T Nation

Losing Lean Mass During Cutting

Its seems that whenever I go into a cutting phase, I lose too much lean mass. This time I decided to try the Anabolic Diet (very low carb mon-fri with weekend carb up) because it is supposed to be very good at targeting fat with little loss of lean mass.

Unfortunately, I am into week 4 of this diet and it looks like I’ve lost 2.5lbs of lean mass and 1.3lbs of fat. Here’s my data:

Male, 34 years old
start weight: 189.4 lbs 15.5% bf … current weight: 185.6 lbs 15.5% bf

calories from carbs 120 … 5%
calories from protein 972 … 41%
calories from fat 1,260 … 54%
total calories: 2,352

I’m also not a pig on the carb up days. My total calories on these days is about 2,800.

training:
4 day split: TU TH SA SU: using 6-12RM for most muscle groups
cardio: low intensity 15 min warm ups on training days (only burns about 100 cal.)
added 20 min of low intensity cardio on Wed.

I’d like to accelerate the fat loss by either reducing calories or adding more low intensity cardio, but I’m afraid of losing any more lean mass. I took my about a year to gain 10 lbs of lean mass and I’d hate to lose half of it while cutting!

Interestingly, I’m continuing to make gains on my lifts. Subjectively I also feel leaner. I wonder how much of the lean mass loss may be due to water?

I’m using an average of my Titania scale and Accu-measure calipers. I find both of the devices to be inconsistent. I wish there was a better way to get consistent body fat measurements. Getting an erroneous reading could make things look much worse than they really are.

Jerry

“It took me a year to gain 10lbs of lean mass and I’d hate to lose half of it while cutting”

Then don’t cut so drastically. You are 6’ 185–where you going? What are your gaols? That sounds pretty good to me right there. Are you carrying weight in a certain area that you are trying to rid?

Maybe all you need is aslight tweak of the macronutrients in your diet. Maybe you need to adjust your workouts. I believe you can maintain mass and lose fat with HIIT over light cardio. To do this you may hace to take in a few more carbs, just make them clean and eat them early.

Don’t worry to much about your scale measurments. It’s all relative. It may not be exact, but if you always check yourslf in the same manner, your results should indicate which way you are moving.

Lastly, relax and enjoy your 10lbs of lean mass. You say you feel leaner and you are getting stronger. Who cares what a scale says if you can answer like that.

I simply think your calculations are off using imperfect fat measuring methods. If you’re strength is going up I highly doubt you’re losing any lbm.

coughHOTROXcough+coughMethoxy-7cough

My alergies are killing me.

Jerry-

I agree on the BF measurements - the BIA’s are very inconsistent. I too thought I lost a lot of LBM when using a hand-held BIA, but the mirror and my strength levels told me otherwise. The hand-held version is usually much more accurate than the scale, but neither is “nat’s ass”. I’m in great favor of the old fashioned skin-fold testing, using the 7 or 11 site method (3 site method is not as accurate). Have a professional measure it for you and/or teach you how to do them. Have them taken or take them once a week at the same time, preferrably upon rising.

I also second the HIIT - seems to me the fastest calorie drain without being dulling. Coupled with HOT-ROX, I have seen some solid fat loss and even gained LBM in some areas. I like the HIIT post-workout for 12-15 mintues. I do a personalized training split for convenience, so my lifting time is only 20 minutes, 5-6 times a week (HIIT 2-3 times per week, lower-intesity for 30 min 2 times per week).

Keep up the good work!

TopSirloin

I forgot to mention to use “girth” measurements as well. Get the circumference of your chest, arms, waist at belly button, thighs, and calves. Unless you are way over-weight/obese, your chest and thighs should not shrink much if you are training properly, but your waist should. Calves might also hold constant or slim down a bit. Sometimes arms grow.

TS

Also wanted to throw out…

Wouldnt the loss of water from low carbing it effect the body fat measures? I know it will throw of the tanita for sure

TopSirloin,

Thanks for the input. I like the idea of using girth measurements to cross check the bf readings.

