T Nation

Help Me Shred


#1

Hello everyone, I've decided that I want to really lean out over the summer here and I'm hoping to get some critiques here to help that happen. Part of my motivation is to see how much muscle I'm carrying and then build up without gaining much fat and the other part is that I'm a bit vain and it's summer. But hey, nothing wrong with that.

My training has been a 10x3 variant 4 days per week with a Monday press, Tuesday deadlift, Thursday Bench, and Friday Squat. I'm thinking of adding in a fifth day probably Sunday for cleans or another olympic lift. I'm 19 years old so my recovery ability I've realized is naturally ungodly so I'm trying to take full advantage of that. I also have an order of Plazma coming in so that'll be helpful as well.

My diet has been cleaned up significantly since the semester finished now that I'm out of the dining hall and cooking all my own meals. I've been getting 2900 calories per day in at 122 fat, 200 carb, and 250 protein. I've noticed some recomp effects and I've obviously got plenty of room to reduce carbs and fat to put me in a good deficit. I'm not sure what exactly my weight is since I don't have a scale handy but last time I weighed myself (about 2-3 weeks ago) I was 210. It doesn't matter what my weight is to me since I'm not in any sports with weight classes. I'm more concerned with looking good so as long as the measurements are headed in the right direction I'm probably doing alright.

Here are my stats:
Height 6 feet
Weight 210ish
Arms 15.75 inches
Calves 16 inches
Waist (navel) 32.25 inches
Waist (largest) 33.5 inches
Shoulders (outside) 48.5 inches
Thighs 25 inches

I'm not sure exactly how to start. Like I said, I've been noticing a bit of a recomp effect happening so I'm not sure if I should ride that out until it stops or if I should cut carbs a bit to drop my calories now. I've read a bit about carb/calorie cycling approaches and they look promising. If I'm going that route this is what I had thought:
Low days (2 per week - off days) limit carbs to vegetables only, get the protein and fat in (~2100 calories, could drop fat some)
Normal days (3 per week) limit carbs to vegetables and Plazma, maybe a cup of rice or a potato post-workout for about 100-200 grams per day, keep protein and fat normal (~2500-2900 calories depending on carbs, again could drop fat some)
High days (2 per week) bump carbs up to 400 or so grams, keep protein at 250, and drop fat to just fish oil (Flameout, specifically) and the little that comes with the other food (~2900 calories)

I've never actively tried to lean out before so I would much appreciate any advice you have to offer, whether it's a mild critique of the plan or a radical change because I'm just wrong. Do you think a carb-cycling approach is warranted or dou you think a straight caloric reduction be better for me?

I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow morning.

Best,
David


#2

Hey David, best of luck with your cut! Wish I could do a little summer cut myself, I know I gotta keep growing though haha. I would consider redistributing some of your calories coming from fat to carbs. 120 g of fat is awfully high for only having 200 g carbs. In most cases, and especially for natural lifters, I think keeping carbs as high as possible while still losing fat at an acceptable rate is very beneficial for long term success and adherance.

Typically I’ll start someone on a cut at between .35-.5 g of fat per lb/bw. For you, if you split the difference there and called it .4 g fat/lb bw, it’d put you at 85 g fat. That gives you room to add in about 80 more carbs. I don’t really see much benefit in pushing fat any higher than the 110-120 g range for most athletes at the peak of their offseasons. At that point I think you’re better off adding more carbs or protein.

So especially while dieting and with carbs already dropping to 200, I don’t think you need as much fat as you’re taking in, and I definitely wouldn’t lower carbs further without dropping calories from fat first.


#3

Thanks for the advice pwolves. What’s the motivation for higher carbs/lower fat intake? I’ve read a lot about carbs affecting fat loss rates so I’m curious.


#4

Here are some (not ideal) pictures from this morning.


#5

[quote]DavidMas wrote:
Thanks for the advice pwolves. What’s the motivation for higher carbs/lower fat intake? I’ve read a lot about carbs affecting fat loss rates so I’m curious.[/quote]

Carbs are the macronutrient most closely related to leptin levels, one of the reasons that carb refeeds are effective. Keeping carbs as high as possible will also fuel performance in the gym, keep you getting a good pump during training in a caloric deficit, and just keep you feeling better and more energized overall. Fat loss will mostly come down to total energy intake/expenditure.

