T Nation

Trying to Cut


Alright so before I die, I want to be able to see my 6/8 pack and I figure now is a great time. A few months ago I became very sick and lost a lot of weight (about 20lbs). I haven't gotten all my weight back since I havent hit the gym in a while. Before I was sick I was ranging from about 177-180lbs. Now I'm at 167lbs. I'm 5'10. 22 years old. I have been writing down my exercises and keeping a food log for the past 2 weeks to see what I could be doing better. Hopefully I could get some critique on what I need to do to cut as efficiently as possible. I dont have a gym membership YET, but have been doing something weight training at home with my free weights. I AM getting a gym membership once I get a job, which will be soon. Heres my diet and workout routine for about the past 2 weeks. I havent been keeping track of calories, (I know, I know... I should) but I was hoping I could still get some helpful feedback. Thanks a lot.

11 A.M. Peach
11:45 A.M. Homemade meatball sandwich on wheat bread. 5 meatballs, spinach, garlic, onion, tomato. Plus a multivitamin.
1:30 P.M. Slice of black bean cake (Very dull taste)
3 pm Did 12,30 yard hill sprints. sucked...
5:30 2 cans tuna with salad and slice of bread and sliver of bean cake (I wont eat it anymore)
6:30 25 minute walk
8:30 4x8 db curls w/a few pullups
9:30 3 meatballs w/ green and red pepper slices. And vitamin D supplement

10 a.m. 1 Peach
10:15 meal replacement shake and spinach. Plus a multivitamin
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Soccer
2:30 p.m 4 eggs w/ onion, garlic, spinach, tomato and half cup of oatmeal
3:45 pm 1 Pear
8 pm 1 Meatball with macadamia nuts +vitamin D
8:40 pm Recon Pullup Program (RPP) 8,6,5,5,4
9:20 pm 4 meatballs w/ spinach +slice of pizza
12 a.m 2 gram fish oil w/ spinach and 1 egg

845 am 1 meatball, 1 egg + meal replacement shake and a multivitamin
930-11:15 am Soccer
11:45 am 1 peach
12:15 pm 2 cans tuna w/ spinach +tomato. 2 servings of cheese and handful of mixed nuts + Vitamin D
1:45 pm a bunch of newton blueberry cookies. They are new and they are delicious.
3-4 pm Soccer
4:45 1 Naner, 1 pear, 1 tomato, 1 Newton cookie + 1/2 bag of 100 calorie alphabet cookies.
5:45 pm 3 celery sticks w 3 TBSP of natural peanut butter
7:40 pm chicken wok w/ broccoli, scallions, and celery
9:45 pm 5x6 35 lbs DB curls RPP 7,6,5,4,4 (realized I had to do this 6 times a week...)
10:40 pm More chicken wok + 2 gram fish oil

9 am 1 peach
10 am Chicken wok w/ spinach +multivitamin
10:30 am Some newton cookies + 3 stalks of celery +4TBSP of natural pb +Vitamin D
3:40 pm 3 eggs w/ spinach, tomato and more chicken wok and half serving of oatmeal + half slice of bread
4:25 pm 1 peach
4:40 pm 30 min walk
6:30 pm 3 slices of meatloaf w/ caulliflower and broccoli + 2gram of fishoil
10:00 pm RPP 7,6,5,4,4
10:45 pm chicken wok and vegetables

11:40 am Meal replacement shake
12:40 pm Tabata thrusters. 2 separate sessions. 1st time 20 pounds, second time 10 pounds.
1:20 pm A ton of chicken wok + meatloaf and spinach +1TSP of natty pb
2:20 pm A bunch of watermelon. 4 servings worth is my guess.
3:30 pm 30 minute walk
4:45 pm Meatloaf + 3 celery stalks + 3 TBSP of natty pb
6:25 pm fat grip DB curls 35lbs 6,6,5,5 much tougher than normal curls
6:40 pm A few chicken pieces
9:40 pm RPP 7,6,5,4,4
10 pm 3 eggs w/ 1.5 TBSP of olive oil +salad and 2000 I.U Vit D + 2 gram fish oil
11:30 pm cup of watermelon and cantaloupe

12 pm 1/2 cup oatmeal. 2 cans of tuna +1 cup salad +multivitamin
2:15 pm Tabata thrusters
3:20 pm 4 eggs + 1.5 cups of spinach + garlic, onions, 1 tomato. 2 TSP of natty pb w/ Vit D
4:30 1 Peach
4:45 pm 30 minute walk
710 pm 3 servings of pepper jack cheese + half a green bell pepper
735 pm 3 eggs w/ 1.5 cups of lettuce, spinach and cucumber
8:45 pm tricep extension 57.5 lbs 10,8,8,8,8 RPP 7,6,5,4,4
9:30 pm 1.5 pieces of swordfish. No idea how much it actually is. Maybe 2.5 decks of playing cards worth of fish. 2 cups of cucumbers, squash, and lettuce +2 TBSP of olive oil

