T Nation

Keeping Gains on a Cut

I’ve just finished a bulking phase that has given me great results, but I’ve gained a few % of body fat I want to drop. I’m planning to start a 6 week cut in a week or so, but the last time I did a cut I lost a lot more size than I was prepared for. I know I have to be willing to loose a little but…if anyone has tips for cutting safely with minimal sacrifice of hard earned gains I’d be really grateful.

Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Lose weight VERY slowly. < 500 calorie deficit per day. I shoot for 1 lb of fat loss every 1-2 weeks, usually closer to 2 weeks. This way I’m still eating between 2500-3000 calories even on a cut.

  2. Carb cycling has really worked for me. 1 day high, 2 days low.

  3. Don’t overdo it with cardio. I keep it to 2 days of Lactate Threshhold + HIIT. Max of 40 minutes per session.

  4. Lift heavy weight. Give your body a reason to keep it’s muscle.

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Lose weight VERY slowly. < 500 calorie deficit per day. I shoot for 1 lb of fat loss every 1-2 weeks, usually closer to 2 weeks. This way I’m still eating between 2500-3000 calories even on a cut.

  2. Carb cycling has really worked for me. 1 day high, 2 days low.

  3. Don’t overdo it with cardio. I keep it to 2 days of Lactate Threshhold + HIIT. Max of 40 minutes per session.

  4. Lift heavy weight. Give your body a reason to keep it’s muscle. [/quote]

YOU ARE 15 YEARS OLD!

How much experience are you really talking from here?

I have a personal opinion that you can do more cardio than you think before you lose noticeable muscle.

I’m cutting now and do 45 minutes of steady cardio 4 days per week and two days of intervals.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Lose weight VERY slowly. < 500 calorie deficit per day. I shoot for 1 lb of fat loss every 1-2 weeks, usually closer to 2 weeks. This way I’m still eating between 2500-3000 calories even on a cut.

  2. Carb cycling has really worked for me. 1 day high, 2 days low.

  3. Don’t overdo it with cardio. I keep it to 2 days of Lactate Threshhold + HIIT. Max of 40 minutes per session.

  4. Lift heavy weight. Give your body a reason to keep it’s muscle. [/quote]

YOU ARE 15 YEARS OLD!

How much experience are you really talking from here?[/quote]

Not much obviously. Your post count is higher then the amount of days he has been alive. That being said, it’s not bad advice.

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
Here are a few things that have worked for me:[/quote]
That being said, it’s not bad advice.[/quote]

Fine & good, I left the part of his post that prompted my response.

How much experience does he have to really know “what worked” for him? I think that point is very relevant to the OP.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
Here are a few things that have worked for me:[/quote]
That being said, it’s not bad advice.[/quote]

Fine & good, I left the part of his post that prompted my response.

How much experience does he have to really know “what worked” for him? I think that point is very relevant to the OP. [/quote]

Fair enough. I wasn’t calling you out on being an ass to him by any means. I agree with your logic. I should of put a few lines of space between the lulz of my post in regards to your post count and his age and saying his general advice was decent advice. But yes, he probably has very little understanding as to what does effect him positively and to what extent.

It’s all good. I took your post as intended then.

And yes, My name is beans, and I’m a post whore.

Back on topic, I’ve personally found that Lyle McDonald’s RFD has allowed me to shed some bodyfat quickly while maintaining strength gains. I’ve been doing one round of RFD for every 8 weeks bulking. Let’s me keep gains coming both in strength and size while minimizing BF accumulation.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Lose weight VERY slowly. < 500 calorie deficit per day. I shoot for 1 lb of fat loss every 1-2 weeks, usually closer to 2 weeks. This way I’m still eating between 2500-3000 calories even on a cut.

  2. Carb cycling has really worked for me. 1 day high, 2 days low.

  3. Don’t overdo it with cardio. I keep it to 2 days of Lactate Threshhold + HIIT. Max of 40 minutes per session.

  4. Lift heavy weight. Give your body a reason to keep it’s muscle. [/quote]

YOU ARE 15 YEARS OLD!

How much experience are you really talking from here?[/quote]

Haha, I just realized that the age in my profile is 15 years old. Awesome! I think I’ll keep it that way. Anyway, I’m not an expert, but I struggled with yo-yo dieting a few years back and lost a lot of muscle. After bulking back up and following the tips that I posted earlier I was able to trim down to sub 10% body fat while keeping most of my gains.

loose =/= lose.

Figuring that out is the first step.

[quote]Nards wrote:
I have a personal opinion that you can do more cardio than you think before you lose noticeable muscle.

I’m cutting now and do 45 minutes of steady cardio 4 days per week and two days of intervals.[/quote]

I would agree. I don’t think cardio makes you lose tons of muscle, it just makes me super tired and hungry. Both of which are usually bad combinations for my diet.

That being said, last year when I was doing triathlons, I really struggled to maintain my muscle mass.

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Lose weight VERY slowly. < 500 calorie deficit per day. I shoot for 1 lb of fat loss every 1-2 weeks, usually closer to 2 weeks. This way I’m still eating between 2500-3000 calories even on a cut.

  2. Carb cycling has really worked for me. 1 day high, 2 days low.

  3. Don’t overdo it with cardio. I keep it to 2 days of Lactate Threshhold + HIIT. Max of 40 minutes per session.

  4. Lift heavy weight. Give your body a reason to keep it’s muscle. [/quote]

I’m doing the rapid fat loss diet, and up until the fourth week I was getting stronger, at which point there’s a diet break anyway. If you can handle something like that and it suits your personality, no need to do things slow.

[quote]ethanwest wrote:
4. Lift heavy weight. Give your body a reason to keep it’s muscle. [/quote]

i’ve seen a few of the authors on here advocate this approach.

I’ll tell ya what not to do. I had the bright idea of a very, very low carb diet combined with time under tension approach to lifting. I didn’t explode on the positive portion and was even slower on the negative. My intention was to burn up glucose not atp (stupid I know). Basically I thought time under tension was just time and not volume.

Anyways, I lost tons of strength and a few pounds. I did get pretty lean, but it wasn’t worth it. For the record I didn’t get enough calories or protein in general so my study has flaws. Or I could publish a paper about how it doesn’t work no matter like so many “studies” “prove”. If I had taken in enough cals and protein I believe I would have still lost strength.

I think carb and overall calorie cycling is the way to go.

I’m in the process of dropping 30 lbs with the primary goal of dropping fat while keeping muscle. I’m only halfway through but based on my strength levels, I don’t think I lost much muscle. Everything I’ve been doing is based on these 2 articles:

I like the idea of the “Heavy lifting to protect muscle mass” strategy outlined in the articles.

Thanks for the posts guys. Interesting to me that not one person mentioned the use of BCAA’s…??? I think I’m going to go for carb cycling but with a couple more carb portions than I had last time. I just lost it way too fast last effort- 10kgms in six weeks. And more BCAA’s, especially during cardio. I still find HIIT and intervals generally work best.

Thanks again.