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Strength Dilemma while Dieting


I've been dieting for about a month now. My strength has maintained, more or less with all my muscle groups except shoulders. Bench is down 1 rep, Squats are the same, Chins and Rows are the same, but anything involving my shoulders heavily has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY.

This is really starting to bother me. 2 weeks in a row now, I've gone to work shoulders, and attempted to start my workout.

Normally, I can lift the 90-lb DB's x 6 without much of a problem. A week ago, I couldn't even hoist them up for 1 rep, so I tried the 85's, and couldn't even get those up either. Today I decided to skip the DB Press, and try BNP's.

Normally, I do 205 x 5 or so. Today, I couldn't even get 185 once (and this doesn't even involve "hoisting" the weight first, like DB's do). I've noticed the same with Incline DB BP (prob cause it uses a lot of shoulder), where I normally do 115 x 7, I couldn't even get the 110's up off my chest.

What the hell is going on? Calories are only down about 500 below maintenance, and I've been eating about 500 above maintenance on weekend days to "reload." I'm so frustrated with this.

Thanks for any feedback.

If you have any further questions, or need more specifics to answer thoroughly, please just ask!


What’s your meal timing like in relation to your workouts, etc?


Overall, I’m eating 275g’s protein, and 250g carbs, with about 70-80g of fat.

In regards to specifically around my workouts, I eat 2 pcs whole wheat bread and 75g of whey 2 hours prior. I probably could eat something immediately prior to it, but I’m trying to limit calories and I find myself so hungry throughout the day, that if I were to eat at this point, I dont think I’d be able to cut out anything later on to compensate…

And then immediately after the workout I have 10 ounces of chicken with teryaki sauce and a little over a cup of rice. It breaks down to about 60-70g protein, and 60-70g carbs, since the teryaki sauce has some simple sugars in it.


No one else has any other input?


I guess the broad strokes answer is that you’re getting weaker because you’re not eating enough.

It’s taken a month, but now your body is no longer able to sustain the same strength as it did when you were bulking/maintaining.

500 calories below maintenance is 3500 calories a week, which to me at first glance is a lot. Perhaps tae a week off from dieting completely, allow some really good rest, and then begin the diet again at 250 calories below maintenance and see if your strength levels out.

Really though, you have to make the decision on what’s more important. Losing weight or keeping strength and adjust accordingly.

You can’t stay strong long term as well as lose weight. Just doesn’t happen.

Or maybe I’m completely off the mark and you’re just looking for help on shoulder specific stuff?


Its a little bit of both. I just find it so strange that the rest of my strength has maintained, but my shoulder strength has declined by 7-10%, in a matter of a month!

I def wanna lean up. I’ve been around 205 and 12% bf for the past 3 years, and for once I actually want to see what it looks like underneath… kinda see what all the hard work looks like without that slight layer of fat over it.

My shoulders are also sore today, from yesterdays workout, and they never get sore. EVER. So, thats foreign to me too…

I wonder whether not eating prior to bed is the main problem. When I was eating 500-700 calories more, I would always eat a massive meal before bed, and the past month, I have struggled to avoid this, and instead, stopped eating 3 hours prior. I always go to bed hungry.