T Nation

First Real True Cut


#1

Hello Bodybuilding Community,

This is my first post on this page, I hope to grab some helpful insight and critique for my first true cut. I am undergoing the preparation for my first cut in just around 1 month time and would like your input on my diet, routine, and supplementation.

Background
I have been lifting since I was 19, and I am now 24. At my strongest in college I hit a double 405 for squat, a 275 flat bench, and a 585 deadlift. I unfortunately had to cut weight to join the Air Force and I am trying to regain my previously lost strength and size. I didn't handle the cut the right way (too much HIIT and cardio) went from a semi lean 175 at 5'6-5'7 to a slightly more lean 159 (fasted). I have spent the last year in the Air Force trying to put on size more aggressively, as well as strength. Through various programs, I have inched my way to a 315 squat single, 250 Bench single, and 455 Deadlift double. I am approximately 180lbs with some to be expected fat gain from the bulking process, started in November. My numbers are no where near elite, but I work hard and have been addicted to the iron since I started.

I am currently running BBB working on my second month, it does bother me that I will not be able to complete the challenge. I plan on taking my military leave from South Korea to go home for the holidays. I want to look my best, better than I have ever looked before when I get home. I have always trained hard, and ate "smart". But I have never attempted a cut like this before, with all my macros calculated and meals weighed out for the week. I will be cutting from September 7th to December 15th. This is approximately 14 weeks.

Current Weight: 180lbs at 5'6.5 @ approx. 16%Body Fat in my estimation
Split: 46% Protein 35% Carbs 18%Fat (these are approximately they are all decimals)

Workout Days
Total Kcal:2250 Protein:258g Carbs:196g Fat:45g

Non Workout Days
Total Kcal:2270 Protein:259g Carbs:188g Fat:49.5g

**The primary difference is Plazma will only be used only on workout days, and will be substituted with a 1.5 cups of Brown Rice on non-workout days. I will also be eating 100grams more of chicken(make up for the protein, and hence the fat gain in the macros).

I plan on cooking all my meals in bulk, having them placed in microwave containers so I have them all ready to go for the week ahead. I have a nice weighted scale coming from Amazon for about $15, which I think is a steal.

Supplementation
Plazma will be used for the entirety of the cut, from September 7th to December 15th. I will be using 3 three scoops of 100% Gold Standard Whey daily as my whey protein source throughout the cut. Indigo-3G and Micro-PA supplementation will be used for the last 8 and 1/2 weeks of my cut. Will also begin taking caffeine pills/black coffee in the mornings for that spike in metabolism.

Routine
As of right now this is the only part of my cut, that I am unsure of. A part of me wants to train DC, I have used it before but it has been some time. The smarter part of me just says use a different template of 5/3/1 (Triumvirate). I am leaning towards 5/3/1 just because of the 4 day split, but something about heavy lifting and lower volume seems right on a cut (queue DC).

Please let me know what you think/blast away; your input on my diet, supplementation, and routine. Ask any questions you may need to make a better assessment of this true cut. I plan on utilizing as little cardio as possible, and not implement until fat loss seems to stall. Which is where I will do LISS in the morning fasted. I don't plan on using cardio till at least 2 months in. I am trying if possible not to do any cardio at all but that may not be realistic. I also plan on dropping my calories 250 for the month of November(from carbs), and then bringing it back for the reminder of December. I know there are some very intelligent people on this site, that have undergone amazing transformations. I hope to learn from you, as well as have one as well.

Apologies for the length of this post, I will have my training log updated with before and after pictures. As well as meals, supplement times, and of course weights lifted.


#2

I am relatively new to Indigo-3G, but what I know suggests to me that you would be better off using it as early as possible, since the beneficial effects are supposed to be permanent, and you would be better off with those effects for the duration.


#3

[quote]tuttle wrote:
I am relatively new to Indigo-3G, but what I know suggests to me that you would be better off using it as early as possible, since the beneficial effects are supposed to be permanent, and you would be better off with those effects for the duration.[/quote]

I honestly was thinking of doing this as well. Mainly due to increased carb partitioning effects it seems wasteful to use it during the month of November where I will be cutting calories from my carbohydrates. Thanks for the input, and I appreciate you reading this lengthy post. I think this is something I am going to really consider, and may save the Micro-PA for end of the cut cycle.


#4

The other thing I might add, is that perhaps a strength training program may not be ideal during a cut. Not saying you cannot do it, but you said your goal was to look as good as possible. That suggests adding muscle. Also I cannot be certain, but I think strength trainers do not do that with cutting.

