question about cutting
I was wondering if someone could help me out with my second attempt at cutting.
a few months a go, I found myself in the dilemma of whether to gain weight or cut. I weighed 145 pounds at 5 foot 9, about 15% body fat when comparing myself to charts and visual guides. My goal was and still is around 180lbs at 10% body fat.
I decided in the end to cut, the idea being to get down to 10% body fat, and then start gaining; implementing mini cuts as I went along to roughly maintain that percentage rather than the higher 15% (which I'd rather not go higher than).
The cut didn't really end very well, and I ended up needing a ridiculously low amount of calories (I think I got to 1200 at one point) to see any progress.
Even then I wasn't convinced I was losing anything, and after posting on here I came to understand that my low weight was the issue, in that my my cutting calories had to be that of a bird.
After trying and failing at that for a couple of months, I decided a better decision would be to start by gaining some weight for a bit. That way I'd add some mass and also my cutting calories would increase making a cut bearable.
It's been roughly four months now, and I've added quite a bit of size. my arms have increased over an inch, and I now weigh 165.
I've added a little fat a long the way, and would now like to do a cut and then resume my bulk to 180.
Luckily, I haven't really put on much fat at all.
I'm concerned to cut now, however, based on my past experiences.
I'm worried I'll once again need an insanely low amount of calories to see any progress, and will therefor end up losing a lot of muscle in the process.
I feel because of the difficulty finding the right caloric intake last time and the time it takes to do so, I'll just be losing all the strength and progress I made in these last four months.
How would you recommend I begin as to maintain my progress the best I can, and not have the same situation as last time?
It's obviously easier if you've already cut once and now roughly how many calories you need, where as mine was a whitewash and I still don't know.
Should I now be able to cut on higher calories being 20lbs heavier?
Muscle loss should not be a concern if protein intake is adequate. At 165lbs, you could very well eat 165 grams of protein (660 calories) and maybe 100 calories worth of fish oil (760 calories) plus round up for veggies (800 calories total) and make great progress on RFL.
Yes, there isn't much room when your weight is low but that is key to a good cut...also consider adding cardio 3-4x a week or even daily if it is low-intensity.
I think it is important for you to find your end goal. 180lbs at 5'9 and ripped is going to take a while. If being really cut (8-10% bf) will make you happy in the short-term I would go for that and slowly bulk from there.
And yeah, that was the plan; to reduce my bodyfat percentage and then continue cutting.
If not my bf would just keep going up and up.
What is RFL?
I would recommend delving into the articles on the main site so you understand how to shed fat without losing muscle.
Here are some basic guidelines.
1) Very High protein diet.
2) No running
3) Full body workout BUT ONLY TWICE PER WEEK.
4) Lift each body part for TWO SETS OF FIVE REPS.
5) You can walk like 20-40 minutes 2-3 times per week.
6) Buy psyllium husk. It will keep you from being hungry on the diet.
7) Take two weeks at maintenance calories before switching from a bulk to a cut OR VICE VERSA.
But seriously, read through the articles on fat loss. That's a pretty brief summary of a lot of the great advice in there.
I have read through many of the articles on the site so recognise some of those points, however the one I'm worried about is whether it's wise to cut at 165.
Whether or not my calories are going to be too low to be sustainable like last time (I was on 1200 calories and still not seeing any fat loss when I was 145lbs).
I seem to remember Lyle posting a formular somewhere so you know roughly how many calories you'll need to see fat loss.
Not TDEE but something else.
Replying to everyone on this thread as a whole here:
1) Regarding protein intake: 165g of protein will maintain most muscle mass; however, it would be better to go with 1.5g/lb of lbm. In the RFL guidelines, Lyle even allows for people in category 1 (which I think you are probably still in) to go up to 2g/lb of lbm. So assuming 15% at 165 lbs, you have around 140lbs of lbm so aim for >210g to be safe if you are really concerned about muscle loss.
2) RFL sucks don't do it
3) +1 on the low intensity cardio. Honestly, I would do it daily if you can manage it. At your bf, taking some yohimbine/caffeine in a fasted stated prior to the cardio will probably (seriously just probably don't expect miracles) help as well. That extra 300-500 calories on your TDEE really allows for a hell of a lot more variety in your diet.
4) Get on that EC stack bruh.
5) This is more personal anecdote, but unless you're actually doing RFL and you can manage more than 2 days in the gym a week, I think it is much better to stick to a reduced volume version of whatever training you were doing before.
