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First Time Cutting Plan, Advice?

I’m a 27-year-old male, 5’8", 155 lbs, w/ 15 - 18% estimate body fat. I have been working out for 7 years. I used to be 100 lbs. I never did any fat loss or cutting. It didn’t make sense to do so for me since gaining weight was very hard for me and I don’t gain fat easily. I want to get down to 10% body fat with six-pack abs and muscle definition while hopefully gaining some muscle during my fat loss plan. I have a very high metabolism. My plan is to eat 2200 calories a day, 4 meals spread out. My TDEE is about 2400. I don’t want to do an extreme cut where I start to feel weak/tired or have some muscle strength loss, I’m not so worried about losing muscle.
My plan is to workout either doing each muscle group once a week and hit them hard for 45 mins each day or do PPL workout. Do you guys have any recommendation for a workout plan? But before I do my workout I will go to the gym on an empty stomach, take CLA and L-Cartinine w/ green tea before as my pre-workout and fat burning supplement and do cardio for 30 mins with HR goal of 140-150 then go back home and work, then go to gym again later in the day for workout. Is that a good plan? Or can I just drink a protein shake with banana and coconut oil after my cardio and do a 45 min to an hour workout or would that be overkill?
Also my food, I’m going to keep it 40/30/30 (Protein/Carbs/Fat) ratio. Eat mostly protein like egg whites, chicken breast, and tuna. Eat sweet potatoes, brown rice, and veggies for carbs. Have healthy fat like olive oil or whole milk in my diet.

At your size, I personally wouldn’t recommend it. I’m 5’8 190 and I still feel skinny

But since you have put in time building muscle, you’ll have a better experience figuring out how to maintain the muscle you’ve built. Look at some of Jeff Nippard’s videos on “Mini Cuts”, a 2-4 week period in a caloric deficit will probably get you to where you want.

I personally don’t do fasted cardio, but I heard that it doesn’t make a huge difference if you don’t maintain a caloric deficit during the day. Try out a few things and see what works for you.

I haven’t cut ever, but my wife wants to lose weight, so I’ll probably go on a few mini cuts to be a good example so we’re on the same page in training.

Wow. That’s my goal weight. Impressive!

What if I just do a month? Like, do cardio in the morning then a workout later in the day while eating 2100 calories a day? I get what you’re saying that it’s kind of not worth it. My plan is once I get down to 10% body-fat, I will go back to lean bulking. Just know that I don’t do dirty bulk. Even with bulking I barely gain body fat, it takes a long time for me to gain a pound or two of body fat. I eat all good food for muscle building. So I can still maintain a good physique and I want to make a good first impression when I look for a job as a personal trainer this year after finishing my study guide on NASM.

Also, I read an article here on T-Nation that if you cut and then go back to bulking. You will “reset” your muscle gain/metabolism and gain muscle fast again. Have you heard anything about this? Is this bro-science bs or true? I can’t remember what the article title was, it was a few months ago.

I’ll have to find that article. If you spend a month on a mini-cut I don’t think it’ll impact your long term goals at all. You have the rest of your life to bulk haha! If you think the food isn’t enough to support recovery, you can always just eat more, or cut the mini cut short.

Personally my bulk was dirty and I got up to a skinny fat 180 and had to slowly recomp my way up to 190. Seeing a little serratus and abs finally.

Post a picture

That is BS

I think the article was called tips on muscle building or something like that.


First of all, congrats on putting on 55lbs and clearly not just fat (from your photo you just posted). That would have taken some commitment to eating and lifting (assuming you weren’t saying you weighed 100lbs when you were like 12yrs old).

You still look quite lean, and my personal recommendation would not be to cut at your current size. You have a bicep/forearm vein!

I see that this is your goal, but I think that dieting down at this point will just give you that six pack that skinny 12yr old kids have. Likely not what you’re picturing your mid section will look like when you shed that last few lbs.

Your main goals seem to be aesthetic, so I would suggest hopping on a bodybuilding split, and eating at least at maintenance (I would suggest surplus) for a couple of months and see how it goes.