Perhaps you could have some strength and some more moderate level reps?


#5

[quote]tuttle wrote:
The other thing I might add, is that perhaps a strength training program may not be ideal during a cut. Not saying you cannot do it, but you said your goal was to look as good as possible. That suggests adding muscle. Also I cannot be certain, but I think strength trainers do not do that with cutting.

Perhaps you could have some strength and some more moderate level reps?[/quote]

I have always read (never experienced as this is my first real cut) that in order to preserve as much muscle mass as possible, one should continue to lift heavy as well as make sure to intake an ample amount of protein. I think my diet will ensure that with 250g+ Protein everyday.

I believe both (DC & 5/3/1) will preserve my strength levels, but I am unsure if that will equate to maximal muscle preservation as well as even maybe some new muscle gain. I have also read that muscle loss during a cut is highly dramatized, and its much harder to lose muscle than many think.

I have heard great gains while following DC on a bulk (unsure of a cut), as well as 5/3/1. I do know that you can tailor 5/3/1 to help reach your goals (i.e. triumvirate). Do you have a specific routine in mind you would personally recommend? I am open to lifting five(5) times a week, but I thought four(4) or even three(3) would be ideal.


#6

A few suggestions. I’m nearing the end of a successful ~3 month cut myself, in which I used a few different approaches.

As far as lifting, you should keep some heavy loads in the program but you’d also be well advised to incorporate some higher reps / shorter rest time sets. I wouldn’t recommend DC Training during a cut, as it is a pretty intense/stressful system. A 4-day 5/3/1 split is a good option, as you have the 5/3/1 sets for strength on the big lifts and can then customize all the assistance work.

I would do some shorter rest “bodybuilding” work here and also add loaded carries at the end of each session. I’d also do some HIIT on off days, 1-3 days per week. You may also want to start total calories slightly lower (e.g. 2060 / day), with a little more fat. I also would look at off days as an opportunity to increase your caloric deficit further. For example, you might start at 2150 kcal on lifting days and 1850 kcal on off days. As you lose weight, you lower the calories (obviously).

The above advice is geared toward losing the fat as quickly as possible, while also maintaining strength/muscle relatively well. A more gradual approach to weight loss might be better at minimizing strength/muscle loss, but it takes longer. That means more time spent not actually building muscle and also more time dieting overall. My preference is to get the fat loss over with as quickly as possible and then return to building strength/muscle, especially if there is no competition deadline of any sort.

I also suggest reading these:


http://tnation.T-Nation.com/...70&pageNo=1



#7

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:
Hello Bodybuilding Community,

This is my first post on this page, I hope to grab some helpful insight and critique for my first true cut. I am undergoing the preparation for my first cut in just around 1 month time and would like your input on my diet, routine, and supplementation.[/quote] Welcome

[quote]Background
I have been lifting since I was 19, and I am now 24. At my strongest in college I hit a double 405 for squat, a 275 flat bench, and a 585 deadlift. I unfortunately had to cut weight to join the Air Force and I am trying to regain my previously lost strength and size. I didn’t handle the cut the right way (too much HIIT and cardio) went from a semi lean 175 at 5’6-5’7 to a slightly more lean 159 (fasted). I have spent the last year in the Air Force trying to put on size more aggressively, as well as strength. Through various programs, I have inched my way to a 315 squat single, 250 Bench single, and 455 Deadlift double. I am approximately 180lbs with some to be expected fat gain from the bulking process, started in November. My numbers are no where near elite, but I work hard and have been addicted to the iron since I started.

I am currently running BBB working on my second month, it does bother me that I will not be able to complete the challenge. I plan on taking my military leave from South Korea to go home for the holidays. I want to look my best, better than I have ever looked before when I get home. I have always trained hard, and ate “smart”. But I have never attempted a cut like this before, with all my macros calculated and meals weighed out for the week. I will be cutting from September 7th to December 15th. This is approximately 14 weeks. [/quote] Are you running 5/3/1 BBB or 5/3/1 BBB Challenge or the actual BBB?

[quote]Current Weight: 180lbs at 5’6.5 @ approx. 16%Body Fat in my estimation
Split: 46% Protein 35% Carbs 18%Fat (these are approximately they are all decimals)

Workout Days
Total Kcal:2250 Protein:258g Carbs:196g Fat:45g

Non Workout Days
Total Kcal:2270 Protein:259g Carbs:188g Fat:49.5g

**The primary difference is Plazma will only be used only on workout days, and will be substituted with a 1.5 cups of Brown Rice on non-workout days. I will also be eating 100grams more of chicken(make up for the protein, and hence the fat gain in the macros).