10:10 am 1 Naner
10:45 am 2 cans of tuna. 1.5 cups of lettuce, spinach, half an onion. 1/2 cup of oatmeal
12:40 pm 5 strawberries 2.4 gram of fishoil +Vit D
2:40 pm 3 TBSP of natty pb, 4 eggs w/ 2 cups of spinach, zucchini, squash, garlic and 1 tomato and 1.5 TBSP of olive oil. Virgin. Probably a little too much fat in this meal.
6:00 pm 1 piece of swordfish + 1 cup of lettuce +spinach
6:30 pm 30 minute walk
7:15 pm 5 small pieces of chicken + a 1 cup of spinach
8:40 pm RPP 7,6,5,4,4 tomorrow off
8:50 pm 14 oz (best estimate) of tri-tip 2 cups of peas and green beans +1/4 baked potato.

12 pm 4 eggs w/ 1.5 cups of spinach, garlic, green pepper. 1 tomato and 1 raw carrot. 1 card deck size of tri-tip. 1/2 cup of oatmeal. 2 TBSP of olive oil. 2 TBSP of natty pb. Multivitamin. big breakfast
1:30 pm 1 naner
3 pm 14, 30 yard hill sprints - theres nothing that drains me more
4:30 pm 2 card deck size of tri-tip. 1 cup of spinach, half an onion.
5 pm 1 TBSP of ice cream
5:30 pm 4x12 DB rows 57 lbs 3x 1:10 of planks
6 pm half deck of cards worth of tri-tip + small tomato. would have more PWO but I went out to dinner.
7:30 pm delayed pwo dinner. A delicious chicken crepe w/ a garden salad and a few small pieces of bread. I had a few bites of my parents yogurtland and felt sickkkk. Very naseous. Felt pretty terrible

930 am piece of tri-tip. 1 small piece of bread. Piece of chiken. 1 TBSP of natty PB.
12:30 pm meal replacement shake
2:15 RPP 8,6,5,5,4 DB curl 35lbs w/ fat gripz. 6x6
3 pm 1 deck of swordfish, 1 deck of tri-tip, 1 cup of spinach. 1 tomato
945 pm 1 subway chicken breast sandwich on 9 grain honey oat.
1030 pm 1 naner and 1 tomato

1030 am 2 decks of chicken, 1 sausage. Half an onion. 1 cup of spinach. 1 TBSP of natty pb. 1/2 cup oatmeal. 2.4 gram fish oil. Multivitamins
1 pm 1 deck of chicken, half a sausage. half a naner. 1 tomato.
3-4 soccer
540 pm 2 decks of chicken. 1/2 cup peas.1/2 cup of spinach. 1 TSP of natty pb. Vitamin D
8 pm sushi dinner w/ rice, ginger, and salad
10pm 3 bites of b-day cake
11:20 pm RPP 8,6,5,5,4
11:35 pm a deck of chicken. 1/2 cup of spinach

1130 am 3 eggs w/ spinach, 4 lettuce leaves, garlic, half an onion, 1 tomato. 2 TBSP of olive oil. 1/2 cup oatmeal. Multivitamin. 2 grams fish oil
1:30 pm 4 oz chicken, 1 TBSP of natty pb + Vit D
2:20 pm 1 orange, 3 strawberries
3:30 pm 2 lettuce leaves
4:10 pm tabata thrusters 15lbs 1x 1:30 plank
4:25 pm 3 oz chicken + 1 cup of peas and green beans
6:10 pm 6-8 oz of a hamburger on whole wheat bun w/ 1 tomato, 1/2 cup green beans, 2 lettuce leaves, 1 ear of corn
7:40 pm tricep extension 60lbs 12,10,10,10 2 x 1:20 plank front lateral raises 5x6 20lbs
9:10 pm 4 oz ground beef w/ 2 lettuce leaves, 1 tomato
11:15 pm 3 lettuce leaves + 1.2 gram fish oil