JNeves ,

I was also wondering about the water loss and how it effects the measurements.

I would suggest looking itno the water storage loss as well. Remember it is something like 2 grams of water stored for each gram of glycogen. So as your LBM gets low on glycogen it will also hold less fluid. making it appear much smaller. This should be noticeable during your refeeds.

I also agree with the Take it slow man. You dont have a lot to lose. You spend to much time and hard work gaining that LBM to simply lose it cutting. Err on the side of caution. Unless you are a fan of the ole’ yoyo method.
LOL I suspect not.

Good luck, take it slow and smart. Just try and remeber how long it took to add that mass. Makes it worth the extra time spent cutting SLLLLLLOOOOWLY.

Hope that helps somehow,
Phill

Since you already have some good discussion I’m going to go in a different, though related, direction.

I find it difficult to know what the heck is going on. Today for example, I had some baked products for lunch, including gasp a cookie.

From this morning I’m up about four pounds… quick trip to the scale, I was thirsty when I got home… so, yes, that would be five pounds. I wouldn’t have thought I’d consumed five pounds in total today, but there it is.

Anyway, though I care about how lean I am, I don’t really care what the scale says. It fluctuates based on whether or not I’m thinking about eating! My measurement is a particular spot on my abs. If it blurs, I’m gaining fat. If it doesn’t blur, I’m not gaining fat.

Hopefully some day I’ll lean down enough to use the next lower ab…

On the psychology side, if the lifts are going up, the stomach is allowed to blur, if the lifts are going down, I’d better see more definition pronto. Heh, we all know the holy grail of this quest… I’ll let you know if I see it.

You should definitely be taking HOT-ROX, and Methoxy-7 wouldn’t hurt. Plus the other stuff these guys said…

[quote]vroom wrote:
Since you already have some good discussion I’m going to go in a different, though related, direction.

I find it difficult to know what the heck is going on. Today for example, I had some baked products for lunch, including gasp a cookie.

From this morning I’m up about four pounds… quick trip to the scale, I was thirsty when I got home… so, yes, that would be five pounds. I wouldn’t have thought I’d consumed five pounds in total today, but there it is.

Anyway, though I care about how lean I am, I don’t really care what the scale says. It fluctuates based on whether or not I’m thinking about eating! My measurement is a particular spot on my abs. If it blurs, I’m gaining fat. If it doesn’t blur, I’m not gaining fat.

Hopefully some day I’ll lean down enough to use the next lower ab…

On the psychology side, if the lifts are going up, the stomach is allowed to blur, if the lifts are going down, I’d better see more definition pronto. Heh, we all know the holy grail of this quest… I’ll let you know if I see it.[/quote]

Excellent post Vroom. This is a great way to keep tabs on your fat gain/loss. I do something similar. I always do a pinch test near the belly button. I’m also evaluating how lean I look in the mirror as well.

Since I’ve tested bodyfat a number of times I can estimate within a percentage point (accurately) of where I’m at.

I can easily go up or down 5 lbs or more on the scale in one day. Don’t sweat the scale weight.

What is your set/rep scheme in your workouts?

CW, CT, and others seem to be big fans of using heavier weight(85% 1RM) and lower reps while trying to cut. You might read some of their stuff.

That, or do Meltdown for your training.

vroom,

Thanks for the feedback. I like the simplicity of using the mirror and most of the time that is all I go by. However, when I create a calorie deficit I start to worry. I wish there was a simple way to get accurate objective measurements.

I like TopSirloin’s suggestion about using girth measurements. I plan on getting a tape measure this week and start to track my waist size along with the other body fat measurements.

michaelv,

I purchased a couple of bottles of HOT-ROX.

rainjack,

I just read one the articles the other day and I plan on changing to 5x5’s this week.

What, pray tell, is Methoxy-7 exactly? I know it is used during cutting, but I’m not sure what it does. Any links would help. Thanks.