T Nation

Frustrated on Cut?


8/3/11 UPDATE!

Just wanted to post a quick update!

So I added in 4 oz. of brown rice as a pre-workout meal about 45 minutes to an hour before I work out. I notice I have more energy and more 'pop' in my workouts now. I switched the fruit I usually had before to post-workout (an apple & a banana) and then down my usual chicken/broccoli dinner. I'm at 2531 calories, 231 carbs, 37 fiber. So I'm around 200 net carbs for my training days which is actually double what I was getting before. I cut out the intense a.m. conditioning and swapped in incline walking on a treadmill, fasted.

I noticed yesterday I looked much leaner through my torso, and my chest actually looked thicker & denser, so I weighed myself first thing in the a.m. after going to the bathroom...200 lbs! It's not just my imagination either; there's a semi-pro bb'er at my gym who I talk to frequently, he noticed I look much more cut over the last few weeks, and that I'm looking 'fuller'. I'm assuming it's glycogen in the muscles. I'm actually happy with how this is going, so I may not reduce the carbs in a week or so as I had initially planned to do once I was out of the rut.

Thanks again guys & gals!


OK, so I recently bulked up to 231 lbs., and started a cut on March 1. I'm down to 200 lbs. as of this morning, but the problem I'm having is that I don't seem to be losing any more fat. My abs are visible, as is my serratus, but they have been since a few weeks ago since I was 206. I feel like after a certain point on a cut my body just starts cannibalizing muscle instead of fat, and I don't know what to do.

I feel like I'm doing everything right as far as nutrition goes; ~2200 calories per day, 280g protein, keeping carbs around pre and post workout, and some in the morning for a total of about 115 net on training days. The only day that I do post workout carbs is on tuesday after my brutal squat/front squat workouts. I take in about 150g of carbs before I demolish some meat. 3 days per week before I do my PM workouts I also do a fasted AM cardio session usually consisting of some form of tabata, kb swings, jump work, etc.

On the two days per week when I do conditioning only I take in about 15g net carbs, and do fasted conditioning work in the A.M. The only thing I can think of to do is on the 3 days per week when I do two-adays take in some carbs after my PM workout to restore glycogen. Maybe I'm doing too much on those days to only take in about 115 net carbs?

So I feel like since nutrition is pretty much where it should be and I get 9 hours of sleep per night that only leaves training. I upped volume by doing a lot more sets in the 8-10 rep range, and set a couple of my goals for the cut to be get to 10 reps @ 400 on deadlifting and 10 reps @ 300 for squatting. This Friday I may get the 10 @ 400, and Tuesday I actually set a new PR on front squats, so my strength is staying up, but I feel like I'm not holding on to weight the way I want to.

It's frustrating as fuck because I keep ending up at the same FUCKING point after every cut. 187 @ 10.5% bf. EVERY.FUCKING.TIME. No matter how disciplined I am, no matter what my weight gets up to, no matter how much muscle I add, I lose everything until I'm back at that same fucking weight, and now I'm only 13 lbs. away from it again. It makes bulking seem pointless since I'm going to lose everything anyway.

So what the hell am I supposed to do? Is there something wrong with my routine? It's still based around the major compound movements 4 times per week, mostly in the 8-10 rep range. The other 2 days per week that I workout is my conditioning stuff, usually plyometrics, and explosive stuff as I noted before. The A.M. conditioning workouts I do 3x per week before PM weighted workouts are the same. Here's my most recent workouts from my log:


Can someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong here? I'm really getting sick of this shit.


I'll start by saying I'm no expert and there are many others here more qualified to help you but....

Maybe you're in a calorie deficit for too long? Almost 5 months now. I would try 2 or 3 months then maintain for at least a few weeks before going back at it.


I dont know if I would be doing those types of higher intensity "cardio" during a FMC session. That seems like a good way to eat up some muscle if you ask me.

I prefer low intensity FMC, such as, the stair master or incline walking on the treadmill.

Thats what first jumped out to me about your post. I'm no expert though so maybe you'll get better advice.

and maybe you've just been at it too long? Why not just do a month or two of maintaining and then get back after it a bit more?


Dude, do regular cardio.

Go for a long walk or hop on an eliptical

If you want to amp shit up, jump rope and do sprint


Now that you guys mention it, it has been almost 5 months. Shit...I thought I was closing in on 3. Time flies. Maybe cut back on morning workout intensity, change it to incline walking or something. Then add in post-wo carbs, say a couple hundred calories worth of brown rice after all my workouts.