Reason 1: I've found that keeping the intensity up on all lifts on a full body day is incredibly hard. I'm always gassed halfway through, so the body parts I decide to train last suffer.
Reason 2: You can accurately assess if your lifts are going down or maintaining (or maybe slightly increasing due to the reduced volume) assuming you've kept track of what your lifts were during your bulk.
Reason 3: You will maintain all lifts you've worked so hard to build up.
Reason 4: You're already used to that routine and balancing it in your weekly schedule. It will be easier to transition back into a bulking state once you've finished your cut.
6) I agree that you should take a week or two at maintenance before dropping calories further, but since it seems you don't know your maintenance, I'd say just drop 300 calories from whatever you're eating daily now and gradually decrease if the weight is not coming off over a 2 week span. You were gaining at a nice, slow pace before, so this 300 calorie drop may be enough to put you at maintenance.
7) Regarding the number of calories/pound statement mentioned earlier: 10 calories/pound is the level at which most will lose fat at a decent pace. However, very sedentary individuals may need to go down to 8 calories/pound to see any measurable progress. Once again, if you can figure out your maintenance calories, these numbers are largely irrelevant since everyone is different.
I've been eating 3800 calories a day to gain the weight. This is taking into account any calories burned walking around (I'm pretty active) and also calories burned doing my weight lifting workout.
It was quite a while before I figured this number was what was going to enable me to gain sufficiently; I spent several weeks gradually adding 100 calories in each week when I didn't see a difference on the scale, which confused me, because I always presumed maintenance calories was within a couple of hundred calories, i.e you add a couple of hundred and you slowly start to gain, deduct a couple hundred and you begin to slowly lose weight.
For me, I seemed to not lose any weight right down to 1500 calories (and even then the fat didn't seem to shift) and not gain anything right up to 3500. Everything inbetween those two numbers I just seemed to stay the same. It seems crazt there was no real difference in body composition between vastly different caloric intakes.
It means now I really have no idea where my maintaince is, and because of this it would seem it's going to take considerably more work than deducting 300 calls from my current surplus intake to determine what I need to lose weight.
I'm concerned I'll be in limbo for several months trying out different intakes to find which will cause me to lose weight, because there's such a huge spectrum.
All the while not furthering my physique.
I hoped at 165 my caloric intake needed for cutting will have increased beyond the ridiculous 1400 calories or so. Is it normal to need this little calories to cut? Is my theory right that I should now not require so little calories to cut?
The whole thing seems odd, because I can understand how the forumula in point 7 shows my low weight being the issue of why I needed such low calories, but then surely it would go the other way too? That if I was at this weight, I wouldn't need to go beyond 3500 calories to see any weight gain progress (granted that's taking into account calories burned during workouts, the 30 min total walking distance to the gym there and back etc)
I cut from 180 to 150 and it was really annoying and took forever. Now I'm going to bulk to 180 at 1 lb/week and cut from there.
If i could do it all over again I probably would have cut to about 160-165 and then bulked from there. Cutting below that weight is super difficult to maintain and you won't have enough LBM to really get results that are worth the effort in my opinion.
I know Lyle has very specific reasons for dieting down to 10% first but this advice is also somewhat for people who plan to diet down well into the single digits, possibly for a show/contest. If they start the bulk at 15% theyll get too fat to cut down in any reasonable amount of time.
For the average guy I wouldn't really recommend going to 10%. Certainly not for a total beginner as they should just concentrate on making their noob gains and worry about bulking and cutting later. Unless you are realllly committed and have some extensive experience dieting and understand your body requirements I would just continue to bulk.
Its much easier to cut from higher weights and you'll have more motivation if you have some mass under there.
Would a mini cut work?
I was around 15% body fat and I'm now probably around 17% now. I don't know if it's those numbers for sure but I'd guess I've gone up around two percentage points. I haven't really put on much fat at all.
If I did a mini cut, maybe I could get back down to 15% and then resume my bulk? Shouldn't that only take a few weeks?
I'm just thinking if I'm around 17% now, continuing to gain weight is going to leave me not looking very good by the end of it as my body fat keeps creeping up.
Then there's the insulin sensitivity thing.
If I shouldn't cut at all and it's too much hassle then I'll continue to gain, but perhaps a mini cut would be a good option? That way I could sort of periodically reset to that 15% level so I don't get too high in the body fat.
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