9 am 1 Naner
930 am 8 oz ground beef, 4 lettuce leaves, half a tomato + half an onion. 3 oz chicken, 2 gram fish oil. Mulitvit
12 pm 1 naner, 1 peach
2 pm 5 oz chicken, 2 oz ground beef, 1 serving of cheese, 1.5 TBSP natty pb, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup green beans. VIT D
430pm RPP 8,6,5,5,4
445 pm 3 oz ground beef, 3 oz chicken, 1/2 cup spinach
930 pm 2 protein style in'n'out burgers
10:20 pm 1 chicken crepe

10 am 1 peach, 1/2 a kiwi
11 am 3 eggs, half an onion, 1/2 cup of spinach, 1/2 a tomato, garlic. 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 TBSP olive oil, 2TSP of nattypb. 2.4 gram of fishoil
1:50pm Goblet squat 6x15 50lbs supersetted w/ RPP 8,6,5,5,4 DB rows 4x10 60 lbs, DB curls w/fat gripz 35lbs 4x6, 2x1:30 plank
3:20 pm 6 oz ground beef, 4 oz chicken 1/2cup of green beans, 1/2 cup spinach, half a tomato, 8 lettuce leaves
430 pm 15 min walk
6:20 pm 2 raw carrots, 2 TBSP of natty pb
7:30 pm 1 peach, 1/2 a kiwi
9:30 pm 9 oz chicken, 2 cups of spinach, green beans, green pepper and 1.5 cup of salad (lettuce, more spinach, tomato)
11:15 pm 2 lettuce leaves and 2 gram of fish oil (gonna eat this later)

9 am 8 oz chicken, 1.5 cups of spinach, celery, garlic, green pepper, green beans. 1/2 cup oatmeal. 3.6 gram fish oil. Vit D. multivitamins
12:15 pm RPP 8,6,5,5,4
12:45 pm 6 oz chicken, 3/4 cup of spinach, 1/2 cup of green beans and brussel sprouts
2:40 pm tabata thrusters and 6 minutes of bw squats
4 pm 3 eggs w/ 1/2 cup spinach and roasted garlic, 3 lettuce leaves. 1 TBSP of natty pb and 1 TBSP of olive oil
5 pm half an orange, 1 naner, 1 peach
7 pm 2 celery sticks w/ 3 TBSP of natty pb
8 pm 2 oz chicken w 1/2 cup celery +green peppers
8:45 pm 3 oz chicken 1/2 cup spinach, 2 gram fish oil


745 am 1 naner, 1 peach
10 am 3 eggs, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 an onion, 1/2 red pepper, 2 oz chicken. 1/2 cup of oatmeal. Multivitamin, 3.6 gram fish oil
11:20 am handful of brussell sprouts and green beans
12 pm 4 oz chicken 4 lettuce leaves. 1.2 gram fish oil
2:45 pm 2 celery sticks. 2 TBSP of natty pb. 4 oz chicken, 3 servings of cheese
5:45pm 1 pear
6pm 25 minute walk
650pm tricep ext 60lbs 12,12,12,8 Lateral DB raises 5x12 25lbs. plank 2x2:00 1x1:00 bench dips 30,30,25,20 then 100 jump ropes straight to 21, 15 yard sprints
7:55 pm 7-8 oz ground beef, 3/4 of a hamburger bun. 1/2 ear of corn, 3 lettuce leaves, some spinach, 2 oz chicken
930pm 2 celery sticks
1030pm 2 gram fish oil, 2000IU Vit D


I'm not in any way exaggerating when I say that is the worst workout plan I've ever seen.

The diet is also awful, but man, how is that a workout plan. Seriously, you've been on this site for over three years. I'm shocked.

And yes, I am aware that you have limited things you can do at home at the moment.

Okay, shock over, I'll try to be helpful... Your diet and exercise plan do not need critiquing, they need to be thrown out and you need to do something completely different. Read around on this site, specifically the stickies in the beginner and bodybuilding forum, and the 'do this routine instead of that dumb one' thread, and pick a routine and work hard on it.

As for diet, also do some reading, 'a peach' or 'naner and a peach' or 'handful of brussel sprouts and green beans' are NOT meals. Get a significant amount of protein in each meal. Go from there. Adjust every few weeks depending on how you are progressing.

And PS, you're not gonna look great under 150 pounds with abs. You should really spend some time lifting hard, working all muscle groups, and just eating lots of good high protein food, if you want to look and feel better.


A few points:

  1. You can probably find a super cheap gym membership somewhere. Businesses are desperate to make $, so negotiate your way out of any bullshit sign up fees and other unnecessary charges. Find some place that has a reasonable month to month rate (or get your parents to spot you a couple hundred dollars, whatever, worth it). Just make sure that the gym you choose has the equipment that you're going to need (at least one squat rack, a few barbells, plenty of free weights, etc.).

