T Nation

Some Questions Regarding My Attempt At Cutting!


My Stats:

Age - 21
Height - 5,10"
Weight - 252lbs
Bodyfat - Around 18-20%
Experience - 6 Years
AAS Use - Did one cycle of Test-E & Nolva a few months back
Medical Conditions - Insulin Dependent Diabetic


To get down to around 13% bodyfat or at least down to a bodyfat where my stomach is "flat" as opposed to sticking out. I'm not even bothered about seeing my abs, I just want my stomach to be flat/not have a gut anymore.

I want to be able to walk around without my top on without feeling embarassed, because at the moment I'm extremely shy about going to the beach, going swimming, or even walking around the house without a top on etc. I'd also like to keep as much muscle as I possibly can whilst reducing bodyfat.


  • I am going to be starting my cut tomorrow, and was thinking of reducing my carbs each meal by around half & replacing them with a lot of vegetables instead. Is this a decent approach to get started?

  • Do I need to measure/weigh everything out at the start, or can my goals be achieved from just reducing the amount of calories I've been taking in whilst keeping protein high?

  • I was going to start a 5x5 program training 3x per week in order to keep as much strength as I can whilst on the cut, so that my motivation stats as high as possible. What do you think about this?

  • I was thinking of doing HIIT as cardio in order to keep muscle loss/breakdown at a minimum & to help with the fat loss. I'm just not sure WHEN to do it. Would doing it for 15-20 mins straight after a workout be optimal?

I hear this is a good time because your glycogen stores have been used up during the weight lifting session, therefore the cardio will be using fat as energy as opposed to the carbs stored in your body. Although, this is just what I've heard.

  • How long would you say I'd need to cut for in order to drop down from 20%-13% whilst preserving as much muscle as possible? I figured 13% was the around the right percentage where I'd have a flat stomach but if I'm wrong, please let me know, thanks.


I can easily do the eating less etc but my biggest concern BY FAR is the fact that I may lose a lot of my hard earned muscle during my cut. This is what has prevented me from cutting in the past, and made me go back to just "clean bulking" again.

I've seen numerous cases where people have begun a cutting cycle only to get a few months down the line with a hell of a lot of muscle as well as fat lost, which is NOT what I'm aiming for. I have purchased a Thermogenic supplement & some EFA's in order to aid my fat loss, and I have also bought some Creatine to help preserve muscle mass whilst on the cut.

What else should I be doing in order to make sure I preserve as much muscle as possible whilst losing fat at the same time?

Thanks a lot in advance, I really appreciate any help.


looks like you have most things covered. just maintain lifting heavy and trying to add weight to the bar.
good luck.


I can't speak from experience, i'm a skinny dude so i've never "cut" per se so take what i say with grain of salt, but one thing I noticed was the HIIT, I don't know how hard you workout, but I know I personally would not have the gas to do HIIT after my workouts.

Perhaps you should do it on your off days with something in your stomach because I was under the impression that HIIT burns everything, fat and muscle, when in a starved state because it's very intense and must draw a lot of energy, I could be wrong, but that's if you want to keep the HIIT.

It will be faster, but you will probably lose muscle mass. How about low intensity cardio?

Have a carb cutoff at like 5-6pm and do some light 30-40 minute morning walking/jogging with an empty stomach. Glycogen will be low because of the carb cutoff and the sleep, and fat will do as a fine energy source for the cardio.


A couple of suggestions. First off, you should make your goal more clearly defined. You mention 13% bodyfat, a flat stomach, and then later ask about a time period.

I think you'll have a much easier time of it if you pick either a bodyfat % (get calipers and make sure it's a decent measurement) OR a time period (6 weeks, for example). Your flat stomach goal is clear on paper, but it can be pretty tough to know when you've actually achieved it, in my experience.

My second suggestion is about your cardio plans. Speaking for myself, the most demotivating thing about cutting is when you plateau. Constant progress (for as long as you can achieve it) is key.

I'd recommend holding off on the HIIT until you need it. Do moderate cardio after lifting (I find that works great) until your progress stalls, then bust out the more intense sessions to break through.

Deciding to commit is the most important part. Make sure to measure multiple variables (weight, measurements, calipers if you've got them), so that you actually can see the progress you're making. Good luck!