Are you going to be shirtless in your interview? You are going to look very small at 5’8" and under 150lbs after a cut, it doesn’t matter how defined your 6-pack is. I’m a member of the 5’8 camp as well, and two years ago when I cut down to 205lbs my friends started commenting that I was getting “small” (they were more just poking fun, but I did look smaller in clothes). I walk around at 220-225lbs these days, and while my 6-pack is just a blurry outline, I look a hell of a lot bigger/stronger in a shirt.

BUT, since your thread is asking about cutting: My advice would be to keep protein up (>1g/lb of BW), and keep calorie expenditure greater than calorie intake. This can be done by adding in some cardio, more or longer duration workouts, and/or removing calories, etc…

A little long-winded post, but hopefully something can be taken away from it.


Nothing worth adding other than I second @littlesleeper


Yeah I didn’t realize your objective of being a trainer and cutting weight to be a trainer.

I don’t think people will be impressed with your body fat %age as a trainer, and you’ll look smaller. Might as well put on some mass and beef up a little. Clients don’t mind a trainer who’s got a little body fat - in my experience at gyms, these trainers always seemed more relatable to general population clients.

I think you’ve got an impressive physique for being 5’8 155, and def look a little bigger than 155.

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Thanks and yes, I remember being like 18-19 years old and my weight would be like 100 to 108.

That’s probably a better idea. Maybe I will just do a split workout (or do a PPL if I get bored) and do cardio before or after my workout. Maybe I should eat 2800-3000 calories which are my maintenance amount. I currently eat 3500 calories and gain about 0.25% weight per week. See how it goes.

Nah, not going to be shirtless. I haven’t even finished my studying yet. I have yet to take the test. I’m confident that I will pass the test.

Yeah, it would also suck that all my clothes start to look too big on me lol. I will see how keeping my protein up and doing cardio with little fewer calories total works out.

Thanks for the advice.

Well I’m really doing it for myself. I never had a six-pack and kind of wish I do. I want to look my best for good first impression for any employer who is hiring a personal trainer for their gym, same goes for the clients as well.

Thanks, it keeps me motivated. Sometimes I think I’m small or not so muscular. I have to sometimes remind myself that I am 5’8 and not 6’3" and not compare myself to others.

So now I’m down to 140 lbs with 15% body fat. I got more muscle definition and don’t really have a six-pack at all which sucks. I’m starting to feel weak and getting sick of working out. I feel like that cutting has caused me to get very tired all the time and extremely weak. Is it also possible that I don’t have enough abs muscle where even with low body fat it won’t show?? I’m down to eating 1600 calories a day…

Should I just start lean bulking? Start with 2000 calories and add 100 every 2 or 3 weeks?


I think you shoulda been best off lean bulking. You dropped down to 140, lost 15 lbs and stayed around the same estimate body fat, you look pretty much the same too.

If your lifts or conditioning didn’t improve you played yourself

Didn’t the majority of people warn you off of doing any cutting? How that work out for you again?

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How did you go from this ^ to this:

Too drastic. You’ve more than likely crashed your metabolism and your body will want to store any excess calories as fat. Go back to maintenance, but it’ll probably be lower than before this experience.

Are you a personal trainer yet?

Are you still losing on 1600 calories? How long have you held 140 lbs? How do you track your food intake?

Well, I had 22% body fat. I know I thought I had less in the beginning. It’s now 15%. My lifts didn’t improve though, my conditioning and cardio did. I was losing 1-2 lbs per week.

I gradually decrease my calories every week or so. I started in around the end of March. If I didn’t lose any weight by end of week, I would decrease my calories by 200 calories. Keeping protein and carbs higher than fat (40% protein, 40% carbs, 30% carbs). I didn’t just go from 3000 to 1600 in a week, that would have be a very bad idea. It was over the course of 3 months.

I’m already planning on going on maintenance then lean bulk in a month or so.

Not a personal trainer yet, haven’t had a chance to study or look for a job. I’m in the middle of fixing my life after a lot of bad stuff happened.