories a bit can help one maintain muscle and lose weight.

I have also heard that doing complexes is a good way to lose weight and minimize muscle loss and strength loss.


Dave - Good post, I agree with the majority of it. However, why do you feel that steady state cardio is out for weight loss?


Ignor Calielaw guys, it's that time of the month for her.

Anyways back on topic. I find that EDT for fatloss is a great way to maintain strength in the powerlifts, or any other major lifts, while dieting. It incorperates heavy singles on selected lifts to maintain max strength, followed by PR zones to burn fat and maintain mass. I often see strength improvements in the singles aswell as the PR zones, regardless of how I'm dieting.