I plan on cooking all my meals in bulk, having them placed in microwave containers so I have them all ready to go for the week ahead. I have a nice weighted scale coming from Amazon for about $15, which I think is a steal. [/quote]Please, do not put these numbers in stone. Be flexible (not crazy) and make small adjustments as needed. Taking in consideration speed of fat loss, energy, etc.

[quote]Supplementation
Plazma will be used for the entirety of the cut, from September 7th to December 15th. I will be using 3 three scoops of 100% Gold Standard Whey daily as my whey protein source throughout the cut. Indigo-3G and Micro-PA supplementation will be used for the last 8 and 1/2 weeks of my cut. Will also begin taking caffeine pills/black coffee in the mornings for that spike in metabolism.[/quote]Why not use Indigo for the duration and keep Micro PA for when you want to add muscle? Like on a “bulking” phase?
Also, a scoop of MAG-10 first thing in the morning would be 100% better then caffein shot.


I am just not a fan of stimulants. But, what ever floats your boat.

[quote]Routine
As of right now this is the only part of my cut, that I am unsure of. A part of me wants to train DC, I have used it before but it has been some time. The smarter part of me just says use a different template of 5/3/1 (Triumvirate). I am leaning towards 5/3/1 just because of the 4 day split, but something about heavy lifting and lower volume seems right on a cut (queue DC).[/quote] Are you running the above or DC?

[quote]Please let me know what you think/blast away; your input on my diet, supplementation, and routine. Ask any questions you may need to make a better assessment of this true cut. I plan on utilizing as little cardio as possible, and not implement until fat loss seems to stall. Which is where I will do LISS in the morning fasted. I don’t plan on using cardio till at least 2 months in. I am trying if possible not to do any cardio at all but that may not be realistic. I also plan on dropping my calories 250 for the month of November(from carbs), and then bringing it back for the reminder of December. I know there are some very intelligent people on this site, that have undergone amazing transformations. I hope to learn from you, as well as have one as well. [/quote]If you are using Indigo, do not drop your carbs.


The only thing that has changed is the protocol as the end of the article.

1 scoop of MAG-10 before your walk would be greatly beneficial.


#8

Is DC really that stressful? Yeah, you push yourself on every exercise. But it’s only one set. One. And really, you don’t have to kill yourself every time.

I’m going full DC, with some modifications for my goals (more consistent bench pressing, and not using it on lower body) while I finish up my recomp. I used DC style lifting while I was doing a full on cut.

I don’t see 5/3/1 being any better or worse.

Whatever worked for gaining strength/muscle will work to retain it on a cut.


#9

[quote]craze9 wrote:
A few suggestions. I’m nearing the end of a successful ~3 month cut myself, in which I used a few different approaches.

As far as lifting, you should keep some heavy loads in the program but you’d also be well advised to incorporate some higher reps / shorter rest time sets. I wouldn’t recommend DC Training during a cut, as it is a pretty intense/stressful system. A 4-day 5/3/1 split is a good option, as you have the 5/3/1 sets for strength on the big lifts and can then customize all the assistance work.

I would do some shorter rest “bodybuilding” work here and also add loaded carries at the end of each session. I’d also do some HIIT on off days, 1-3 days per week. You may also want to start total calories slightly lower (e.g. 2060 / day), with a little more fat. I also would look at off days as an opportunity to increase your caloric deficit further. For example, you might start at 2150 kcal on lifting days and 1850 kcal on off days. As you lose weight, you lower the calories (obviously).

The above advice is geared toward losing the fat as quickly as possible, while also maintaining strength/muscle relatively well. A more gradual approach to weight loss might be better at minimizing strength/muscle loss, but it takes longer. That means more time spent not actually building muscle and also more time dieting overall. My preference is to get the fat loss over with as quickly as possible and then return to building strength/muscle, especially if there is no competition deadline of any sort.

I also suggest reading these:


http://tnation.T-Nation.com/...70&pageNo=1



[/quote]

Really great advice/links, and I agree with a lot of the points you made. My main goal is to retain as much muscle as possible during this 14 week cut. If not help with the addition of some muscle due to the proper attention to diet, and great supplementation. I am pretty determined to take this cut all 14 weeks, and really try to get under 8% body fat. Starting at around 16% I think 14 weeks is more than enough time to really get there, if not under.

