Muscle Loss Cutting Question

How many days of no lifting combined with a 25% deficit would it take to start losing muscle?

Depends on a lot of factors, how much muscle mass you have, how lean you are and your activity level but if your eating sufficient protein you would probably be fine for a few days to a week or so but why would you cut calories and not lift? If you cannot workout just eat at maintenance until you can.

I’m 6’1, 179 pounds, 17-19% bodyfat. I’m not going to lift, because I overtrained, and am going to take 10 days off from lifting. You’re right, I’ll probably just eat at maintenance then.

I’m 75% sure there’s a heck load more(or in this case, less) to this question. How did you “overtrain”?

I went to failure in too many sets throughout every workout, and sometimes worked out 1.5 hrs. Also, did a lot of drop sets to failure where I would push myself and hold the contraction it very hard, every “drop”, making my entire body feel tensed and worked. I read that going to failure too much is extremely taxing on the CNS, and so my CNS was probably not recovering in time for my workouts.

I started feeling fatigue on a level where I’ve never felt before, where throughout the entire day (especially the first half), I would feel like doing nothing except napping/sleeping. My sleep is the same hours as before, my diet is good. Nothing in my life changed. Been like this for maybe 1-3 weeks. Before, this, I would get that tired throughout the day feeling, but usually only after leg day (squat, RDL + biceps), and the day after, but I started feeling like that everyday, as well as depressed mood, as well as anxiety higher. Two days ago my anxiety was through the roof, so I knew something was up, because my sleep, diet didn’t change.

Also, I’m completely natural.

-Is a 25% deficit realistic? Especially when you feel bad? I’m not a doctor, but I feel like that would trigger you body consume muscle and store fat. In a “emergency situation” or “last hope for survival” mode. I think you’d end up with less muscle, but fatter. Every thread where a dude is “skinny-fat” its because he super dropped the calories.

-Make sure to move around on your deload. Go for a walk, or do some easy stretching or “mobility” junk.

-Remember the feeling of depressed mood and anxiety. In the future, you should be able to “feel” this sort of thing come on earlier. That way you can adjust your training sooner, to avoid this over trained situation.

-Check out programs with progressive rep maxes to shoot for, instead of just going to failure all the time.
-Check out programs that wave intensities up and down, or include deloads to regulate, and keep you out of this over-trained state.
-If you want to hold contractions, and do drop sets, do that stuff on little exercises with dumbbells or cables or bands.

In my opinion, you are being smart taking this break. in this situation, many guys choose to force things, and rely on pre work out drinks, support gear, and emminem music to artificially drive themselves into REAL over training.

25% deficit really isn’t all that crazy. If your BMR was 2500 calories, you’d still be eating like 1800 cals. It’s not fun, but it’s doable.

Losing muscle is nowhere near as easy as the internet would have you believe. It’s the combination of being fatter than they thought they were and having their muscles flat and depleted that makes people think they’re losing muscle.

Get your protein in and lift weights. You’ll be fine.

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If your goal is recovery, I would not advise a calorie deficit.

Am I the only one that thinks he is not asking the right question?

The guy is emancipated for god sakes.

He looks like the poster boy for “you are not over trained, you are underfed”.

yeah but spring’s on the way. Needs to get those abs in.

Nope, I been eating at a 400 surplus every day. Was just thinking of eating a deficit during my break from working out. Good guess though, bud. And as always, your condescension and passionate input is appreciated.

Seriously? You ask an impossible question to answer, state you have overtrained and need 10 days to recover, but want to eat less than maintenance (which hinders recovery), and to top it off are - I assume - bulking. Everything you have stated contradicts itself. But, ya, you seem to have a handle on things… It appears JFG might be onto something.

Lol. When did I ever contradict myself? And no, I don’t have a “handle on things”, that’s why I’m asking questions.

Continue your investigation though…

I thought that was pretty clear. It appears you have three goals, which I quoted in my last post and then addressed the implications of each one. If you, truly, need to recover from overtraining you need to consume enough fuel for recovery.

If you want to continue bulking, which is an assumption based on a stated 400 calorie surplus, then cutting for the next 10 days makes ZERO sense. Even less sense, considering you have (assumedly) ‘overtrained’.

Also, your attitude sucks, which contradicts the following

Maybe be a bit more receptive to feedback and honest with you’re trying to do.

Why don’t you clarify what your quantifiable goals are?
What program you have been on that caused overtraining?
What your diet has looked like?

Keep eating.
Keep moving around on off days to speed up your recovery.
Record your results.

What sort of things are you doing in addition to lifting weights? You may have to take some of the intensity and enthusiasm you’re throwing at the barbells and direct it towards conditioning, or calisthenics or even little recovery sessions of band pull aparts and clam shells. Train more frequently, but don’t lift weights to failure so much.

Keep track of how you are responding to training. Spend a lot of time doing things that work. Don’t do stuff that makes you feel beat down.


I didn’t say that I want to recover, and cut calories, and bulk, and eat at a surplus all at the same time. I’d assume it’d be pretty clear that I meant I WAS eating at a surplus while i was bulking, and now, I’m going to take some days off, thus, I am no longer bulking… and I no longer need to be at a surplus. You’re just misinterpreting or maybe twisting my words for some reason.

Also, all the feedback that has been given, I have been receptive to, hence how I acknowledged in an earlier post that eating at maintenance is probably a better idea. But you, you didn’t give feedback at all, you just twisted my words and painted a false picture (saying im being "dishonest with i’m trying to do), for the purpose of your attack on me trying to defend JFG’s condescending tone. I wasn’t being dishonest nor hiding what I was trying to do…lol why would someone do that when asking for advice? Again, you’re trying to paint a false picture.

And as for your statement about you thinking my attitude sucking and how you think it’s contradictory to what you quoted, so what? The purpose of your “contradictions” criticism about me was (I’m guessing) to inform of your perception that I’m somehow “dishonest” about my goals, so you trying to answer my question of how I was being contradictory by saying my “sucky attitude” contradicts my obvious sarcasm when I said “is appreciated”, which has nothing to even do with the original thing you were trying to frame me of being contradictory with, is laughable. That, as well as your insincere effort inserted at the end of your post to try to seem like you’re actually trying to help. Those questions are a moot point anyways, because it’s clear my main issue and reason why I started this thread was solved, when I acknowledged the feedback given so far in the 3rd post of the thread, where I said, “You’re right, I’ll probably just eat at maintenance then”.

Thanks everyone else for the great info and advice. =]

Yeah, I’m thinking the lifting to failure so often, and so intensely is why I started feeling my symptoms. I’m gonna start being more careful and aware of the line between training hard, and getting “beat down” toward the risk overtraining.

The fact that I hit your problem dead on and you don’t like my comment makes me think you are a little sensitive.

You are 6’1", 170 ish pounds. You need not concern yourself with overtraining and/or caloric deficit.

You need to eat, get on a good program and not sweat the small stuff.

Unless you are going for the anorexic vampire look, then this is not the right site.

Just stop and think how good you would look with 25 more pounds of muscle and you can keep your BF. Seriously, think about it.

And if you think what I said is condescending, well you have no idea what it means.

Good luck.


“CNS fatigue”

“losing muscle”

All things that someone who’s 179lbs and 20% at 6 foot does not need to be concerned about.

It’s easy to let the internet convince you that all of these things are happening to you, but try not to fall into that trap.

Keep the calories deficits/surpluses sensible, hit the gym as often as you can and get a good night’s sleep. Everything’s going to be fine.

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