T Nation

'Wasting' Gains


I had thought about this in the past, and it probably wouldn't change much in what I do, but what do you guys think about the idea that some gains would be wasted during a cut, and therefore you might put off training something?

For instance, lets say you never worked legs before and then after a few years you decided to take a few months to lean down. Would it make sense to hold off on training legs for that time since they likely wouldn't grow much while losing weight but would probably grow pretty rapidly when you began gaining again?

I mean you might get some growth during the cut but obviously nowhere near if you were gaining. At some point strength is going to be limited so maybe it would be better to wait until you can gain the most leg size from that first 50-100lb increase in squats than just not really going anywhere for a few months.

On a similar note, Thibs has mentioned how people shouldn't do IBB during a cut. Part of that is the recovery issue but also there's the fact that you just wouldn't see as good of results that way. What do you guys think??


You could still get things like technique sorted out while on a cut.


Training your muscles intensely is more important during a cut, not less. You want to fight off atrophy at all costs, and maybe even gain a little size during the cut.


I think training is always better then not training unless you are running the risk of injuring yourself. Even if you don't grow, you are still learning how to properly perform the exercise which is half the battle when training something for the first time.

When I got out of the AF I stopped lifting for a while and my bench had gone down massively, not only because I was weaker but because my body wasn't used to executing the lift properly, shortly I gained a lot of strength in a relative short amount of time, not because I was getting so much stronger but because my body began to remember how to execute the lift properly and began getting used to being under that type of weight again.

All the benefits of training something for the first time aren't always just the muscle gain. It'll give you time to perfect your form so when the bulk comes you'll be good to really push yourself.

My 2 cents.


This is the stupidest fucking thing I've read on here all week.


If you haven't ever trained legs, they'd still grow on a caloric deficit. It's the same reason fat guys grow when they first start lifting weight and losing weight. You can expect newb gains. To not train legs because you'd be "wasting gains" would be the equivalent of a fat guy who has never trained anything to hold off on weight training until he was skinny.




Two guys cut for six months and lift weights for six months after that. Who do you think will be bigger?

A) The guy who lifts while cutting

B) The guy who puts off training for six months because he doesn't want to waste gains


In my opinion, you should always be trying to gain, even when cutting on a calorie deficient diet. You can always up your protein and amino intake to compensate and still go 100% (which obviously won't be up to par with lifts when bulking).

Now, I know for very experienced lifters this may not be realistic unless you really figure out how your body responds to different lifting and diet schemes. I think if you have 5 years or under of intense weight training (as an estimate), it is entirely possible to continue gains while you cut.

There are very few reasons to stop busting your balls in the gym.


Just a quick question,

If you are in a caloric deficit to lose weight wouldn't your body begin to take the calories from itself, both muscle and fat? If you aren't working the muscles, why would your body maintain the gains that you've made? I'm no expert, I'm just asking.




In a caloric deficit, the body is going to take more calories from fat than from muscle if you are working those muscles and demanding that they grow. If instead you place no demand on the muscles by training them, your body has less reason to preserve them, and will take calories from both fat and muscle.


I think the main question here should be why were you not training legs?






Stop trying to rationalize not training things. If you understood psychology at all you'd realize that rationalization is one of the most common forms of a defense mechanism. You're rationalizing...because you're a pussy. Basically.


OP- Does this really make sense to you? Just sit and think about it for a minute


A lifter goes a couple of years without training legs and then wants to worry about wasting gains during calorie restriction? Why weren't they concerned about wasting a couple of years not training legs?

Total Nonsense!!




This isn't about me by the way, I've always trained legs.

I would never neglect a muscle group like that and I wouldn't suggest it either. What I'm saying is if you could gain lets say 100lb on your squat in 6 months, you'd obviously get more growth if you spent that first 100lb gained during a time when there was a surplus of calories compared to if 3 months of that time was in a deficit.

Strength is obviously limited at some point so I don't see what it's that weird to suggest spending most of the time adding it in a surplus.

And obviously I know you need to be training hard during a cut, that's not what I'm talking about. I just thought this was an interesting concept.