T Nation

Need Help Planning a Cut


Hi, thanks for reading! So right now here's what my bulking diet looks like

Meal 1: Bulking shake (12 oz. whole milk, 1tbl coconut oil, 2tbls EVOO, 1 scoop protein, 1 cup blueberries, 2 tbls. flax, 2 tbl greek yogurt)
Meal 2: banana & 5 oz tuna & mayo, 8 oz. oj
Meal 3: apple & 5 oz. tuna & mayo
Meal 4: 8 oz. chicken
Meal 5: 12 oz. top round steak & a vege (either 8 oz. broccoli, 4 oz. spinach, or 1 cup mixed veggies)
Meal 6: 5 oz. natty PB, 1 oz. walnuts
Throughout day: I drink 1/2 gallon of whole milk spread out through the day.

Totals: 5257 calories, 283F/276Carbs(42Fiber)/426Protein

I'm going to end up around 230 lbs., and somewhere between 14 and 16% bf.

Now I want to cut down to somewhere between 200 and 210 and 6-8% bf. Here's what I'm thinking for a cutting diet

Meal 1: Cutting shake (12 oz. 1% milk, 1tbl coconut oil, 1tbls EVOO, 1 scoop protein, 1 cup blueberries, 2 tbls. flax, 2 tbl greek yogurt)
Meal 2: 4 oz. chicken breast & apple
Meal 3: 4 oz. chicken breast & banana
Meal 4: 12 oz. top round steak & veggie (again, something like 8 oz. broccoli)
Meal 5: 8 oz. 2% cottage cheese, 1 oz. walnuts

Totals: 2849 cals, 118F/137C(33Fiber)/314P

Now my question to you guys; I'm petrified of over doing a cut and ending up at like 190 lbs, and at like 10% bf, thus ruining all the effort I made on this bulk. So assuming I'm doing a good amount of sprinting/tabatas/complexes for cardio, will what I've laid out be enough calories to get me down to / keep me at 200-210 lbs. at 6-8% bf? Or do you think I'll end up way below that at like 190 or something with this diet I planned out?


You're implementing a 46% caloric reduction! So you're already overdoing things. Have you ever thought of doing a more normal 10-20% reduction?

"I'm going to end up around 230 lbs., and somewhere between 14 and 16% bf."

Either way (losing or gaining), how do you know what you're gonna wind up at?

You must be pretty friggin' muscular or require a lot of calories in general to wind up 230 pounds with 14-16% bodyfat (assuming average height).

"Or do you think I'll end up way below that at like 190 or something with this diet I planned out?"

I'm too lazy at the moment to do calculations for you to figure out exactly how much fat mass you need to lose to wind up at that body composition (you might want to do that part for us). But again, there's no way in telling what exactly you're gonna wind up at, and if you restrict calories and add in so much damn activity all at once, you're already overdoing things and heading in the wrong direction.


I'd have to lose about 18 lbs. of fat if I go from 230 @ .15 to 205 @ .08. I am 5 10, sorry, should've put that in OP.


Why not just eat 8 oz of chicken instead of spreading it over two meals? Nothing wrong with spreading it out, but I don't see any satisfaction from eating 4 oz of meat and an apple.

I'm not the be-all end-all, and people like Stu and Modok know more than I do in getting down to single digits, but you eat an awful lot of protein and little carbs. If this works for you, fine. I just don't see the need for all that protein, and do believe that higher carb intake allows for better training intensity, function, and recovery. You're not entering a show, and this should be a gradual process anyway.

Are you planning on adding in sprinting, tabatas, AND complexes in ON TOP of your weight training?!

How do you train? Like a typical bodybuilder?


And what you have to do is make a 10-20% reduction and get on the scale and look in the mirror and take measurements at the end of every one or two weeks and make adjustments as you go.


Hmm....When I cut maybe I'll leave 8 oz of chicken at one of the meals, and then keep with the tuna, but in a smaller quantity for one of the other meals. I typically train with heavy compound movements, around 13 working sets per workout. I've been doing a tabata on Tuesday and one on Friday as well so I don't totally lose my conditioning during the bulk. I won't be adding all those things in once I cut, I just wanted to give an idea of what I might do.

My body does respond well to low carb solutions, which is why I cut it that low. I don't get the fogginess others do. I typically do a carb up on Saturdays when I cut, and get to about 200-250g on those days.

Thanks for the help!


That's a pretty insane shift going from bulk to cut. Possibly make smaller steps? Make adjustments when progress stalls? Maybe start with just a few smaller cardio sessions at first instead of a 'good amount'?



why not just walk for cardio when bulking all that high intensity stuff will just burn cals n take energy away from your weight sessions .
like BRICKNYCE said 46% cal reduction is too much you'll strip fat and strip muscle at the same weight .
it took me years to learn this and thus it took me about 10 years to go from 125 to 188lbs today.
muscle is precious dont sacrafice it for the sake of rapid fatloss.


