T Nation

Need Help with Nutrition

Been lifting 2.5 years. My peak weight was 192 at 5’11" about a year ago. My training is mostly Waterbury-type TBT stuff, 3 sessions a week plus 2-3 cardio sessions.

I’ve been “cutting” for probably 6-8 weeks now, and have dropped all the way down to 170. Problem is, although I’m noticeably thinner, I’m not getting any sign of impending abs, which was my goal.

I know, I should have bulked way more, but I was sick of feeling fat and buying size 34 pants. I’ve ALWAYS had some flab around my middle, and have NEVER seen my abs. Otherwise I have always been a skinny dude (genetics).

I’m worried about getting too thin, because my current diet is 500 calories below maintenance. I eat eggs, chicken breast, nuts, yogurt, oatmeal, berries, broccoli, water, fish oil, a multi, and two protein shakes per day. 1800-2000 cals per day, with some cheat food occasionally on weekends.

I want to see my abs before bulking again, but am afraid I’ll be 155 before that happens. I feel like I’m doing something wrong, and am looking to enlist help from this great community. Thanks to all who reply.

Well, your training is fine.

Your diet, at least to what your consuming seems great.

My problem is your calorie intake.

1800-2000 calories a day for an individual thats this active is terribly low.

You need to be eating a bit more to sustain the muscle mass you currently have. Reducing your calorie intake to a slight deficit (200-300 calories) to slowly rid of the bodyfat is the best way.

As for your abs showing; genetics may only allow you to see your abdomen at a reasonably low bodyfat (7-9%). In essence, it may be the last body part to become defined when you’re reducing your bodyfat.

Bottom line, fat-loss takes time; stick to your diet, don’t cut drastic amounts of calories in an attempt to lose fat ‘faster’, as it can/will result in muscle loss.

Just, take your time.

It comes down to what will make you happier. In the end thats all that matters. In my opinion, you’ve dieted down this far to see your abs for the first time, your almost there. I’d stick it through.

sounds like me last year. yea i think you should keep dieting down until you see abs. i mean even if its 155 or lower it will be worth it. my stomach is the last area to loose fat so i have to be really lean like under 7% to see real definition. the reason i say this, is because when you “bulk up” from a low bodyfat, you will most likely not gain a whole lot of fat and it will be alot easier to loose 5-10lb of fat compared to 20+.

i usually try not to go over 10%bf and my abs DONT show at that. but i know it will only take a couple months of serious dieting to get back down. maintaining a fairly lean physeque will also help you with your running, pull-ups, dips, and cardio. in my opinion it is funner to see your gains rather than stay chubby lookin. keep up the good work!

How are your lifts? Are you maintaining your strength? If not, you are probably losing a significant amount of muscle. I’d up the calories a little on your training days if you are weakening.

And what’s your cardio looking like? HIIT might be a bit much considering your on such a deficit.

Thanks for the replies.

I used to do HIIT, but read it is not so good if you are on a caloric deficit. So now it’s 30 mins steady state on the elliptical, keeping the heart rate above 150. Sometimes I do 10-15 mins high incline walking when I feel lazy.

My lifts definitely aren’t going up, but I don’t feel I’m losing much strength, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve lost some muscle over the last eight weeks. Shirts aren’t as tight around the arms/chest.

I will definitely eat more on training days. How about whole grain pasta? That will add about 400 cals if you have two servings. I do worry about the high carbs though, as I try to maintain a 40/40/20 split.