T Nation

Hard Cutting, Avoiding Metabolism Shutdown

Disclaimers: I have been cutting for 4 weeks and recording weight, training, macros, and measurements, all with pictures, via training log found here

I am not taking any PEDs or AAS, 2 previous cycles of SARMs RAD140 and YK11, but that is all. Used PCT with both.
Current Stats:
Weight: 223(ish)
Height: 5’9"
Arms: 17.75"
Waist: 37.5"
Thighs: 27.5"
BF%: IDFK

PR’s:
Incline Bench: 245x5
Back Squat: 405x5
Deadlift: 495x5

Current Supplements:
CLA - 1 pill daily
Biotest Micellar Curcumin - 1x daily

Maintenance Calories (roughly): 3150

I started cutting first two weeks at 500cal daily deficit and increased to 1000cal daily deficit in 3rd and 4th weeks. I am down about 7lbs from starting this cut, which is fairly consistent with what I expected. I am new to cutting so if i make, or have made some gaffes, give me some leniency - but please let me know where/what I did wrong.
Goal
I believe I have somewhere in the vicinity of 15-20lbs to lose until I reach a maintainable level of lean-ness that I feel comfortable at (approximate 200lbs and 10-12% BF, both are guesses).

I have been looking into running the Velocity Diet in hopes it will help me blast away the rest of this weight. I am ~1000cal deficit at 2150 calories daily (40% protein/ 25% fat/ 35% carbs) losing about 2lbs per week. According to the Velocity Diet, I will be around 1300 calories per day… This will leave me at about 1850cal daily deficit - which should be around 3.5-4lbs weight loss per week. Math tells me this will be about 15lbs loss over the course of 28 days, which is fine by me - i will be very close to my goal if all this holds true.

My concern is that I don’t want to shut down my metabolism (or at least minimize adaptive thermogenesis). Not that this actually happens, but whether it be based in science or bro-science, I have it engrained in my head that the less you eat, the more your body wants to hold on to what you have eaten via slowing the metabolism. If I decide to undertake the Velocity Diet, should I allow for a week or so of maintenance calories prior in between my already aggressive cut, and the V-Diet - a more aggressive cut?

Again, i’m new to cutting so if my concern is merely bro science, then please tell me.

I also have an abundance of Clen on hand if/when i reach a sticking point, but i don’t intend to use it unless i actually find myself stuck… Something i don’t expect to happen unless i am delving into unsustainably lean territory, which isn’t the goal.

This does not happen. Forget about that.

NO

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That’s not the Velocity Diet. The V-Diet has guys on 1700-2100 calories per day. The 1300 is what you get from shakes, the daily Healthy Solid Meal delivers the rest of the calories.

If I followed right, you’ve lost 7 pounds in 4 weeks. I wouldn’t call dropping 1-2 pounds a week aggressive in terms of results, but a 1,000-calorie deficit is pretty steep restriction.

Depending on what your macros look like currently, you may be able to shift right over to the V-Diet since the calories can be pretty comparable. It’s a relatively lower carb plan, so if you’re reducing carbs while maintaining a similar calorie intake, you should be able to spur on more fat loss.

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“By using a cyclical approach to fat loss, you’re able to push your body to burn bodyfat over the course of two weeks. But your body naturally begins to fight back, slowing down your metabolism and thyroid function as a protective mechanism.”
^^^ This is why i said what i said lol

Not sure if this was clear enough here, but i really don’t intend to use it. If i found myself without visible abs and was at a severe calorie restriction, making no progress - that is when i would consider using clen, but i see no reason why this would happen.

I have lost 500+ lbs in the last 30 years. I have gone 10 months at 1200 calories per day before.

My metabolism has never shut down.

throw it away, if you care about your heart.

get some salbutamol.

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Per the Velocity Diet: “Remember, you’ll have five shakes each day, spread evenly throughout the day, for 28 days. Once a week you’ll enjoy a healthy solid meal (HSM).”
Unless I’m misunderstanding, only one meal a WEEK would be delivering the rest of those calories.

You’re following correctly. I started out aiming for 1lb loss per week and increased to 2lb per week after first 2 weeks. At 1000cal daily deficit, math adds that up to 7000 cal per week; 3500cal per pound of fat x2 is 7000 calories. I guess i’m not sure how 1-2lb isn’t considered aggressive but 1000cal deficit IS considered steep. Teach me your ways :sweat_smile:

Current macros (aproximate):
40% Protein (200g)
25% Fat (65g)
35% Carbs (160g)

Metabolism doesn’t shut down period. I probably should have used better words; i don’t want my metabolism to adjust such that i am fighting diminishing returns. That being said, it sounds that i dont really have to worry though - so thank you.

How did Clen go from an essential in cutting to worthless in such a short time? I know it has potential for heart problems, but that information was never not known… didn’t stop people from taking it heavily

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I should have used better words than “shut down” also because I understand what you meant.

