T Nation

Need Help with First Real Cut


OK, so thanks to the great advice I got here, I have been doing a bulk for the past 3.5 months now and have gained 25 lbs. (181 to 206 approximately). Here's what my diet's looked like:

Workout Day (4 days/week)
Meal 1: 1.5 servings oatmeal, 8 oz. oj, 8 oz. 2% milk
Meal 2: 1 tuna sandwich (whole wheat), 4 oz. broiled chicken breast, banana
Meal 3: 1 tuna sandwich (whole wheat), 4 oz. broiled chicken breast, apple
PostWorkout: 1.75 cups meat tortelini, followed quickly by meal 4.
Meal 4: 12 oz. top-round steak, 1 cup spinach
Meal 5: 24 oz. 2% milk, 4 Tbsp PB.
[i]4425 calories, 37% fat (185g), 28% carbohydrates (332g), 34% protein (360g)

NON Workout Day (3 days/week)
Meal 1: 1.5 servings oatmeal, 8 oz. oj, 8 oz. 2% milk
Meal 2: 1 PBJ sandwich (whole wheat), 4 oz. broiled chicken breast, banana
Meal 3: 1 PBJ sandwich (whole wheat), 4 oz. broiled chicken breast, apple
Meal 4: 12 oz. top-round steak, 1 cup spinach
Meal 5: 24 oz. 2% milk
[i]3546 calories, 30% fat (120g), 33% carbohydrates (316g), 35% protein (299g)

So I'd like to cut back by say 500 calories/day on both days, and reduce carbs, but I'm having trouble. Some ideas I had:

1) Replace the pasta post-workout with Surge or something?
2) Eliminate the milk from the diet? (I'd lose 33g/protein though..)
3) Change the 4 oz./chicken breast on Meals 2 & 3 to 8oz/meal.
4) Get rid of the pB&J and tuna sandwiches and replace it with 4 oz. of tuna. at each meal.
5) Add in a couple 30 minute sessions of incline walking per week

any other ideas?



If you want to cut out 500 cals per day and reduce carbs, just remove 500 cals of carbs from your daily intake, and see what happens. You listed a few ways to do that, so just use those based on what is most convenient on that day. Honestly, why do you say you are having trouble?


Meal 1: 1.5 servings oatmeal, 8 Egg Whites
Meal 2: 2 whole wheat ezekial bread, 6 oz. broiled chicken breast, banana
Meal 3: 2 whole wheat ezekial bread, 1 can tuna, apple
PostWorkout: 2 Servings whole wheat pasta, followed quickly by meal 4.
Meal 4: 12 oz. top-round steak, 1 cup spinach
Meal 5: 2 scoops protein powder, 4 Tbsp PB.
Just looking at it quickly 250-300 Protein, 225-250 Carbs, 75-80 Fat

How about someting like this? I tried to keep your current template but just made some simple changes that would help start a cut. Keep enough clean cals to maintain all that muscle you just gained though. Getting rid of milk and OJ and replacing with egg whites and protein powder is a good start. Getting rid of meat tortellinis is another. Switching to ezekial bread is something I ripped from Justin Harris and his guys from his books.


Just curious, but why not consider taking out some fat?


get rid of the milk and replace with a protein shake to compensate for protein. Not sure where that would bring you.

If needed cut back on the bread, use one slice instead of 2


If I were you, I would cut in half plus some the carbs on your Non-Workout days. Carbs are used as fuel and really are not essential unless you are expending energy, especially if your goal is cutting. Just my opinion, but I would also try and keep the carb intake low besides from the pre/during/post workout times and the morning.


Unless your PBJ is natural no sugar added, I think the easiest way to start cutting is to replace the PBJ with either natural no sugar added or a can of tuna. Additionally, get rid of the pasta that crap is way too processed.

If you change those two things and keep hitting the gym hard you will start cutting.

As for incline walking, or any other type of cardio for that matter, it won't really accelerate the process that much. It burns calories yes, but do you know how far you have to go to burn off 300 calories. Too damn far is the correct answer. Cardio improves cardiovascular health but does not reduce fat noticeably. HTH.


Thanks! I think the PBJ is all natural...I'm thinking of replacing it with tuna for the time being, since i'll get more protein out of it; protein I may be losing by cutting out other things from my diet


McG this post is ill informed all the way around. Processed/unprocessed foods won't be detrimental or beneficial to someone trying to cut weight/fat. It comes down to whether they are eating in a caloric deficit. If the OP had a gluten allergy, I would recommend cutting out pasta, but pasta is a powerful carb and would be a great post-WO meal with some lean protein. To each their own.

Cardio improves cardiovascular health...if your heart rate is in the cardiovascular zone. I doubt a steady state activity (130 BPM) will improve cardiovascular health very much. All that does for the body is burn additional calories further increasing the deficit. I believe you're alluding to the superiority of EPOC from intervals over SS cardio.

OP, your diet can have whatever you want in it as long as you are in a caloric deficit. Try changing the diet first, keeping the weight routine the same, see what happens. You will lose fat if you truly are in a deficit. When you stall, add the cardio. Stall again, cut the cals...it's a stepwise process. I highly recommend carb cycling. Eat carbs when you workout, decrease your fats...it's simple. Dr. Clay's article from yesterday is probably one of the best nutritional articles that's been posted.


Not to turn this into a huge debate. But you completely ignore nutrient timing and quality of food. Fot instance, let's say I need 3500 calories to maintain my weight. If I only eat candy to reach that 3500, I'm going to be one fat unhealthy bastard. As John B. would say, a calorie is not a calorie. (I know you are new so go search Nutrient Timing I and II on here) Processed foods in general contain more sugars which cause a higher spike in insulin and thus leading to weight gain not weight loss. If you have high insulin spikes but are operating in a caloric deficit guess what happens. Your body starts storing fat and burning muscle to get the proper nutrients you need. Thus, your body fat goes up but your weight goes down because you are losing muscle.

In short, you have to eat healthy balanced meals (to fuel your workouts and to produce the right hormones), have a caloric deficit, and avoid insulin spikes to cut calories.

As for the best way to obtain a caloric deficit, cardio is not it. One, the amount of cardio you have to do to burn a few hundred calories is ridiculously disporportional. Unless you have all day to spend in the gym, you aren't going to lose much weight this way. Two, you only burn calories while you are working out (and the little after burn you get). On the other hand, muscle burns calories all day long. So if you want your workouts to lead to the caloric deficit, add ten to fifteen minutes a day to your weight routines. This will build more muscle leading to more burned calories throughout the day.


4 month difference between his join date and yours.

Oh and steady state works very well for a lot of people. No need to discount that. I know you're new so go search G-Flux from Berardi. 15 min of weight training might help, but if he's hit his "wall" then some would say it's counter productive. Whereas 30 minutes of steady state incline walking wouldn't be.


I've been on here since the beginning but had a computer crash and lost my password info. Tried to request it but didn't have the email address anymore.

Based on what the guy says he is doing, I assumed that he hadn't hit a wall in the weight room. Even if he had, my real point was nutrition is the best way to cut but you have to keep lifting to maintain muscle mass. Our bodies are a funny thing. Muscle is the first to go when you have a caloric deficit unless you are using the muscle vigorously. Simply, your body realizes that muscle takes a lot of calories to maintain while fat takes very little. So the first to go is the muscle because it gives you energy now and save caloric expenditure later.

Steady rate cardio has only a minimal effect on fat gain/loss. Instead of spending that extra hour on the treadmill you could just cut out two pieces of bread. Seems like a more efficient way to lose weight. If your goal is cardiovascular health, then stay on the treadmill though.