How long did you carry the extra weight (from the time you reached 225+).....12 months, 18 months, 24 months?

If you added 20+% to your bodyweight, how much did your 'money' lifts (squat, pull, press, row) incresae? How much have they decreased during your cut?

How many grams of the protein are from solid food? Red Meat? ...from suppliments?

Fat grams per day?

I realize everyone is different, but 2,200 calories would be the absolute 'basement' for a 200lb male in my opinion (I diet on 3,200 and I'm 48yrs old, 5'10" @ 205lb). I am also amazed at what low-carb means today......to me low-carb is 150-200 grams a day. Anytime I've tried to go lower my training goes to shit!


BCT knows his shit. All sound suggestions - I agree that your calories are very low, and having been that low for an extended period of time, you have to think about your level of thyroid hormones.

Eating more and getting into some LISS cardio for awhile may be what you need. Seems like you're trying to cut TOO aggressively perhaps - dialing it back a notch in those areas may prove to be beneficial.


I went from 187 to 231 from sep 1 to mar 1. I was 225+ from mid january on. My bench went from 280*1 to 340*1, squat about 315*1 to 400*1, deadlift of 410 to 470, row 245 to 320. As for what I've lost off them...I'm not sure since I've been doing higher reps.

I would say if someone put a gun to my head I could get 310*1 on benching,380*1 on squats, I think I could actually 500 now so that's gone up, and row around 300.

My protein is around 270 right now, 25 of which is from powder, for fat I believe I'm around 80g per day, mostly from walnuts, fish oil, and other healthy sources


Thanks! I've definitely been feeling 'spacey' lately, probably need some carbs & a couple hundred extra calories per day


i cut for 17 weeks dropping from 208 to 168. My calories at 168 were higher than yours are now. Also, I did no HIIT, only steady state cardio at mod intensity. I had to take my carbs down to zero (small salad daily, weekly cheat meal) for a little over 4 weeks to keep the fat loss rolling. My lifts suffered a small amount but not much overall. Don't get too hung up on your scale weight. Use the mirror and pics.


also, when incline walking, what speed & incline do you guys use?


I keep HR at approx 70% of max.


To be blunt, if you are no longer losing bodyfat and the scale is not going down then you are simply no longer in an energy deficit.

Perhaps you should consider a brief stint at maintenance kcals for a short while, increasing overall kcalorie intake, but of course increasing carbohydrates and maybe dropping some of your activity levels down as well. In doing so you should help to refill depleted muscle glycogen and help to normalise some of the hormones that can become supressed through excessive dieting.

A difficult idea for some; lots of folkes like to feel as though they are moving in some direction with diet and training so maintenance doesnt feel as productive as gaining or leaning out.

Periodically you sometimes have to take one step backwards in order to go that one step forward.


3.2-3.5 MPH @ 10-14% incline


I hate to sound negative, but don't you think you might have overestimated how much muscle you were carrying in the first place? I remember reading way back that you were aiming for 205 lbs at 8% bodyfat. At 5'10, that's an impressive physique. If you check out Bug's log, he dieted to about 200 lbs at around 8-10% bodyfat and looks very impressive.

He's almost 3 inches taller than you and started off his cut with noticeably more muscle and strength than you did. I don't think your original goal was plausible given your size and strenght level in the first place. Your numbers were good but I don't think they'd support 5'10 205 at 8% bf. Maybe 190 would be a better goal?

The other thing I would consider is the fact that you didn't hold your top weight for very long. This is probably a factor as well.

Regarding the calories, I'm not really sure. I'm maintaining almost 245 lbs on about 3500 calories a day. I'm starting my diet August 1st and I wouldn't be suprised if I had to drop to 2,200 calories by the end of it. I really won't know for sure till I get there, but just kind of thinking out loud right now.

I hope you figure it out. I'm sure I'll have the same frustrations soon enough.


I keep my HR between 120 - 130 bpm. Sometimes hit 140, but closer to the lower end. Usually 2.8 - 3.5 mph and anywhere between 30 - 50 % incline.


Dare I ask, any recent pics? a before and after? (please nothing completely naked or disgusting)


you asked for it...


I'll post some this evening, but in my RMP thread to spare others. I may post a front double bi shot here


Dude - please no!!! ; )