T Nation

How the Pro's Cut Weight?

Alright so my goal this past year was to get to 230 pounds. I am almost there; I have about eight pounds to go and am looking incredibly different. I decided I am going to start cutting down my body fat when the new year kicks in.

Learning how to really eat big to grow took me over two years because I was constantly blasted with an overload of conflicting information. It wasn’t until reading these forums and got away from all the articles that I finally figured out how fucking simple it really is.

SO I got the growth part down. My problem is, I still feel like a newbie when it comes to cutting. I have been reading a bunch of stuff, but I feel there is a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to losing weight as well.

The last time I cut, I got pretty lean, but I felt I could have done a better job as far as muscle maintenance and not being so “stringy”. I went the low-carb route… maybe too much so.

Anyway, does anybody have any information about any of the professional bodybuilders’ diets when it comes time to lose the fat? I obviously know that a caloric deficit will lead to fat loss, but I want to know details. Low-carb, low-fat, splitting carbs and fats meals, cutting out dairy products, etc. I have read all the theories and am quite frankly overwhelmed. What is optimal (how do the pros do it)?

I would also like personal stories from any guys reading this who feel they have successfully cut weight (but not the 160 pound guys; I want to hear from people who have been at least 200 lean pounds).

I’ll tell ya, as much as I was never one for writing everythind down, cutting is a matter of ‘hitting your numbers’ each day, and not letting your head play games on you. I’ve discovered the last few weeks which foods will trick me into thinking I ate more, which foods will be too calorically costly, and honestly, just how many calories I really need to not waste away.

I always used to joke that I needed at least 4-5000 cals a day, but it turns out my BMR is well over 3k, so even though I’ve put myself on a 500 cal defecit each day, I’m still getting close to 3k and feeling hungry a lot! (can’t imagine how much I’ve gotten used to ingesting over the years).

And yes, I’ve finally become that idiot attention seeking who carries a gallon container of water with him all day. But with the added water at breakfast, and when I get home each afternoon, I’m probably comsuming closer to 1.5 - 2 gallons each day. The constaint trips to the bathroom are quite an inconvenience -lol

Stu- you mentioned the 500 cal deficit you were doing in another thread. You cutting for the holidays or competing or cutting just to cut?

honestly following a “professional bodybuilders” diet for cutting will do you no good unless you are taking the same drugs as them. I am not one to say bodybuilding is all drugs because it is not, but they do play a big part.

Also many of these guys are genetically gifted. People ask me to cut thinking I have some secret when in reality my ‘off season’ or bulking time of year I am maybe 2-3% bf higher than in my avater.

My advice is to look up the Carb Cycle diet. Thibs wrote about it on this site a while back and you can dig up the article. This is imo the best diet for ‘cutting’ and preserving as much muscle as possible. I personally like this diet and know of many who get good results from it and it’s variations.


Well, I’m not 200 lean pounds, but I’m only 5’7".

From my own experience, the most important lessons I’ve learned relate to reading my own biofeedback.

You gotta keep your calories as low as you can realistically tolerate because this ain’t a track meet. What I mean is… I have the will power to keep myself to 10x bodyweight, but I’m a crabby son of a bitch at this level and find myself withdrawing from friends, losing my sex drive, feeling burnt out, etc.

Nowadays I’m liking what Berardi talks about more and more: G-Flux. Train your ass off, eat comfortably. Keep your calories low-ish, but be comfortable.

Also, I’m a huge fan of circuit training for jacking up the metabolism. I find that I can get myself to near max heart rate and sustain it for 75-90 minutes. Talk about a powerful fat loss tool.

Stu- With your 500 cal deficit, do you ever have “refeed” days? And I take it you don’t worry much about carbs vs fats for non-protein calories as long as you’re ingesting around the same number per day?

DG- I read the article awhile back and was actually thiking about carb-cycling, but it seems like a pain having to change calories and foods around for different days. Don’t get me wrong, if it works well (and I can tell it does for you) I am willing to do it. I just thought with a carb-cycling diet I might have gone back to my old ways of over-analyzing. Have you ever tried something similar to Stu’s approach, and if so, what did you like/not like about it?

Ovalpline- I suppose 180 @ 5’7" works :wink:
I am good as far as training is concerned for now. I am actually going to see where I can take it with my diet, and when I start to see myself stall I may add in some more fat-loss type training or re-evaluate my diet from there.

Thank you guys for your responses.

Steel- I’m kicking round the idea of competing in '09, and having not been under 2 bills in several years, realized that I’ll need to come down slowly in order to hold onto as much lbm as possible. Luckily, Jim Cordova’s been offering me a lot of advice, which is pretty inspirational after seeing the shape the guy gets into for a show.

KTennies- IN the past, I would always do a carb cycle similar to DG, or just do a very low carb intake, with refeeds once or twice a week. While this always worked well for just tightening up, I really wanna see how far I can take the conditioning, and that;s going to involve some sort of deficit.

I’m not talking about halving my calories or anything, but just enough of a small decrease that you will lose .5 to a lb a week, even with no cardio (at least at this point). While I’m not overly concerned with macros, I will say that my carbs are still coming in at under 100g a day, except for a couple of days when they went up to 100-150g.

It;'s been a real matter of replacing certain foods with others that would make me feel fuller, longer. So even though I usually keep my carb intake kinda low, now, because I figure I’m so low with the cals, I can afford a few bowls of oatmeal and Metabolic Drive a day while still “hitting my numbers”.

It’s been 3 weeks now, writing everything down, and the thought of Thanksgiving is what’s keeping me on track. I’m planning that as my 1st official refeed day. SO far, although my training partner says I’m starting to look a lot tighter, my strength has actually been up, and I wonder if the leucine/BCAAs and extra high protein intake (averaging 300g/day) is to thank.