What I should have said.

I don’t think I experienced any meaningful metabolic adaptation with a very aggressive deficit that had me losing 3lbs per week for an extended period of time.

If you were to comb through the cutting portion of my log you’d find me using as much as 120mcg of clen daily.

It’s an incredible compound. I love it.

Some of the people I trust saw that and encouraged me to manage my risk better by using its cousin salbutamol.

I read enough bad stuff to scare myself into stopping.

I am on other boards where they say the risk is overblown and they are still using it.

:man_shrugging:

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will have to look into salbutamol more. I’ve taken a cycle of Clen (ramped from 20mg to 120mg over 2 weeks) but didnt notice much other than my muscles cramping pretty badly… I also didnt have my diet in check at all so that didnt help lol.

I feel like the risk of using clen is perpetuated by people that misuse it - much like any other AAS. IF i wound up at a point where i wanted to lose more weight than i could reasonably do via calorie restriction - i would likely only need 1 or 2 cycles of clen to get me where i needed to go anyhow. Risk is pretty low for my purposes IMO but yeah, feels like shit being on it too so :man_shrugging:

As always, thank you for your insight

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Not sure where you saw that recommendation, but it’s an old version of the program. Still effective, just a different animal. This is the current plan: Velocity Diet® Plan - The New Science of Rapid Body Transformation - Biotest

For the last six years or so, it’s been a daily HSM for reasons explained here.

For fat loss, 1-2 pounds per week is a very conservative rate of progress that should be maintainable for quite a long while.

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This is what i get for avoiding creating a login for Biotest and downloading it from the interwebs :joy: I guess it’s time for me to make a Biotest account…

I like this new one more to be honest, i was worried i’d miss eating food without a straw lol

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Did you increase your deficit because you stopped losing weight?

I think @jskrabac wrote a great “article” on cutting, it is here:

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No, i was simply impatient and didnt want to suffer for 6 months lol. hard cut = faster turnaround to being able to eat normal-ish and making progress on lifts again.

EDIT:
Read the “article” and it was pretty solid. I’m tempted to reduce MISS cardio for a bit, or until i hit a sticking point. Thank you for sharing!

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If I had a lot to lose, I’d prefer slow and steady. I’ve lost a lot of weight, it is questionable what happened with muscle during that time (I was so fat it was hard to gauge what muscle I had). Being in that state for a long period of time wasn’t the best (mentally), so I respect not wanting to be in a long, drawn-out, cut.

But, for what it is worth, you can always take a diet break. You don’t have to suffer for 6 months. I’d argue that being in a deficit for 8-10 weeks with 3 week diet breaks might prove more productive and put you at less risk of injury and other adverse effects.

But, I can almost assure you that weight loss will stall, and if calories are already floored then that leaves a very limited playbook. Essentially taking a break, which might imply a rebound (especially if you cut harder than you should’ve), or adding cardio for which you have very little fuel already.

Here’s my mental model of metabolism that serves to explain why someone’s metabolism “shuts down” (read: slows): budget. When you have an adequate caloric intake, your body can recover, and run all of its constituent elements at full force. That means that your organs, such as kidneys, liver, et al. and bodily processes such as recovery, growing nails and hair, etc. can all operate at their best degree of performance.

What happens when you take calories out is that the body still has to do those things, but it starts to do them more poorly as the resources aren’t there anymore. While your body would have allotted 100 calories for a certain function before, now it’ll allot 80. Or, maybe they don’t operate more poorly, maybe they even become more efficient. They’ll accomplish as much, but using fewer calories. So what before took 100 calories now gets done with 80. Whether or not that actually happens is almost beside the point. Fewer calories are used, and that is what metabolic slowdown is to me.

Kind of like how, if you have a public school system and you get 10 more kids, but you don’t hire any more teachers you can always just tell pre-existing teachers to improve their efficiency to handle the new workload.

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I’ve been measuring biceps, waist, and thighs for this reason. If i’m cutting too aggressively - my arm and thigh measurement will go down as well. Not to say that either are fat-free, but there isn’t much fat on them… if arm size takes a hit, it shouldn’t be a big one.

I don’t believe im too aggressive in my current approach so if i were to take a week off dieting, i dont expect a rebound - but that is dependent on gauging my maintenance calories properly. I also dont expect i will need to diet too much longer with either my current approach, or using the V-Diet. I lost 7lbs in the last month - assuming i had 20-30lbs to lose at starting, i should only have another 2-3 months on current track.

The more i think about the V-Diet, the more i sell myself on it. If i only have ~15lbs to lose, and the program reads like it will help me lost about 10lbs, maybe i should give my current diet another 2-3 weeks at about -2lbs/week and then give the V-Diet a run-through for the finisher.