T Nation

How Long to Go till I Hit 10%?


I’m doing my first cut. I’ve done mainly powerlifting routines the last two years like an idiot so I basically got really strong, gained fat, and gained no muscle. Switching over to bb routines so I can actually look like I lift.

Eating 1900 calls a day, 160g p a day, bw 158 (light asf I know) but I have a gut that I want to swipe away before I bulk on on bb routine. I’m like a little skinny fat dude.
Lifts are -
Bench 225x 10
W dips- 135x5
W pu- 70 x 5
Db rows 100s x 8s.
How long do you think I have to cut before I hit 10% body fat ish and see some abys? 10 weeks? My lifts are dropping terribly. To all the jacked bros, Feedback would make my day :slight_smile:
Pics for you


It’s all going to depend on:

-How much muscle you honestly have (not how much you think you have)
-What pace of fat loss you can maintain until you reach your goal, or until you bottom out your metabolism by employing a poorly planned cut (I’ll just eat very little and I’ll drop bodyfat!)
-How much muscle you can RETAIN

To be completely frank, your relatively low bodyweight, and the fact that you write that you DB row 100’s, yet only bench 225 makes me think that perhaps you’re not training in a decent manner to maintain muscle, let alone grow, and at the end of your cut, you may not like the results staring you in the mirror.



What do you exactly mean with the bench and rows? My push strength is way beyond my pull strength I will admit. Rowing 100s is not much at all. I have a 1.8x bw bench max which I think is somewhat respectable. I’m eating at a 500 deficit and doing a ppl split.

Like I mentioned before, I know that I don’t have much muscle at all and I’ve already accepted the fact that I will look small if I get to a low body fat. I simply don’t have enough mass to look good because all I’ve done is powerlifting routines. I’m cutting so I can bulk on a hypertrophy routine for longer rather than bulking up now and looking more bloated.


Hey Tim,

Looks like you’re around 15%. So based on that you’d be 10% at 149.

10 weeks would be very reasonable. Your lifts shouldn’t be tanking. What are your carbs and fats at?

I think @The_Mighty_Stu misread your lifting stats. I would say that your rowing strength is low relative to your bench. Also, don’t worry about being in the 150s. I know guys that look jacked at a lean 155. It depends on your height, leg mass, etc…


Yeah 15 seems right. I’m lazy and not counting my carbs or fat. Only cals and protein. That could count for some of the strength loss. My rowing strength is doing fine, just the bench that is being shriveled up. Went from doing 225x 10 to 205 x 8 in two weeks. 135 feels like 185 it’s bad lol.

As for the bodyweight, 149 doesn’t sound too horrible for a little 5"9 guy like me. used to worry about being so light, but realized I really need this cut cus I’m little blob boy.


I think you have been looking at too many men’s fitness magazines…


Do you do any leg stuff like squats, deads, lunges, machines etc.?

Including legs would go a long way towards body composition, and could probably get you heading for a lean and solid 160 inside of 6 mos. rather than a thin mid 140’s.


I think you have been looking at too many men’s fitness magazines…

I’d say instagram feed


Yes I do. It’s been part of my rehab for my knee surgery 4 months ago. Lost a lot of leg mass from that. If I cut down to a little 149 guy and I’m still not lean enough I’ll probably stop cutting


I’m sure Stu will correct me if I’m wrong but I took it to mean that if you are rowing 100s in a manner that would build and maintain mass then you would be pretty strong, he would think you would be have a higher bench. I think your bench is strong so maybe he read it as a 1rm rather than x10.


Just to add, I don’t think you are in anyway fat, you lack muscle mass though. Maybe it would be a good idea to switch your focus to train like a bodybuilder and not a power lifter. Your pressing strength way exceeds mine, but your chest looks to be a weakness physique wise, that’s has surely got to be down to the style of training.

If you bailed on a cut and started adding muscle for a year or so you would look awesome even with your current level of body fat.


Yeah that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing is switching to hypertrophy splits. I’m not ever going to to powerlifting routines anymore. Such a waste of time considering I can’t even compete…

You don’t think I should cut some of that stomach fat before bulking up since I could bulk up for longer if I start leaner? I know I’m very light, but my stomach isn’t defined. Kind of feel like my body fat is too high right now


I’m really not a believer in get lean before you build muscle, it may be beneficial for people who are massively overweight but for someone of your level it’s a waste of time, your not fat at all. I have said this to many people who want to cut, you won’t be happy with how you look when your done because you won’t look how you think you will, that’s down to lack of muscle not excess body fat. Then you will decide to bulk up, worry about being fat and then want to cut again. The whole time this cycle goes on you are getting nowhere. Believe me I’ve been there!

Train abs directly for a while too, building thick strong abs will make them visable even with a bit of a fat coverage.


Jacked bro powerlifter checking in. Jk, sort of.

