T Nation

Help Losing the Last Ten


I need a little help losing the last ten pounds of fat. I’m 52 years old, 6’1", weigh 182 pounds at 12.5% body fat (scale). In the last two weeks I’ve gotten a bit more serious about dropping the weight and am tracking calories and macros. I have lost four pounds since then but half of them were muscle, so I would like some feedback on how to continue losing weight but without losing muscle.

I’m using an app that calculates my daily requirement to lose 1/2 pound per week at 2,290 calories per day. It also adds required calories based on my activity level. Based on that app, I am averaging 1700 net calories per day, or a deficit of 590 per day, in addition to the 500 originally calculated for my goal of losing a half pound per week, so about 1000 calories per day, which works out to two pounds per week. This is what I have experienced, so it seems the calculations are accurate.

I am averaging 34% carbs, 33% protein, and 32% fat.

I lift three times per week, walk excessively, and practice karate twice a week.

Any suggestions on how I can keep losing fat without losing muscle would be greatly appreciated.


Easy. You have no muscle to lose.


Courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

e-thug: Usually a nerdy pussy who has no real friends. But online, they think they’re the best thing since fried chicken and think they can easily kick anyone’s ass.


fears of muscle loss on a cut are massively overblown, and it’s usually the case people don’t have as much muscle as they think they do. Not saying it’s the case with you, necessarily, but it often is.

How do you know you lost 2lbs of muscle?


Just by using the body fat scale, which I know isn’t very accurate. I record weight and body fat everyday and then average it for the week. Two weeks ago I weighed four pounds more than I do now and my body fat was 13.6%.

Two weeks probably isn’t enough to determine a trend and I should probably just be patient, but I’m confused by all of the different macro guidelines out there - low carb, low fat, etc…

For what it’s worth, I’m just trying to get below ten, stabilize, and then start a long term, clean, bulk. I know I need to add muscle, that it will be difficult at my age, but I want to get my body fat low and keep it low while I try to add some muscle.


Do everything EyeDentist did.

I’m only partly exaggerating, because that wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world and the guy’s in phenomenal shape regardless of age.

Some more details about your current training would help give some context. This article from Paul Carter has some general tips to tweak your approach.

I would suggest, though, ditching the bodyfat scale as a means of measuring or even tracking progress. It’s just too finicky, especially a scale one that can give inconsistent readings 6 hours apart. Stick with weekly photos, measuring inches, bodyweight, and performance in the gym (strength and reps). Get an idea of your target image (what “below 10%” means to you) and work towards that.


Thanks for weighing in Chris, I appreciate it. I’ve read Eye Dentist’s training log before and have incorporated a lot of the information into my efforts, but it’s worth going back and re-reading.

Currently I lift three days a week in a full body routine alternating heavy and light days (3x8 on heavy, 3x15 on light). I have done push/pull and upper/lower splits in the past. I rarely get to failure as I am injury averse at my age. While I have lifted off and on all of my life, I’ve only gotten serious about it in the last two years (have dropped 35 pounds). I’m far from being intense in the gym, but I get my work in. I’ll read the Carter article.

Oh, the scale…I actually have two, and an Omron hand held unit…and calipers. My current scale seems to be pretty consistent and I try to eliminate the inconsistencies by using a weekly average rather than looking at daily results. But, I think it’s a smidge high, and my skill, or lack thereof, with the calipers has me lower than I believe I am, and the Omron is not near either of them. So I don’t take the scale as gospel, but feel it does give me a decent idea. As far as the mirror goes, I still have that belly fat that tells me I can lose a bit more, but some of it is stretched out skin from the weight loss. Eye Dentist has the same issue (at least one thing we have in common) and addressed it in one of his posts.

My personal opinion is that I’m low on carbs and high on fats but I’m far from knowledgeable. I also think I need to raise my calories to slow the weight loss to keep what muscle I have.

TMI, I know, but that’s what I’m thinking.


Many things you could do.

3 sets is really not that much work especially if not going near failure.

-On light day try a high volume finisher ie do the final excercise for 7x15 with 30 secs rest.