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Why Cut Below Maintenance Cals?

Something that has always eluded me is why anyone would cut using anything below what their target maintenance caloric level will be. Let’s say I’m bulking at 3300 calories per day, and my target maintenance will be about 2500 calories.

Why would I cut using anything less than 2500 calories per day? I get it if you have a show to do. But otherwise, why would you do this? You’re just losing excess muscle by cutting that extremely, and honestly isn’t it worth those few extra weeks it’ll take to get to your goal if you can save some of the muscle you just spent time building?

I’m with you here. I think you can pick up plenty of leanness by eating at or only slightly below maintenance calories while either holding onto or continuing to gain muscle.

A lot of people drop calories too quickly and give up more lean mass than they need to. One’s maintenance will obviously decrease as the cut goes on and BW becomes lower, and so some downward adjustment of caloric intake will be necessary.

IMHO, it’s best to just tailor caloric intake to work output and ratchet the caloric intake down gradually as improvements in leanness stagnate.

Because most people have a patience problem. They seem to think well if I lose X lbs this quick at Y calorie level then if I drop it more I’ll lose even more. Sure you might lose more weight but the composition will suffer.

[quote]bigmac73nh wrote:
IMHO, it’s best to just tailor caloric intake to work output and ratchet the caloric intake down gradually as improvements in leanness stagnate.[/quote]

I always rachet the work up slightly when progress stalls. I found that reducing calories cost me LBM, but slight increases in workload worked to my advantage. During contest prep. you would reach a point where a reduction in calories would be needed, but most of us are shooting for ‘beach ready’ more than ‘contest’ ready. FTR…I am a fan of whatever works for the individual.

Or you could just do somethign like RFL for a week or a bit longer. Drop no muscle and lose 2-3% body fat so you can get back to gaining. If you can lose faster and not lose muscle for a while why would you drag the process out?

RFL? please explain

Rapid fat loss. Lyle mcdonald put it out there as an ebook. NOt sure if someone put it out before him. But its a protein sparing modiefied fast. QUite a few people on this site have used it with great success.

thanks for the info, i’ve been meaning to read one of his books

Well that is a good book. Very good for some fast fat loss. You really have to have your mind right. It is not for people who have no will power. It can be pretty brutal towards the end but the results are great if you can stick to it. Just have to remind yourself its very short.

Here’s an important aspect of this that I don’t think that the earlier posts touched on:

Let’s say that I start a bulk at 180lbs and bulk to 215.

At 180, let’s say hypothetically that my “maintenance” calories were 2500. Additionally, let’s say that I bulked at 4500 up to 215.

I think that a lot of people have “bulking” and “maintenance” modes but fail to reconceptualize those ideas based on the bodies they have built. So if I’m bulking on 4500, hit my goal weight, then decide to eat “maintenance” to cut down to [insert weight, say 200], I would have to recalibrate my earlier notion of “maintenance” from 2500 to, say, 3000 to sustain the newly added body mass. At the same time, because I’ve always thought of maintenance in terms of the 2500 mark, I may revert to the old maintenance numbers. And the old maintenance numbers will be reinforced by the diet feeling “normal” in the sense that it’s just what I was eating before I started bulking.