#1 - You would have to try extremely hard to get really strong and gain no muscle, so I’m skeptical of this observation you made.
#2 - What powerlifting routine(s) have you been doing for the past 2 years? Most powerlifting routines worth their weight have ample accessory movements/rep range variation to spur on that hypertrophy (I’m biased towards 5/3/1). Sure, it is not the main focus of those programs, and you will likely see more gains with a specific BB routine, but it would either be a crappy PL program or user error if you “gained no muscle” in 2 years.
#3 - Your lifts are decent for your weight. So good job there.
#4 - You are far from fat.
#5 - How old are you/how many years lifting experience? (any training beyond the 2yrs of PL training?)

This offends me.

Oh my, please don’t make this a goal. You might get abs, but at the expense of looking like my 8year old cousin…

Feel free to take a peek at my TRAINING LOG; I’m a “little 5’9” guy" as well, currently sitting at 214.0lbs probably similar BF% ish.

Also, the gentleman above have given some great tips. Don’t take any of my comments the wrong way, read them in a bluntly humorous kind of way.

Good luck and feel free to post any more questions, there is a knowledgeable group of lifters on this forum.


A few things… Without knowing your diet history, or how much weight you’ve lost in how much time, it’s pretty impossible to guess how long it will take to hit 10%. Like, if it took you a year to lose 10 lbs, that would lead to a very different answer than if you lost 40 in 6 months, right?

IF you’re actually losing a massive amount of strength while dieting, then you’re dieting wrong. That’s very likely considering you don’t seem to have a real diet plan and don’t count fats or carbs.

But I will also add that you didn’t lose the amount of strength you suggest you have in 2 weeks. To say that you lost so much muscle that you went from 225x10 to 205x8 in 2 weeks is flat out absurd. Not possible, unless you had been hospitalized for that 2 week period, and suffered from extraordinarily severe muscle atrophy. More likely would be that you had a bad day, or maybe you were tired from something else.

Guess I’ve wasted all of my time in the gym then… This is laughable. All I’ve ever done is strength-based routines. I think I look ok. Your problem is likely that you didn’t treat your accessory work like a bodybuilder, which is something I think all people training for strength should do.

If you just don’t want to do powerlifting stuff anymore, and just wanna look good, then cool. Do something else. But you’re telling yourself a lie if you blame that for not putting on the size you would like to have.


Finally on a computer so I can make proper replies. I think you’ve changed my mindset. Not going to lie, I am insecure about my little belly fat, but objectively it’s not horrible so ill just get over it. I am two weeks into this cut and im very slim. Should I go on a 500 surplus and do a kick ass ppl pure hypertrophy split?


Pretty much. I always fancied myself a naturally strong guy in the gym, BUT, when I realized my goal was to build as much muscle as I could, and eventually keep that muscle when I would diet for a contest, I would need to make the muscles do the work no matter what weights I actually employed. Whats the most I ever squatted? Over 500,… but I looked awful, nothing like a bodybuilder, and nowhere near anything where I would have been better off if I had dieted down. Whats the most I ever squatted once I actually cared about building muscle and improving my legs during each off season between contests? Never over 315,… with controlled negatives, explosives concentrics, and never locking out… so when someone tells me they’re Dumbell rowing 100’s for 8, my initial thought is what a strong guy,… then I hear they’re barely over a buck fifty and are looking to cut because they’re soft…

see where my thinking is going here? It’s not meant to sound as harsh as I now realize it does, merely that if you were one of my clients, before I ever slashed your calories to less than my 5’2 wife ate when she dieted for competition, I’d look at how your training. A often repeated line in my emails to people I coach is that I always prefer to have your actual training do the work with changing your physique, and that means we need to feed it.

Perhaps instead of trying to drop down in a dramatic fashion, a more recomp oriented approach, where you lose weigh slower, albeit you’ll be adding lbm at the same time?



You look in alright shape to me, man. Certainly not in desperate need of dropping a load of fat.

Only you can really decide though whether you want to bulk or cut or whatever, as only you have the mental picture of how you want to look. If your ideal physique is shredded then yeah you might want to cut a bit, but otherwise I would just keep trying to eat well and train hard.


This was a hilarious read and it gave me a very good laugh. None offense taken at all. Appreciate the input as you’re dead on. “My 8 year old cousin” LOL so true man.

I sacrificed a lot of assistance work so I could do higher frequency bench workouts. Tried smolov, small Sheiko style routines, little Bulgarian training. Reason being was that I was desperately trying to hit a 2x bw bench so pl style routines was all I did, but stalled at 285 for 4 months then came to the realization that I need more muscle to pack on more strength potential… could be bro science but that was my conclusion.

Multiple people have said I’m not fat so I’ll agree.
Im 18 and been lifting for about 3 years.


I’m glad. You’ll learn a lot from the constructive criticism tossed around here.

You’re still in your prime years for putting on lean mass. I would use that to put on as much muscle as possible. Don’t be a goof and go and get fat, but I definitely would use this period to push training hard (bodybuilding or strength oriented program) and eat to supplement it. There are a ton of good programs on this site, as well as nutrition guidelines to follow.

Starting a training log on here is a great way to not only keep yourself accountable, but to ask questions in and get valuable input along your journey from other lifters. Good luck man!