T Nation

Ripping up and out specifically for John Berardi

Heya T-freques. I am currently working on simply getting ripped (yeah, simple my ass). Anyhow, at a weight of 173 I am having an extraordinarily difficult time ridding myself of the last few 5-6 lbs. of flab. I use massive eating guidlines and my maintenance caloric intake is around 2,040 per day. My question, specifically addressed to Mr. Berardi or any of you who have quality input on the subject, is how low should I drop my overall cals? What about micronutrient breakdown? I find that I feel better taking in a meal every 2 1/2-3 hours rather than every 2. I am also on the T2/MD6 stack, which is working well. Still, I’d like to shred out and drop the last 5-6. Thanks in advance.

“MBE: Consistently cutting since 1707.”


Hey, I emailed John B about this topic not too long ago, and he said drop 200 cal (from your daily) and see how it goes. And then adjust from there by ether upping or lowering 200 cal. Hope it helps.

Thanks TJ. My biggest concern is portion size. For instance, how many friggin grapes do I eat in one sitting? ect. It would really help if someone of a similar build (5’7, 170’s) could give me a sample meal plan. Thanks.

“MBE: yeah, you know me. since 1221.”


You could drop calories a little more, say 200 a day for a week and then even more the next week. You don’t say anything about your training though. Are you doing any work which requires a high energy expenditure? If not, I am biased to up the total amount of work done rather than dropping calories. Dropping calories slows the metabolism. Exercise (resistance or aerobic) helps speed it up and helps keep it up. More details on your training and current diet makeup could help. Also, how long have you been at this diet?

Jay, I’ve been doing Kettlebell training for 3 weeks and have become addicted to it. I’ve seen phenominal results in muscular density and dramatic fat loss (I don’t enjoy sounding like a giddy f’n testimonial but its true) by doing K-bell circuits. So, I shall stay with that for a while. I’m taking this week off from training to allow an arm injury to heal (I still need to get it evaluated as I beleive I have some torn muscle tissue in my left bicep brachiallis). I’ve been on massive eating for at least four month but, regretfully, I really haven’t paid attention to overall caloric numbers. I relaize that to truly rip out I have to. I purchased one of those caloric guides that lists the caloric and macronutrient breakdown of just about every type of food. When I return to training I’ll be following Pavel’s plan of doing 3 weeks of circuit trianing followed by 3 of strength training w/ Deads and presses. Thanks fellow freques.

“MBE: Endentured servant of Endangered species since 1844.”


It sounds like you have the exercise portion worked out. First of all, you need to figure out how many calories you have been taking in. Also, if you have been dropping the body fat, you may not need to drop your calories too much further. Are you using any fish oil? That is another easy thing to add to your game plan for fat loss. Once, you know how much you have been eating and you are beginning to slow down the process of fat loss. I would begin dropping calories by 100 a day for a week and see if that helps. If needed, drop another 100 calories the next week. Or add another kettebel circuit. I’ve never used kettebel, but I have done a lot of one-arm dumbell snatches and I love them. How do the kettebels compare? Do you use less weight than dumbells? Are they difficult to control. I don’t plan on any kettebel training in the near future, but may consider it for later on and would like to hear the real deal from someone not named Pavel.

There is a USDA nutrition website that has way more detailed caloric & nutritional breakdown than any book I have ever seen.Will tell you exactly how many grapes to eat.


I was a little curious about your statement about dropping calories slowing the metabolism while training speeds it up. Obviously, I am aware of these facts. However, I was wondering if you have any idea (whether scientifically supported or not) of how long the metabolism is suppressed. Does regular metabolic function return immediately after ending a cutting phase? Just interested because I’m starting a cutting cycle tomorrow, and it’s my first time without a lot of cardio. I’ll be lifting 5 times/week in a opposing muscle group scheme (I might throw in a workout or two of Meltdown on Sundays) and doing cardio once while slowing lowering calories. Once I get down to around 2000 per day, I’m going to start two weeks of Mag-10. Over 28 days, if my calculations are accurate, I should drop 5-6 lbs. of fat. Any thoughts on my original question or the program I’ve outlined? Thanks.

Eventually working your way down to 2000 calories should be fine. Especially if you are hitting the weights 5+ times a weeks. The exercise that you do to rev up the metabolism does not have to be aerobic in nature. Lifting requires significant energy expenditure. Exercise of any sort (as compared to the same caloric deficit created from diet) has also been shown to be muscle sparing during a cutting phase. Your plan is very reasonable and I would not expect to see any significant metabolic drop.

Now to your initial question. It depends. The lower you drop your calories and the longer you keep them very low (less than 1000-1500 calories for a male), you could significantly alter your metabolism. This is primarily the case when there is NO exercise during the calorie restriction. People that exercise (even on diets as low as 500 cal/day) are much more likely to maintain a normal resting metabolic rate during dieting, maintain muscle mass, and maintain a normal resting metabolic rate after dieting (i.e. no downregulation). I don’t have any of the studies or graphs in front of me, but I’ve seen a lot of information to support this thought in my six years as an exercise science major. My Master’s thesis should be complete in a week or two and then I’m done with school for a while. Thank God!

K-bell snatches are torturous and will leave a helluva burn, man. THe smallest K-bell that Dragondoor offers is the one I am currently using, the 1 Pood, or 36 lb. model. As a result of the compactness of the iron ball, it feels heavier than 36 lbs. and the types of movements that you negotiate with the thing make it ideal. Once it becomes too easy, which I cannot see happening too soon, you can hit the 2 pood model. Say what you will about the “Evil Russian”, his actual origin, capitolistic idealism, ect., but the guy publishes some solid trianing material. Haven’t tried fish oil. What do you reccomend? Thanks for all your input, guys.

“MBE: Rippin’, strippin’, 'sall good, since 1661.”


Definitely get yourself a food scale and start weighing out everything so you know how many calories your getting. It’ll take some time but you’ll figure everything out eventually.

I use the fish oil caps that I buy at Trader Joe’s (I’m in Northern California). I get one gram DHA/EPA per 2 caps. I’ve seen a huge variety of sources that people have used. Twinlab’s Dale Alexander Fish Oil (not caps) comes up often and I think that people get a pretty good deal at Costco on fish oil caps. Give it a shot, it may be the extra kick to help you out.

Check out fitday.com to record what you eat. I had more-or-less kept track of my caloric intake and macronutrient balance for a year or so, but when I started using fitday I achieved total control; it’s a great way to record info (you can access your own data from any web browser, it has lots of nutrition data and you can easily adjust portion size (e.g. 1 grape), and if they don’t have it you can find the data elsewhere and add a custom entry it will remember for you). Great stuff.

Thanks guys. Fav, where on the USDA site are the caloric breakdowns? Thanks.

“MBE: Roastin’ and postin’ sincce 1934.”


You can also try Members’ Mark (Sams Club) brand of fish oil caps. I get 700mg EPA/DHA per capsule, and it’s $6.99 per 300 caps. Seems like a good deal to me.

Best of luck,


Member’s Mark Fish Oil Caps from Sam’s Club are a good choice as well. I bought 300 for $6.99 today.

Bumpin’ da post