Looks good. Something that really really helps when I cut is a food log. You can see patterns on a weekly basis. Record EVERYTHING you eat. So when you stall out you can pin point the source of your problem. At your stage (18-20%) focus on cleaning up your diet first, then start measuring things out.

HIIT after workout is not something I would recommend. If you can split it up in to two sessions or have them on seperate days, it should workout well. I might be going against what's normally said here but I do fasted walks myself.

Best of luck



In other words, you're asking if taking on a caloric deficit while keeping your current macro split will be sufficient, or if your split also needs to be modified, right?

I'd say it depends on how much you want to lose and how fast you want to lose it. You can lose a little on a caloric deficit. You will lose a lot more if you cut carbs.

It's fine.

Should be.

That's the theory...

You're not wrong, and probably about 5 months.

You're looking to lose 7% of your bodyweight and you want as much of that weight loss as possible to come from fat.

7% of 252 is 17.65 lbs. 252 - 17.65 = 234.35 target weight

If you really want to keep it all, take a mild anabolic on your cut. Epistane is going for $25 right now at a major online retailer.


OK, what about if I dropped the HIIT after workouts & did 25-30 mins medium intensity on a Stationary Bike after workouts instead?

Thanks for the suggestions about having a carb cut-off & saving HIIT until I start to plateau in my fat loss, they seem like good suggestions.


Thanks a lot for that, that's great. I'm gonna look into Epistane aswell, ty.


It isnt rocket science:

1)Training Wise:

Train Heavy.

2)Food wise:

Protein Wise: If your not already 1.5g/lb

Fat Wise: 1g/lb........ within that have 1g of fish oil per %of bodyfat

Carb Wise: All the green veg you want, 1 piece of fruit for breakfast, and post workout shake THATS IT

3)Cardio Wise:

If you want to keep your muscle, take 5g BCAA's in the morning do 30mins of low intensity cardio 7 days a week.

Bump it up 5 mins every 2 days.

Follow those simple rules, and the fat will come off.

Every 7 days, BEFORE 5pm you may have ONE SINGULAR Carb meal (enjoy it)


Should I really be doing cardio 7x a week to start off with? Isn't that a little too much considering I've only just started my cut?

I thought it was optimal to start by doing cardio around 3x per week when just starting, as opposed to 7x, but I could be wrong.


don't start off 7x unless you have like a competition in 4 weeks get me? If you have no real date that you MUST hit within the next 2 months start if off nice and slow, especially if you want to preserve muscle mass, take your time.


Yeah that's what I thought. It's just that the guy above said to do cardio 7x a week which I thought was a bit odd considering I'm just starting out. He also suggested that the only carbs I should be eating should be a piece of fruit for breakfast & some in my PWO shake. Is this right?


You see I don't like this no carb stuff, just makes it harder to fall off the wagon, plus someone's energy levels will go to shit really quickly. Why not just keep carbs lowish, employ a carb cutoff at about 5 pm and do some low intensity cardio in the morning? Just makes it easier to follow through with.

For clarity, i'm talking about taking patient approach at losing fat while trying to preserve as much lean body mass as possible. I don't know shit about ya know, like precontest dieting or having to come in shredded inside out in like 8-10 weeks, but the OP just wants to reach an appreciable bodyfat of 10-13%, why, tell me why, does he need to employ such drastic methods which will lead to a higher risk of losing muscle mass?


Sigh if you dont want advice dont frigging ask for it.

Its really simple....... 30 minutes low intensity cardio will have ZERO impact on your muscle mass provided you have a scoop of whey OR 5g BCAA's BUT you must cut off your carbs fairly early in the day in order to be somewhat glycogen depleted come morning ala DC training.

And if you cant get up off your ass for 1/2 an hr 7 days a week well you have bigger issues than losing weight.


If you don't have the self-control to employ a simple carb cutoff just a few hours before you go to bed, you've got bigger issues regarding your diet as well


Yes i know how to put on weight ....... im just below DOUBLE your bodyweight lol.


Hmmm..if i remember correctly the OP wants to cut weight, mostly fat. Interesting concept...answering a question with an answer that pertains to the question.

he wants to lower bodyfat while preserving as much LBM as possible. So why not do it slowly with low intensity cardio on a fasted stomach. HIIT will do it faster...but the faster you do it, the greater the risk of losing muscle mass.

All i preach is common sense.