I am currently working on the 3 month BBB challenge, and it is something else. Deadlifting 275lbs in 10 minutes for 50 reps is something else. Your point on following a 5/3/1 protocol is what ultimately I think, is the best move. The heavy primary movements and then the customizable “hypertrophy” accessory work should help retain, if not build some muscle.

I am a huge believer/advocate of HIIT, and love sprints and barbell complexes. I do not think that I will use them until late in the cut as I’d like to get as much out of my diet alone. This is until fat lose begins to stall. I have been bulking for the last few months on about 3000-3300 calories(ballpark). So the drop to 2300 calories may be a huge initial shock to my system. I don’t think an even smaller drop to a lower, 2060 calories would be beneficial for my goals. I am hoping that my high protein intake will help preserve the most muscle during this time, as well as for the duration of the cut.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my post, and to help me prepare for this.


#10

Thanks for the welcome! I am glad to see that all forum parts of T-Nation are filled with friendly, welcoming members that are trying to help other lifters in the iron game.

I am currently running the 5/3/1 BBB Challenge, and am in the midst of the second month. I am really liking it, and it really has helped put some mass on my frame. As to be expected my arms aren’t anything special, but my back and legs have definitely put on some mass.

I have DC in the past, but it has been about a year and half since my last DC blast. I am leaning towards a 5/3/1 “hypertrophy” routine, but I do believe any program can be effective when everything else is dialed in.

To be 100% honest, I’ve never tried indigo-3g, micro-pa, or even plazma for that matter. I know they have great synergy when used correctly, as well as together. I’d like to try all three supplements to get my own first hand experiences with them. I have heard great things from all three supplements, but certain compounds/supplements work better for some people. Its more of an investment for now, so that I can see what I’d like to run in the future.

I have heard great things from MAG-10, unfortunately I am already dishing out about $900 in supplements from T-Nation alone. Not including whey protein, multi-vitamin, and fish oil. Albeit no as expensive, I do not think I can allocate another pricey supplement into my budget.

I think you are right about not dropping the carbs, while on indigo 3G. I may drop the fat and tinker around with calories/macros to see if I can get a similar caloric deficit from dropping fat.


#11

How have you been faring with DC while on your recomp? Another point I feel I have to make is that I will be working out by myself. Do you work out solo? :frowning: I do not have the luxury of a work out buddy as I have had in the past. As you know most of the DC sets are Rest Pause style, and thus it can be helpful to have a spot. I usually train when there aren’t many people at the gym. This is a blessing, but also an inconvenience in disguise. Especially when looking for spots on barbell movements.


#12

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:
How have you been faring with DC while on your recomp? Another point I feel I have to make is that I will be working out by myself. Do you work out solo? :frowning: I do not have the luxury of a work out buddy as I have had in the past. As you know most of the DC sets are Rest Pause style, and thus it can be helpful to have a spot. I usually train when there aren’t many people at the gym. This is a blessing, but also an inconvenience in disguise. Especially when looking for spots on barbell movements. [/quote]

So far, good. I lost a lot of fat (50lbs!), and some strength to go with it (10%ish), mostly pressing. But I think that was simply unavoidable with such a large weight loss.

I generally lift by myself, but I will ask people I know in the gym for a spot with barbell bench press (incline and close grip varieties). I can almost always find someone, and if not, I just take it a little easier. A spot isn’t necessary on other exercises, except perhaps squatting, but I don’t go near failure when squatting and am comfortable dumping the bar if I have to, anyway.


#13

[quote]goochadamg wrote:

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:
How have you been faring with DC while on your recomp? Another point I feel I have to make is that I will be working out by myself. Do you work out solo? :frowning: I do not have the luxury of a work out buddy as I have had in the past. As you know most of the DC sets are Rest Pause style, and thus it can be helpful to have a spot. I usually train when there aren’t many people at the gym. This is a blessing, but also an inconvenience in disguise. Especially when looking for spots on barbell movements. [/quote]

So far, good. I lost a lot of fat (50lbs!), and some strength to go with it (10%ish), mostly pressing. But I think that was simply unavoidable with such a large weight loss.

