T Nation

Last Stage of Cutting, Cardio, and the Future

I went on out-of-control bulking cycle (binge) late last year and ballooned up to 245lbs at 20%+ body fat. I convinced myself that I would be a lean 210lbs after cutting, but here I am now eight months later at 200lbs and still around 12.5-13.0% body fat. I lost most of my strength gains due to the long cutting period required after a 3 month dirty bulk + 6 week maintenance period.

I have learned that this is not the right approach to making lean gains.

Since I began lifting, I’ve been at a higher body fat percentage than I ever was in the past. I considered the fat gain a sacrifice to make when building mass. I don’t regret it since I’ve put on much more muscle than friends who refused to put on fat for any length of time. But, I want to reap the benefits of my efforts and look fit for once.

The last two years, I cut down to 13% body fat and started bulking to 18-20%. I’m now at 13% this year and I think this is the highest I want to be at the END of a bulk. 13% seems to be the magic number for me. I get a lot more attention and just feel healthier once I get down to this level of leanness.

My current plan is to cut down to 8-9% and then bulk up to 13% as slowly as possible. Then, cut back down. I like the bulk/cut cycle because I’ve never made gains with any sort of recomposition diet plan. Does this sound like a reasonable plan? I’ve never been below 11% body fat, so I don’t know how viable this will actually be.

I’ve been on creatine for a long time (a year?). I started when I bulked, but I’ve been scared to get off while cutting since I know my lifts will drop 5-10%. My current plan is to get off once I start bulking since the caloric surplus will possibly make it easier to hold on to muscle despite lifting less weight. Does this make sense?

I’ve neglected cardio entirely while bulking and cutting. It was becoming noticeable during sex, walking long distances, and doing simple tasks, so I finally convinced myself to start last week. I loathe cardio, but I can deal with getting on the treadmill for a bit. I only do 2 miles a session and go 2-3 times per week. I try to do a mile as fast as my cardiovascular system allows (185-195bpm heart rate) and then do walk/run cycles for the second mile. I’ve gone from 11 min mile to 8 min mile in a week, so I think it’s sufficient for what I want out of it (going from pathetic to average endurance). If I should be approaching cardio differently, let me know.

Thanks for any advice or constructive criticism.

Getting into true sub 10% fat ranges requires effort, sacrifice, and often times many shitty days.

You sound like you have gone through what MOST people go through the first time they decide to drop the fat and see what they have built… They have MUCH more fat than they thought they did, and they need to weigh MUCH less than they thought they would at the end of the cut. Welcome to the club!

The good news is you seem to have been smart about it and controlled your weight mainly through diet and training alone, which means you can now add cardio and reap the benefits of that. Keep your diet very similar and simply add in some cardio and you will drop some fat. In a few weeks you can either drop a couple hundred calories or add in a bit more cardio and you should continue losing fat until you are at a level you are happy with.

This is all part of the game… Living and learning what it takes to get the body you want. Like I said already, MOST of us go through this at least once when we decide to finally shred down and see what is underneath all of that fat. Stay the course and you will be rewarded though… THE REASON NO ONE LOOKS ALL THAT GREAT IS BECAUSE THIS IS NOW THE HARD PART. You now have to ENDURE and GRIND past this shitty point, but you will come out the other side all the better for it.

There isnt any reason to get off creatine when cutting. For cardio, might be a good idea to split up your sprinting and steady state into different sessions. Really no need to run for long periods unless the main goal is athleticism. If you want to maintain as much muscle as possible, however, do as little cardio as necessary to provide your 1-2 lb a week weight loss. looking good man, good luck!

You are 1 reason we folks twice your age feel good about being old in your opinion.

Print your post.

Put it in an envelop.

Open it in 27 years.

Maybe you will understand.

We can save time, i will not try to explain now.

I all the best !