T Nation

Mild Cutting Cycle, Need Info

Currently on TRT 120mg split into MWF (40mg) and this works great for me, TT 1100 and FT 30, E2 mid range.

I’m starting my cut and want to Incorporate another compound to help me maintain size and really lean out. My diet and training are both on point and Im use to cutting 20-30lb for the summer, but this time I’m looking to get leaner and harder while maintaining size. I don’t want to run anything harsh or extreme. Even with test at 120mg I get a lot out of it and feel good on it. At this point I’m not sure if I should increase my test dose during the cut. I’m looking to run a 16 week cycle. I can increase my test dose up to 200mg.

Stats:

30 yro
5”10’
225
20% bf measured via Jackson/Pollock 7 caliper.

Considering just adding anavar for 12 weeks at 30mg.

masteron vs primobolan? For that hard dry look?

Any input is appreciated. No pct required since on TRT. I want something with low sides and that works well with my current MWF protocol.

Goal is 195-200lb @ 10% bf.

Assuming standard lancorp ranges, this is already at the tippy top of the scale. I wouldn’t think you’d need much to help cut.

My ranges are the exact same basically on TRT and I’m about to start one hell of an aggressive cut on just my TRT dose. Plan is to keep the weight as heavy as possible, and the protein high. Gonna try and drop 30 pounds by June 1st. Won’t even start till maybe end of next month. Hope my whittle muskles are on board with hanging around during this cut lol

Edit to add I’m also similar in size. Currently 6ft 217 and ~18%bf (dexa)

Skin fold tends to underestimate your BF whereas the cheaper electronic reader tend to overestimate. This means you are likely 20% at best.

At your current weight you would need to lost 22.5lbs of pure fat to get there. Even with light anabolics it won’t happen this way. To get to 10% BF you would likely be even lighter than your target weight. Do you know how hard it truly is to get to 10%? I’ve never been that low and struggle in the low to mid teens.

Masteron won’t show much until you get very lean on your own. Primo and var might help but what you really need is a hardcore nutrition plan and about 16+ weeks to follow it. Drugs optional.

1 Like

Why not maintain your TRT, clean up your diet and see if you can knock off the first 10lbs, or so, in the next 2 months. Get off the easy weight as natural as you can.

The latter half of fat loss will be more difficult. It will come easier and still maintain your strength with the assistance of AAS’s.

3 Likes

Steroids are for growing. Once you get to crazy levels of muscularity you need more to maintain during a cut. But for a guy your size you cut on trt and, if you don’t go overboard with your deficit, you should hold on to the vast majority of your muscle.

1 Like

Great advice from everyone.

I have 20 weeks to reach my goal, so this isn’t a rushed process. My plan was to lose the first 10lb on my current TRT dose and then incorporate another compound to assist. I was even thinking of increasing my test dose to 180mg at week 10. The way my diet is structured I should lose 10lb in 10 weeks. I was thinking of adding another compound and adjust my deficit to lose the remaining 10-15lb.

I’m less set on being exactly 10% bf, more in the 10-12% range at 195-200lb. I don’t have any intention of getting below that weight or running my deficit diet past 20 weeks.

I honestly want to experiment with a mild stack with my TRT. 16 weeks starting at week 10 of my cut. Just something to give me that extra fullness and pop.

…otherwise it seems like just bumping my test dose up might be plenty to get me through the cut.

I’ve done it 4 times now.

  1. Ketogenic diet for 6 months, was at 160’lbs then.

  2. While running a deficit year round about 5 years ago. At 170’lbs.

  3. Got sick lost 25 pounds in 2019, weighed in at 160 again.

  4. During a very lean bulk. Was at 6 foot, 175 lbs and <10% BF.

  5. Going at it again right now. Plan is to be at 189 lbs and 10-11% in about 6 weeks. Need to lose 10 lbs. Six pack is visible right now.

I think if one is willing to diet or do it like a guy like “athleanx” Jeff cavaliere and run a slight deficit or maintenance year round, i think it’s possible. It’s also fucking annoying but once you get there in my experience it’s very easy to maintain 10%. I go up in calories slowly afterwards and gauge how my body is reacting. As soon as I’m back at maintenance (about 3000 kcals give or take) it’s enjoyable to be that lean.

Also I’m a bitch at work right now because of the diet :joy:

I’m in the midst of making an attempt myself. Very strict regimented diet (almost same thing every day). I havn’t enjoyed food for a month and I still have 3 months to go. So far I’m down from 205-> 190. The original water weight etc was quick and now I’m losing more slowly. I should end up around 180lbs hopefully and 10-12%.

1 Like

I love that part of dieting as I’m doing that anyways haha

The funny thing is I’m not enjoying food normally (besides when going out) but when I’m dieting I actually want what I can eat to taste good.

I wish you good luck brother!

IMO, another point should be made. Why say 10%? Does that number have any real meaning and can it be measured accurately? You don’t mention a contest. If that is the case, I would only “cut” to the point that my strength doesn’t drop.