No particular macronutrient needs to be eliminated or greatly reduced. Obviously everyone is different in terms of what they’ll need to do to get truly shredded, where some people might need to go keto to finish out a diet. But when it comes to just getting “beach lean,” I call b.s. for the most part when I hear someone say “my body doesn’t respond well to carbs” or “I’m carb sensitive.” Usually if these people were to adjust their protein and fat intake to reasonable levels, they’d be surprised by how many carbs they’re able to diet on


#6

Don’t listen to pwolves he’s a skinny fat newb. What’s he know about getting lean?

But srs you probably should be eating more carbs OP. I was about your size when starting my cut and I never really went under 220g of daily carbs.


#7

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
Don’t listen to pwolves he’s a skinny fat newb. What’s he know about getting lean?

But srs you probably should be eating more carbs OP. I was about your size when starting my cut and I never really went under 220g of daily carbs. [/quote]

I see how it is Kev…now that you’re a hotshot law student/Kentucky basketball fan, you’re gonna talk down to me!


#8

Good stuff. So I take it you would recommend not cycling and just doing a straight caloric reduction? How do you determine how much to cut and when to reduce more? Watch for measurements stalling after a week or two?


#9

[quote]DavidMas wrote:
My training has been a 10x3 variant 4 days per week with a Monday press, Tuesday deadlift, Thursday Bench, and Friday Squat. I’m thinking of adding in a fifth day probably Sunday for cleans or another olympic lift.
[/quote]

Strictly as an aside: I don’t understand adding an Olympic lift when you’re “more concerned with looking good.”

[quote]
If I’m going that route this is what I had thought:
Low days (2 per week - off days) limit carbs to vegetables only, get the protein and fat in (~2100 calories, could drop fat some)
Normal days (3 per week) limit carbs to vegetables and Plazma, maybe a cup of rice or a potato post-workout for about 100-200 grams per day, keep protein and fat normal (~2500-2900 calories depending on carbs, again could drop fat some)
High days (2 per week) bump carbs up to 400 or so grams, keep protein at 250, and drop fat to just fish oil (Flameout, specifically) and the little that comes with the other food (~2900 calories)[/quote]

I think the basic outline is solid, and believe carb-cycling would work just fine for you. And I’m a fan of having a couple of very-low-carb days in the week. However, as others have mentioned, I would swap out some of the fat cals for carbs on your Normal days. I also think you could get away with dropping protein some on your Normal and High carb days; ie, keep Pro around 250 on Low days, but closer to 200-220 on the others.


#10

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

Strictly as an aside: I don’t understand adding an Olympic lift when you’re “more concerned with looking good.”
[/quote]

Olympic lifting is something I think worth improving on. I’m more concerned with looking good but I’d like to perform well too. I think adding an explosive movement like one of the Olympic lifts would be a good additional stimulus. Is there something you would recommend instead?

Very helpful, thank you!


#11

[quote]DavidMas wrote:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

Strictly as an aside: I don’t understand adding an Olympic lift when you’re “more concerned with looking good.”
[/quote]

Olympic lifting is something I think worth improving on. I’m more concerned with looking good but I’d like to perform well too. I think adding an explosive movement like one of the Olympic lifts would be a good additional stimulus. Is there something you would recommend instead?
[/quote]

Judging by your pics, and speaking strictly of aesthetics: I would say make medial delts a priority–they are lagging behind your arms and traps. Speaking of which, an emphasis on explosive Olympic-type pulls might compound this aesthetics issue by resulting in more trap size.

But hey, your priorities are your own, so do what makes you happy.


#12

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

[quote]DavidMas wrote:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

Strictly as an aside: I don’t understand adding an Olympic lift when you’re “more concerned with looking good.”
[/quote]

Olympic lifting is something I think worth improving on. I’m more concerned with looking good but I’d like to perform well too. I think adding an explosive movement like one of the Olympic lifts would be a good additional stimulus. Is there something you would recommend instead?
[/quote]

Judging by your pics, and speaking strictly of aesthetics: I would say make medial delts a priority–they are lagging behind your arms and traps. Speaking of which, an emphasis on explosive Olympic-type pulls might compound this aesthetics issue by resulting in more trap size.

But hey, your priorities are your own, so do what makes you happy.[/quote]

You’re probably right. My traps do have a fair amount of size and those pictures don’t really show it well and I do think my delts are behind. Would you recommend putting in a higher rep press session with isolation for the shoulders?


#13

[quote]DavidMas wrote:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

[quote]DavidMas wrote:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

Strictly as an aside: I don’t understand adding an Olympic lift when you’re “more concerned with looking good.”
[/quote]

Olympic lifting is something I think worth improving on. I’m more concerned with looking good but I’d like to perform well too. I think adding an explosive movement like one of the Olympic lifts would be a good additional stimulus. Is there something you would recommend instead?
[/quote]

Judging by your pics, and speaking strictly of aesthetics: I would say make medial delts a priority–they are lagging behind your arms and traps. Speaking of which, an emphasis on explosive Olympic-type pulls might compound this aesthetics issue by resulting in more trap size.

