T Nation

My First Cut

So basically I have reached my goal for bulking which took a year and a half (although interrupted by health issues). I started at 6’2 l39 and am now 6’2 223. I decided to cut now cause I’m getting a bit chubby and I am having constatant fatigue for the past few months. I’m not sure if its just cause I’m overweight or cause of insulin resistance…

Anyways this is my first cut and I need a ton of advice and decided to make this thread to get some help from the more experienced people on here. Hopefully I will get some pics up this weekend of what I look like now, and then I can take some after pics. I currently eat 4200 calories per day on training days and 3800 on non training days spread across 6-8 meals. My first of many questions to come is:

How many calories should I reduce from my diet to slowly cut? I want to lose about 1lb per week and maintain as much muscle mass as possible. So basically the first week how many calories should I drop my daily intake down to?

Also anybody know if there is a chance I could have possibly pushed myself near diabetes or its just an insulin resistance and I’m starting to feel the effects? My only symptoms are being constantly tired but I can still train

What is your macro breakdown?

Pictures Bub.

you may have an electrolye imbalance.

let’s see some pics… phone camera

My opinion: read a lot of Lyle McDonald articles. I know him/T-Nation hate each other but the guy knows his stuff, especially in terms of fat loss, how to figure out your maintenance calories, your deficit calories for fat loss, and his recommended macro breakdown for lifters. It has just enough carbs in there to make sure your lifting days don’t go to complete crap.

My second opinion: start logging your food intake online using something like www.fitday.com

Pics should be up in the next few days. If you’re not that patient you can check out my log which actually has some pretty recent ones. I have also been tracking my food intake/macros online for about 8 months now. On a typical training day I usually eat about 215g protein, 90g fat, and 550g carbs.

This is really general, but when I start a cut straight from a gaining phase I drop about 1000 calories.

Reason, I am typically in about a 500 calorie surplus when gaining, so dropping 1000 leads to a 500 calorie deficit.

Make sure you’ve cleaned up any junk in your diet and you will get better results. Drink tons of water and eat lots of veggies to combat hunger.

Adjust diet as necessary as the weeks progress and you monitor the scale, mirror and gym performance.

THanks for the input tim. The calories I’m at now are just a tiny bit above maintenance level, and if all goes as I predicted will be the maintenence for the current weight I’m holding. I am very concerned with conserving muscle mass and strength during this cut, so would dropping 200 calories per day the first week be good? I want to lose about 1lb a week. Like I said though this is my first cut so you guys obviously are more experienced.

Lastly, I sprained my lower back 10 weeks ago and havne’t been able to squat, deadlift, or press. Its still hurting which dumbfounds me but hopefully I’ll be back to it soon. Does it affect my cut at all?


Another thing, this is gonna sound dumb. Based on my training log do I look fat? I mean I think I’m a bit chubby but that’s it. If I wasnt experiencing health issues I would prlly continue my bulk until like 235. Haha am I just in denial?

Also I would like to state that I work on a farm in the summer, which will make it really hard to maintain my weight. I don’t want to go below 200. So if I cu down to 205 I’m worried I will lose a ton of weight working. I guess I have to devise a plan to maintain my weight over the summer, especially after cutting cause I won’t be able to afford to lose much.

I am not sure I understood how you stated it, but do you mean a steady 200 calorie deficit each day so 1400 total for the week?

Losing a pound of fat takes about a 3500 calorie deficit, so you may want to shoot a little higher than 200 calorie deficit per day.

If you are currently at maintenance, then I would move toward a 500 calorie deficit to achieve your pound/week goal.

Not being able to squat/deadlift/press will effect your cut in proportion to how much you were using those exercises before. I would definitely try to nurse yourself back to health because those exercises are invaluable. They are invaluable because you can subject your muscles to heavy weight with those exercises and give your body the reason to hold onto muscle when you are in a deficit. Not saying you have to do them, just that they help.

Not trying to be mean, but you asked, yes, you are chubby. You should forget about scale weight.

My first serious cut I went from 200 down to 170. At 170, my friends/family said I looked bigger! Bodybuilding is an illusion and cutting fat from your waist increases the apparent size of your chest/back and cutting fat off of your arms and delts make both of them look vastly bigger.

Thanks TIm. I did state that in a confusing way, I did mean 200 a day so 1400 for a week would be correct. I hurt my lower back about 10 weeks ago but until then I was running 5/3/1 for my deadlift and press, (haven’t squatted in like 7 months due to surgery). It would prlly take me until the end of May to get my deadlift and press back to normal, so during my cut even when I start deadlifting again it will be with submaximal weights… The press I have kinda “replaced” with incline bench pressing but my deadlift there is obviously no replacement for heavy weights. WIll training around the injury allow me to hold on to muscle mass just as well (chin ups, pulldowns, etc)? Thanks for the help again

Also I’m not doing any carido at the moment, mostly cause of my back. I just get on the rowing machine 2 times a week and do very light for a few minutes to get some blood flow to the area.

Lastly I know this may seem really wrong, but based on prior experience it seems like if I were to cut my calories down to 4000 on training days and 3800 non training days (basically 800 less for the week), I would lose a lb. This may seem completely off base so give me some feedback. Before I started bulking I wasn’t a FFB, in fact I was very skinny and had a very hard time putting on all this weight if that makes any difference at all.

I’m confused. For example if I cut 1000 calories a week, do I just ride that out until I hit a week where I don’t lose any weight, then drop more calories? Or do I just drop a ton to begin with and my body will kinda take care of the rest?

I’m confused. For example if I cut 1000 calories a week, do I just ride that out until I hit a week where I don’t lose any weight, then drop more calories? Or do I just drop a ton to begin with and my body will kinda take care of the rest?

Front Flexed

Back Flexed

most… muscular?