Fat Loss While Maintaining Strength Advice

Stats: 23 year old male, 6-0 240

Current Lifts

DL: 455
Squat: 425
Bench: 335
Inc Bench: 305
Press: 215
Hang Clean: 225
SGHP: 205
Chins: 12


Metabolic Drive
I’m a former college athlete that graduated this past May and I will be starting graduate school at the end of August. Since graduating I’ve put on about 20 pounds over 9 months (220 lb – 240 lb). I’d like to think some of this is muscle as my lifts have increased but I’m aware a lot of the weight gain is probably due to fat.

The reason for this post is that I will be playing on the school’s club team in the fall and would like to get back in shape. I’m looking for suggestions to my diet and workout plan. My main goals are to lose fat and maintain as much muscle mass as I can. If possible I’d like to work on my explosiveness so including some Olympic lifts would be a plus.

Over the past 7-8 months I have been following a version of CT’s Layer System. I have included a typical workout week below.



Deadlift Layer System
Back Extensions 3x20

Push Press 5x5 superset with Chins
Military Press 5x10
Lat Raises 3x20
R Delt Raises 3x20
Plate Raises 1x100

Leg Curls 6x20 (light)
Squat Layer System
Goblet Squats 3x8-10


SGHP Layer System

Incline Bench Layer System



This is where I think I need the most assistance. I just started the 5/2 diet with the 2 fasting days on Thursday and Sundays. According to the below calculations (Sorry its a little hard to read) I’m getting just under 3K calories with roughly a 18%c/43%p/39%f breakdown.

I try to consume all of my carbs around my workout with Lunch 45-60 minutes post workout.

Food Carbs Protein Fat Calories

Milk 13 8 2 110
Metabolic Drive 4 21 1 110
Nat PB 6 8 16 200
23 37 19 420

SWF 25 0 0 145

Cottage CH 5 10 3 90

Chickenx3 0 100 5 500
Rice 76 8 0 340
76 108 5 840

Tunax2 0 22 0 90
Balsamic Vin 0 14 135
22 14 225

Ground Beef 0 120 80 1220

TOTAL 129C 297P 121F 2793 Cals
516 1188 1089
18% Carbs 43% Protein 39% Fat

To reiterate, my main goal is fat loss while retaining as much muscle mass as I can but I would like to continue lifting heavy if possible. Following the 5/2 diet working out 5 days a week with 2 off would be ideal. No matter what I do, I will need to add some sprints in somewhere to prepare for the club season .I was thinking about a couple of options.

  1. Continue with the layer system but add complexes after. I’m pretty drained after completing the original workout so adding complexes might not be the best option on a fat loss diet.
  2. Continue with the layer system but add cardio after.
  3. 10x3 for Fat Loss. My main concern is only working out 2x a week and not having enough volume.
  4. Do one heavy lift a day and then focus on complexes and cardio.

I’m open to any and all suggestions concerning both my diet and potential workout plans.

Let’s say you want to drop 15-20 pounds and get back to college shape, retaining strength;

If your calculations are right, that’s extreme protein, you’re probably burning it for energy. I’d suggest drop it down to 220-230 grams a day. You can increase the carbs, especially on the days you do additional sprints.

Also your food choices doesn’t make sense to me, personally. I would drop the morning milk and swap the post workout cottage cheese with a peri workout protocol (Not sure what SWF is?). You dont have to get a supplement though, although BCAA’s would help, just eat starchy carbs & protein pre & post workout ( Those 2 meals would prob be my only carb meals). Swap the protein powder with something more of a solid (eggs, cheese, meat) for morning as well, ideally. Also get in some fruit & veg’s dude?!

Layer’s + complexes + sprinting is absurd. I’d pick a strength program, add sprints and cut calories accordingly.

Good luck

Per your advice I’ll reduce my protein and shoot for roughly 1g/lb of BW.

I’m currently having breakfast 45 minutes before I get to the gym. Would you recommend carbs+protein for this meal or stick with more fats+protein (eggs, cheese, meat)? I am currently drinking Surge Workout Fuel (SWF) pre-workout as well.

I do like the idea of having all my carbs pre & post workout as I’m already having my lunch (chicken+rice) about an hour post workout. This makes me lean more towards carbs+protein for breakfast

Really appreciate your suggestions!

Probably doesn’t make all that much difference, assuming you have had carbs since your last session (and haven’t been crazy active).

The other thing to keep in mind is whether a higher fat meal sits heavy on you, you don’t want to impact your training.

One more consideration is convenience, if prep is a bitch - your less likely to do it

Yeah i’d choose carbs + protein too.

Having gone through several sustained cutting cycles in the last decade or so, personally, I respond best to keeping carbs optimally high for training, while maintaining a reasonable caloric deficit that allows me to drop 1-2 lbs/week - of course, your mileage may vary. Anything faster than that, while reaping more immediate rewards in terms of quicker fat loss, always seems to backfire relative to loss of strength and falling off the wagon (e.g., I stupidly dropped 40 lbs in 9 weeks on a strict keto diet + insane amounts of cardio back in 2001).

If you find you might personally respond better to some lower carb protocols, perhaps you could reduce carb intake on non-training days, like I do, keeping them around 100g/day (180g-200g/day on training days). I can still lose fat this way, as long as fat intake is curtailed and protein intake remains at 1-1.25g/lb of LBM. I think people can handle more carbs then they realize to keep training optimal and still drop fat, as it truly is all about total caloric intake relative to energy balance and expenditure.

Paul Carter’s How to Stay Strong While Dieting should have a plenty of useful advice.

Like outlaws was saying, simplify the training and don’t go overboard or all-in from day one. Let the lifting and the nutrition do most of the work, gradually add in some simple conditioning to get back into playing shape.

A great plan, try this…

Currently losing weight on Candito 6-week and still making progress in weight in the gym and on the scale.

What works for me is to have a high protein & fat breakfast and then go workout:
4 jumbo eggs, turkey sausage crumbles, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp butter, creole seasoning ( this ish tastes great too ).

Zero issue making through my workout or through the day.

Eat carbs after your workout then continue no carb the rest of the day.

I’d keep assistance low for Squat and DL since they are hard to recover from even during a bulk.