Truth be told I have problems with cutting. I can bulk fine, and have done it with good success. When I cut I lose weight, and end up with a low bf %....and I seem to keep almost all my strength, however I seem to lose a ton of muscle in the process. My last bulk I went from 178 at about 10%, got to 213 @ 15%...then cut and ended up at 187 around 10. So my sum gain was like 7 lbs. of muscle. Lame.

I don't want that to happen this time. I want to do this right> I'm getting heavier than I've ever been. I'll end up at 230, and somewhere between 14 and 16% bf I believe. I want to cut down to like 200-210 and 5-8% bf. But I need serious help on the diet portion of cutting. I don't want to lose all the muscle I worked so hard for. But on the flip side I don't want to stagnate and still be dragging around at like 220 and 14% bf still or something come July. Which is why I'm asking for help from ya'all


What about this:

Meal 1: Cutting shake (12 oz. 1% milk, 1 scoop protein, 1 cup blueberries, 2 tbls. flax, 2 tbl greek yogurt)
Meal 2: 4 oz. chicken breast, tuna sandwich on whole wheat & apple
Meal 3: 4 oz. chicken breast,tuna sandwich on whole wheat & banana
Meal 4: 12 oz. top round steak & veggie (again, something like 8 oz. broccoli)
Meal 5: 8 oz. 2% cottage cheese, 1 oz. walnuts

So I took out the evoo & coconut oil out of the cutting shake, then added in a tuna sandwich with each of those mid-day meals. Brings my calories to 3528, 140F/215C(43Fiber)/355P.....do you think that's too many grams of carbs to cut? I honestly don't know what's normal for someone who does heavy workouts etc. I feel like anything above 200 is crazy high.


Dude. You know what healthy food looks like and that's the most important part (of course along with consistency), but like Stu said, maybe just try an approach with a less drastic change (smaller overal kCal drop) -- that is unless you have some deadline or something. Keep in mind that it's about the journey (blah blah blah) and not the end result. I'd prob just drop carbs back to 200g or something (levaing everything else constant), or maybe try a carb cycle (with current 276 gr. "bulk" level intake as the high day (and ~100 as the low day, all AM and/or preworkout)

PS Why the F*&^ do Americans (myself included) use pounds/ounces for everything but macro measurements (grams of f/c/p). Ok, back on topic now.



I would first start and take out all whole milk. Give that a few weeks. See where it takes you.

That'll drop a lot of calories as is.

Then, maybe meal 1, I'd drop some of the fats. Give that a week weeks. See where it takes you.

Then, maybe combine meal 2 and 3, drop the OJ, and 1 of the fruits. See where it takes you.

That should account for 4-6 weeks without drastically changing your diet.

After that, reassess.


so basically do a step down? like

Week 1: 5000 calories
Week 2: 4500 calories
Week 3: 4000 calories
Week 4: 3500 calories
Week 5: 3000 calories


Aside from Brick's and Stu's above recommendations, I also suggest re-doing your calculations. The figures I came up with are drastically different than the ones you posted (roughly one-third less). However, I also realize this may or may not change the course of your upcoming cut. Nevertheless, I think it's extremely useful to stay precise with your food intake.


"I feel like anything above 200 is crazy high."

You feel 200 grams of carbs is low, meanwhile you are active and/or are big enough and/or need 5,000+ calories to gain?!

Dude, I really don't like being a dick, but with this said, I don't know how to lightly say YOU'RE ALL OVER THE PLACE!


Are you addicted to making things complicated and/or do you believe the human body is so efficient that you can just tell it or predict what it's going to do?

Can the above work? Maybe. But it still involves drastic reduction and hardly any time to realize what is going on. In the above example, you are making 10+% reductions EVERY week!

You have two options here:
1) Use some tried and trusted weight based caloric recommendations (eg, 10 - 12 kcal/lb to lose).
2) Check maintenance level from food log and reduce by 10-20%.

BOTH require YOU to take action and check your weight and measurements every one to two weeks.


And how do you see 200 grams of carbs for someone who appears to desire 10+ hours of activity per week consisting of sprints, tabatas, weight lifting, and complexes as too much but have no problems with consuming in excess of 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight?

I assure you that buck-80, RIPPED-TO-THE-BONE top sprinters you see on TV aren't consuming a measly 200 grams of carbs (what you can get from a plate of pasta and a large dinner roll).


Though you were putting on size. Guess we won't ever know if you can put on that pound of muscle a week :frowning:


I'm not cutting til march 1. I'm keeping track of my bf, don't worry :stuck_out_tongue:


if you were to do something like this it would be much better to do SIGNIFICANTLY smaller drops. even if you were to cut 100-150 cals every time fat loss stalls (not necessarily every week) that would still be much better for muscle retention