I generally lift by myself, but I will ask people I know in the gym for a spot with barbell bench press (incline and close grip varieties). I can almost always find someone, and if not, I just take it a little easier. A spot isn’t necessary on other exercises, except perhaps squatting, but I don’t go near failure when squatting and am comfortable dumping the bar if I have to, anyway.[/quote]

That’s great to hear man! Congratulations, sounds like the muscle recomp is going well, very well!

Quick question, in your opinion, I know DC is an advanced routine but do you really need the generic 3 4 5, bench squat deadlift numbers to really train DC? I am sure, as you would agree that DC training is awesome. I like the high intensity, higher frequency that Yates, Mentzer all praised.


#14

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:

[quote]goochadamg wrote:

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:
How have you been faring with DC while on your recomp? Another point I feel I have to make is that I will be working out by myself. Do you work out solo? :frowning: I do not have the luxury of a work out buddy as I have had in the past. As you know most of the DC sets are Rest Pause style, and thus it can be helpful to have a spot. I usually train when there aren’t many people at the gym. This is a blessing, but also an inconvenience in disguise. Especially when looking for spots on barbell movements. [/quote]

So far, good. I lost a lot of fat (50lbs!), and some strength to go with it (10%ish), mostly pressing. But I think that was simply unavoidable with such a large weight loss.

I generally lift by myself, but I will ask people I know in the gym for a spot with barbell bench press (incline and close grip varieties). I can almost always find someone, and if not, I just take it a little easier. A spot isn’t necessary on other exercises, except perhaps squatting, but I don’t go near failure when squatting and am comfortable dumping the bar if I have to, anyway.[/quote]

That’s great to hear man! Congratulations, sounds like the muscle recomp is going well, very well!

Quick question, in your opinion, I know DC is an advanced routine but do you really need the generic 3 4 5, bench squat deadlift numbers to really train DC? I am sure, as you would agree that DC training is awesome. I like the high intensity, higher frequency that Yates, Mentzer all praised. [/quote]

I think that you do have to understand how and when to really push yourself. Most beginners simply aren’t able to do that. It’s absolutely crucial to this program, though. You also need to be able to pick the right exercises; beginners also are likely to screw this up. The exercise rotation might not be optimal for someone new, either, as they’re likely to get more strength gains by sticking with an exercise than constantly swapping it out.

But being strong is always good.


#15

[quote]goochadamg wrote:

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:

[quote]goochadamg wrote:

[quote]jzy50309 wrote:
How have you been faring with DC while on your recomp? Another point I feel I have to make is that I will be working out by myself. Do you work out solo? :frowning: I do not have the luxury of a work out buddy as I have had in the past. As you know most of the DC sets are Rest Pause style, and thus it can be helpful to have a spot. I usually train when there aren’t many people at the gym. This is a blessing, but also an inconvenience in disguise. Especially when looking for spots on barbell movements. [/quote]

So far, good. I lost a lot of fat (50lbs!), and some strength to go with it (10%ish), mostly pressing. But I think that was simply unavoidable with such a large weight loss.

I generally lift by myself, but I will ask people I know in the gym for a spot with barbell bench press (incline and close grip varieties). I can almost always find someone, and if not, I just take it a little easier. A spot isn’t necessary on other exercises, except perhaps squatting, but I don’t go near failure when squatting and am comfortable dumping the bar if I have to, anyway.[/quote]

That’s great to hear man! Congratulations, sounds like the muscle recomp is going well, very well!

Quick question, in your opinion, I know DC is an advanced routine but do you really need the generic 3 4 5, bench squat deadlift numbers to really train DC? I am sure, as you would agree that DC training is awesome. I like the high intensity, higher frequency that Yates, Mentzer all praised. [/quote]

I think that you do have to understand how and when to really push yourself. Most beginners simply aren’t able to do that. It’s absolutely crucial to this program, though. You also need to be able to pick the right exercises; beginners also are likely to screw this up. The exercise rotation might not be optimal for someone new, either, as they’re likely to get more strength gains by sticking with an exercise than constantly swapping it out.

But being strong is always good.
[/quote]

I think those are some valid points, the program is not intended for beginners. The stretching can be absolutely brutal. I do think that many new lifters make the mistake of not picking exercises that work for them, or that come across too difficult. I personally think that the Big 3 should always be used in any routine. Or at least variations of those lifts (Incline, CGBP, RDL, Front Squat). I am by no means an elite lifter, but I put in the effort day in and day out. I think that comes with time, but I believe any true consistently, dedicated lifter who has been lifting for 3, even 2 years can reap rewards from DC.