But hey, your priorities are your own, so do what makes you happy.[/quote]

You’re probably right. My traps do have a fair amount of size and those pictures don’t really show it well and I do think my delts are behind. Would you recommend putting in a higher rep press session with isolation for the shoulders?[/quote]

No, you look like you do enough pressing already. Instead, try some of the nonpressing movements/supersets demonstrated in this thread:


#14

Thanks, EyeDentist. I’ll give that a look and update.

Edit: Adding in the diet recommendations, I’ve got a weekly plan that looks about like this:

Sunday off lifting 100 fat, minimal carb, 250 protein ~1900 calories
Monday press 85 fat, 250 carb, 220 protein ~2600 calories
Tuesday deadlift 85 fat, 400 carb, 200 protein, ~3100 calories
Wednesday off lifting, 100 fat, minimal carb, 250 protein ~1900 calories
Thursday bench 85 fat, 400 carb, 200 protein ~3100 calories
Friday squat 85 fat, 250 carb, 220 protein ~2600 calories
Saturday growth factor complexes 85 fat, 250 carb, 220 protein ~2600 calories

Which over the week averages to just shy of 2600 calories daily. Does that look like a good starting point?


#15

[quote]pwolves17 wrote:
Kentucky basketball fan [/quote]

Why must you hurt me?


#16

[quote]DavidMas wrote:
Thanks, EyeDentist. I’ll give that a look and update.

Edit: Adding in the diet recommendations, I’ve got a weekly plan that looks about like this:

Sunday off lifting 100 fat, minimal carb, 250 protein ~1900 calories
Monday press 85 fat, 250 carb, 220 protein ~2600 calories
Tuesday deadlift 85 fat, 400 carb, 200 protein, ~3100 calories
Wednesday off lifting, 100 fat, minimal carb, 250 protein ~1900 calories
Thursday bench 85 fat, 400 carb, 200 protein ~3100 calories
Friday squat 85 fat, 250 carb, 220 protein ~2600 calories
Saturday growth factor complexes 85 fat, 250 carb, 220 protein ~2600 calories

Which over the week averages to just shy of 2600 calories daily. Does that look like a good starting point?[/quote]

Looks good to me.


#17

Hey,

I’ll definitely be following this thread - I’m almost in the exact same position, just a couple pounds heavier. Started off at 225, but down to 217 right now, at 6’.

You mention that your daily average is just shy of 2600 cals. Do you, or does anyone else on here, find it more beneficial to cycle calories up and down, with the goal to hit an average throughout the week, vs just hitting the ~2600 each day?

Thanks!

Ben


#18

[quote]Tougher wrote:
Hey,

I’ll definitely be following this thread - I’m almost in the exact same position, just a couple pounds heavier. Started off at 225, but down to 217 right now, at 6’.

You mention that your daily average is just shy of 2600 cals. Do you, or does anyone else on here, find it more beneficial to cycle calories up and down, with the goal to hit an average throughout the week, vs just hitting the ~2600 each day?

Thanks!

Ben[/quote]

For me, carb cycling has definite psychological benefits–specifically, it helps me manage the stress that inevitably accrues when one attempts to maintain a significant caloric deficit for an extended period of time. There are possible metabolic benefits as well, in that it might enhance insulin sensitivity.


#19

[quote]Tougher wrote:
Hey,

I’ll definitely be following this thread - I’m almost in the exact same position, just a couple pounds heavier. Started off at 225, but down to 217 right now, at 6’.

You mention that your daily average is just shy of 2600 cals. Do you, or does anyone else on here, find it more beneficial to cycle calories up and down, with the goal to hit an average throughout the week, vs just hitting the ~2600 each day?

Thanks!

Ben[/quote]

I’m currently cutting and basically carb cycle. How I handled this is by tracking my calories for the day, but not tracking my additional carbs on lifting days (I lift every other day). My additional carbs come from a gatorade during lifting, which absolutely has a noticeable effect, and a banana after (with a scoop of whey).

I’d recommend throwing in some carbs around/during your workout.


#20

Thanks to both of you. I think I’ll start cycling carbs. I do like the idea of being able to take in a little more on training days. I also like the idea of adding in the extra carbs during and right after training.

Sorry David, I didn’t mean to hijack your thread.