  2. If you don't follow point #1 - look into Chad Waterbury's recent T-Nation posts about bodyweight training. You should be able to get some results from bodyweight GHR (you can tuck your feet under a heavy bed or couch), pistol squats, push-ups, pull-ups (buy a bar, seriously), etc. Also, buy a kettlebell. One that's heavy enough, but not too heavy. You can do a ton of different things with a kettlebell (goblet squats, turkish get-ups, curl and press, swings, etc.). Find youtube videos of any exercises you're unfamiliar with.

  3. Curls and tricep extensions are dumb. They're dumb for someone trying to put on muscle, and they're extra dumb for someone trying to CUT. SERIOUSLY. You're almost better off doing nothing. You're like the fat chick who slowly rides the elliptical for 20 minutes/day and can't understand why she isn't losing weight.

  4. And CLEARLY you need some diet structure.



Okay I just want to ask before people give advice or anything when you say before you die and that you got very ill. Were you like diagnosed with terminal cancer or something or did you just get sick and now are going to continue living a normal and healthy life for many many years?


Haha ok, fair enough. I know the workout plan isn't good by any means, but I thought I should be doing SOMETHING instead of just sitting on my ass. Your and Jessica's post have really motivated me to get a gym pass sooner rather than later, like this week. Im kinda surprised the diet is that bad. I have read a bunch of articles about what foods to eat/not eat and nutrient timing, so could you give me specifics about how I could improve my diet? I'll keep reading about nutrition, and I'll even take notes this time around. I want to study nutrition in grad school so I really should take notes.

Surprised I havent heard about the "do this routine" thread. My plan was to do 5x5 when I get back into the gym. Ill read that thread and see if I come across anything else I'd want to do.

I spent a long time thinking about what you said about not looking good with abs if I'm not yet big enough. I agree, but it's something Ive always wanted to do so I figured i would just go for it. I spent the past few weeks restricting food intake and doing more HIIT than I would normally do since I am cutting, so it would be frustrating to switch goals in an instant. I dunno, anymore insight about this would be appreciated.

Also, I was thinking about posting some pictures of me just so I could get better advice.


Thanks for the helpful response. Would you mind elaborating on how I could improve my diet, besides eating more protein? I'm gonna get a gym membership very soon. My sister works for 24 hour fitness so maybe she could hook me up.

Whats so bad about tricep extension and curls? Would you recommend lying tricep extensions instead?


No cancer, thankfully. I just got really sick for 2 weeks and came back much lighter. Im fine though.


If it's always been a goal to have abs, there's not really anything wrong with going for it. Just be aware that you'll look a lot better once you put a lot more muscle on your frame.

The main problem with your diet was meals that I mentioned before that were a couple fruits, or some vegetables or whatever. Get a significant amount of protein in each meal, along with quality carbs and fats... You could look into carb cycling, but that really shouldn't even be necessary, just eat better, lots of protein, and work out hard.

And there's nothing wrong with curls and extensions, those types of things should be included in a routine in order to work all your muscles. However, things like squats, deadlifts, rows, pullups, bench, OHP, should be the foundation of any routine, and will make a larger change to your physique.


Ok, I'm more on the same page with you than I originally thought, which is reassuring. As soon as I get a gym pass, Im gonna start gaining weight again. I have a picture in my head of what I want to look like when I have abs and its NOT at weight below 160lbs. With that said, Im gonna continue doing my tabatas and possibly my HIIT. Hell, I dont see me changing much of what I'm doing until I get a gym pass, which again, will be soon.

Regarding meals with just fruits, I read in a book that fruit is digested much more easily when it is eaten alone, so Ive done that the past few months. I have looked for that topic on this site, but havent found anything. I did find something elswehere online that said the same thing. Have you heard anything about this?

I was curious about the curl and extension advice as well. Ive seen them included in programs on this site before. Curls obviously aren't going to get you big arms alone, but I feel they should be used in a routine occasionally.


I have not heard that about the fruits, could mean the carbs, eating carbs with protein or fat makes them digested slower, dulls the insulin response... that said, I'd worry more about getting protein in each meal than if doing so is making it harder for you to digest the fruit.

And yes, I'm HOPING she meant curls and extensions as the main part of your routine is really dumb, because that's true, for reasons stated above. However, they should certainly be included if you want your arms to grow optimally (and why wouldn't you?).