If we can agree that you want to look the best you can on the beach (lighting is always great). IMO, you need all the muscle you can keep. Pick an upper body movement to gauge strength increase or decrease. Make that an exercise you do every week. When you start your AAS’s that exercise should begin improving. Monitor it. When it drops off, increase calories to get it back.

My training weight was 240lbs when at my greatest amount of muscle. I would do a 12 week AAS cycle to peak for the show I was aiming for. When I was “off”, I was off all AAS’s for at least 4 weeks. As I lost the first 15lbs, I steadily gained strength. The last 7lbs loss, came at some expense of strength/muscle. I usually caliper tested in the 5’s the week before the show.

My point is that I looked real good before I started to lose muscle to achieve optimal definition for the stage. Plus I felt good all the time. Also, note, the contestant that looked the best won the contest, not the one with the lowest body fat test numbers. Body fat test numbers are not a judged component.

1 Like

Selection is key here. With the bench most will not be dieting very long. If it is the chin up, and we use that as the benchmark on when to increase calories, we will be getting pretty lean.

I agree with you on the numbers being somewhat arbitrary. Looking full and lean is better than flat and leaner.

Yes, exercise selection is important. and you shouldn’t pick an exercise that is too closely related to your body weight fluctuations. The bench press is exceptionally good (maybe my 8 rep max). It would be an exercise that would expose strength loss very quickly. It is the one I would chose first, barring any injuries. It is important that the chosen exercise isn’t compromised by an injury. I wanted the first signs of muscle loss, that I gauge directly related to strength.

Strength loss isn’t necessarily the same as muscle loss. Losing fat will make most people lose strength on the bench even if muscle is conserved. I could gain 20 lbs of pure fat, and the bench will go up, lose it and the bench would go down.

1 Like

Fat adds support, so it can assist in the ability to lift more weight. But this is a fact that doesn’t apply to a person who is not “fat”. His strength is very nearly all associated with muscle gain or loss. (excepting training to optimize CNS for singles. That is why a moderate rep range is a better gauge.)

This is in my understanding thoroughly disproven that strength loss on a diet stems from muscle loss. 2-4 weeks in a moderate deficit (300-500 kcals) will not cost you any muscle if protein is adequate and you’re at a reasonable BF (above 8%). But it WILL cost you pounds on the bench press.

I started my diet on January first with a 400 kcal deficit. My bench went down 10 lbs in 14 days. This is not due to muscle loss.

Does Strength Loss Indicate Muscle Loss?

Not necessarily. It’s true that a lot of people lose some strength when they diet. But it’s rarely due to muscle loss. There are other reasons.
First, notice that the strength loss is mostly on multi-joint exercises. The bench press, military press, and squats are especially affected. This loss in “strength” doesn’t happen on isolation or machine exercises, and often doesn’t affect pulling exercises.
It’s typical to maintain or even increase strength on the tricep extension, pec deck, and dumbbell lateral raise, yet see your bench press, which requires the same muscles, go down.
Clearly, this isn’t due to muscle loss, otherwise the isolation exercises would go down too. In fact, oftentimes the free-weight bench press will go down but pressing on a chest machine will stay up or even increase.
The reason? A decrease in passive stability. That’s when non-contractile elements stabilize a joint by increasing pressure. For example, if you blow up a muscle by storing more water, glycogen, and fat, that muscle becomes inflated and “packs” the joint more. This creates pressure which makes the joint more stable. Even body fat can contribute to passive stabilization and water retention.

Why is that important? Because if a joint is less stable, the body will protect itself by inhibiting force production (not allowing you to use all of your strength potential to avoid injuries). The more stable the body feels, the more of your strength it will allow you to use.

That’s why it’s common for powerlifters to “bloat up” before a meet. They’ll eat a boatload of salty, high-carb food and drink tons of water to increase both glycogen and water retention. This increases passive stability and allows them to lift more weight.

Pressing movements are more affected because they’re more “dangerous” for the shoulder joint, which is the least stable joint in the body.

Another Factor: Beta-Adrenergic Desensitization

Another reason you can be losing strength while dieting is due to beta-adrenergic desensitization.

The beta-adrenergic receptors are the ones that interact with adrenaline. At the muscle level, beta-receptors – when activated by adrenaline – increase muscle contraction strength and speed. At the brain and nervous system level, they’ll increase coordination, drive, willpower, confidence, etc.

In other words, when your beta-adrenergic receptors respond well to adrenaline, your chance of optimal physical performance is much higher.

But if they’re not responding well to adrenaline (when they’re desensitized or downregulated) then strength and speed goes down. You also find yourself in a worse mental state.

Why’s that relevant to dieting? You desensitize the beta-adrenergic receptors by overproducing adrenaline – either bursts that are excessive, or adrenaline levels that stay high for too long.

Adrenaline is increased in large part by cortisol. Cortisol increases the conversion of noradrenaline to adrenaline.

One of the functions of cortisol is to mobilize stored energy. When you’re dieting you need to mobilize more energy, so cortisol production goes up and so does adrenaline. That’s why a lot of people have a hard time sleeping when dieting.

In that regard, dieting can lead to a decrease in physical and mental performance by making you less responsive to adrenaline. When that happens, strength will go down more across the board. But it normally takes longer to occur than the strength loss from lowered passive stability.

Another reason for a loss of strength is your mental state. If you feel small and don’t sleep as well it’ll be much harder to get amped up to lift big weights. It’s like you program yourself to believe that you’re losing muscle and getting weaker – it’s a self full-filling prophecy.”

That’s from Christian Thibaudeau. He also says if you don’t lose strength you are likely not losing any muscle. But if you are, it doesn’t mean you lose muscle. He’s right.

This is incorrect.

1 Like

Let’s assume this is totally correct.
You’re at the gym and want to test whether you were losing muscle, or not. I will go with 'likely" way before a would go with “doesn’t mean”. My bench press is dropping. Well that “doesn’t mean” I’m losing muscle. Could you actually sleep well with that assurance?

My bench press is holding up as I lose body weight. That means I am “likely” not losing muscle. I sleep better.

Look, the OP is not cutting for a contest. I want an “alarm” with very little Beta Error. That is to say, I want a signal that fails on the positive side. I want to catch the “fire” as soon as possible, not after I am surely in decline.

All this science is great information. It is nice to be better informed as to where the edge of the cliff actually is. I don’t want to tread near the edge when it comes to muscle loss. My sole aim when I took up weight lifting was to gain muscle. Anytime I am putting that in jeopardy it better be for a very good reason (bodybuilding contest or “make weight”).

Guys, I need cycle advice not a debate on how to measure muscle loss lol. I’ve been tracking my bench since I started cutting. As long as I’m hitting 80% of my 1rm on bench/squat for 5, I’m happy with my strength.

So I’m thinking of doing this

Week 1 - 10: increase TRT dose from 120 to 160mg

  • goal is to lose 10lb.

Week 10 - 18: increase test to 200 and add 300mg of Masterone.

Week 18 - 22: keep test at 200 and increase masterone to 500 and add anavar 30mg

  • goal 195-200lb 10-12% bf

Back down to TRT 120mg test for the rest of the summer.

The goal of this cycle is to make the cut easier and experiment with new compounds. From what I’ve gathered masterone and anavar seem to be the safestest compounds and my cycle will only be 12 weeks.

Advice?

I can’t get assurance with a test that has an inconclusive outcome. I would need a different test with a positive result to feel better about my progress in my cut.

That is what I was getting at when I suggested the lift chosen would tell the lifter different things about their progress. Going off of bench strength will make many assume they are losing muscle when they may or may not be (so at least for me it isn’t a good test). Using a pull up would make me assume that I am gaining muscle with the same logic, but the load decreases as you lose weight. Perhaps a pull up with a constant weight (add weight to a dip belt as you lose BW) could be a good test.

I’ll say one thing almost for sure, and that is if your bench goes up a bunch, you are not a beginner, and you lost significant weight, that you almost for sure gained muscle. I recently went from close to 230 to under 210, and my bench went from 365-385 lbs. I am almost positive I have put some muscle on my chest, shoulders and arms due to that test.

My parents went to a portion of a PLing meet I was in. I had finished squats, and burst some blood vessels in my face, and had been drinking lemonaide with salt in it, plus other junk food. My mom took a look at me and asked what happened to me. I saw some pictures from the meet, and boy I had a fat, bloated, red face. It is especially noteworthy how bad I looked as I am now about 20 lbs lighter.

1 Like

You already got it. Follow a 12-16 week cut plan. Get your BF in order then consider a cycle. TRT is all you need for a cut especially in a dose that keeps your numbers above range as you mentioned… TT 1100 / FT 30.

1 Like

Increasing by 40 mg/week will do almost nothing in preserving muscle. To really move the needle, you need a bigger change.

I would skip week 18-22, and just do this throughout. At the same time this is only advice if you are going to do the cycle. You should just try to cut while on TRT.

This is a good goal, but only go after this goal if you are accurate in your initial stats. Many under estimate their current body fat. You should be close to having visible abs currently if your stats are correct in your original post. If not, I suspect you may not be as lean as you think.

I’ll also tell you my opinion from experience trying to cut with a cycle. I tried to cut, didn’t lose weight and recomped a bit. This was on 600 mg/wk of test for 14 weeks. I ended leaner, and stronger, but it wasn’t as dramatic as I would have expected.

I think unless one is high level cutting should be done on TRT, and one should eat in a calorie surplus if using drugs. Leave the cutting cycles to the high level guys. Use the anabolics for what they are good at (building muscle). I think I would have a better physique now, if I had just cut the fat on TRT, and then added mass with the cycle. YMMV, but at the same time, it seems like this position is at nearly a consensus (at least here on T-Nation).

3 Likes