I didn't read the rest of the replies to this thread yet, but just FYI my #4 wasn't just "clearly you need some diet structure." I had recommended a specific site that outlines a really effective diet plan, but the moderators from this site edited my post (and messaged me about it, so weird). Anyway, you can find this other site by googling "intermittent fasting." The site I'm referring to espouses a 16 hour fast/8 hour feeding window, and a lot of people have had a lot of success using it to cut, bulk, and maintain.


Ok, caught up. Yes, what I meant with regard to curls and tricep extensions is that they shouldn't be the foundation of your program, and it seemed like that was all the lifting you were doing. If you want big biceps, do chin ups. If you want big triceps, try overhead pressing a lot of weight. One of my current favorites is the behind the neck push press. I use my legs to get the weight about halfway up, which then forces my triceps (along with my core/stabilizers, and shoulders, and even some traps/upper back) to lock it out. So aside from the benefit of working multiple muscle groups at once, you're working your triceps using a lot more weight than you would be if you were doing extensions. Curls and extensions are definitely good as accessory work that you can do on a light day or at the end of a workout, as they're far less fatiguing.

As for diet, find that site I mentioned. I also like a lot of Nate Miyaki's writing about diet, as his approach is clear and reasonable, and judging by his physique and that of his wife, effective.


Troll? T-Nation member - nana? Really?



I tried finding the site. Theres a bunch of intermittent fasting sites and couldnt really tell the one you are talking about from any of the others. Ill loook again tomorrow since I am interested in learning more about it. Hmm I thought doing the behind the neck presses were more likely to injure you. From what I've read on this site about them, is that if you can do them without feeling pain and are willing to take the risk of getting hurt, they are worth doing. That said, Ill give em a try once I get back into the normal swing of things once i get back to the gym. Thanks for the help.


Sweet, first time being called a troll. Im kinda honored, I guess. Ive noticed that people on this site love throwing out the troll accusation...


Sorry dude

There are tons of articles on this site that can get you started on the right path. Training: Wendler, mountain dog, Waterbury to name but a few. Nutrition: Shelby S, mountain Dog, Nate M etc. It just bugs me a little that often, people can't be bothered to do a thorough search-and-read to get even a basic idea of what training and nutrition should be like to achieve their goals.

If you spent 20 minutes you would see squats, deads, presses, chins referred to as 'bread and butter' for newbies trying to put on mass or body re-comp. 'I read a book' referring to you eating a peach on it own for 'better absorption' and curl and extension mania - come-on? You spent time reading 'some book' but didn't bother doing a basic google search 'bodybuilding' or 'strength training'?

Fair play for posting and putting yourself out there for critique, but fuck, you didn't really, honestly think you wouldnt get some stick for that god awful training and nutrition plan. Positive - the only way is up, and if you follow good advise and do some searching you'll make good progress. It would be cool if you kept us updated on progress.

I know this post comes across as harsh (god know I'm no Adonis compared to some of the big in-the-know dudes around the site) but I'm in decent shape and will happily share what smattering of knowledge I have if you proceed along the right path


I do the BTN Push Press standing in a cage, facing the mirror, with hooks behind me at just below shoulder height. That makes it easier to unrack and re-rack the bar. You can also (if in a cage) set up catches at a level low enough that they don't interfere with your movement, but high enough that if you need to dump the bar behind you (if your muscles give out, or whatever) you can, safely.

I haven't had a problem with the movement yet. But you can also just do push presses in front. I just find it's a really good movement to overload the triceps with, and really helps with lockout strength.

As for the nutrition thing, it's a really popular site that, again, recommends a 16 hour fast/8 hour feeding window regimen. The author has many pages on the site with lots of detailed information about how and why one should follow the protocol. On the right side of the main page the author has a topless photo of himself flexing (sounds lame, I know) and below that is his twitter feed. Hopefully those are enough hints.


Get on a beginner barbell program, like Starting Strength or Pavel 3-5 or something similar. Cronometer.com is a handy website for keeping food logs, I've found. It sounds like you are not eating enough. If you are worried about gaining/losing fat, try carb cycling. There are articles on here about it. And drop the peaches and sugary fruits, you can get all your vitamins from vegetables and animal products and dont need the extra sugar.


I started this thread to get some nutrition help, not really workout help. Yeah, I realize my routine is shit, but im content with it until I get a gym membership soon. Heres a training log that I did a while back http://tnation.T-Nation.com/hub/Devilhunter187#myLogs. I stopped when I hurt my back tright tricep. I became depressed, lost motivation, etc etc. IF I could go back, I would have kept working out while rehabing my tricep. Cant live in the past, so thats where I am now. Once I get back into the gym I will update my training log again, finally.