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  • Minicuts

    Hey Dr. Feigenbaum,

    First, obligatory thank you and the rest of the BBM team for all the quality content you all pump out.

    I'm a 26 year-old male. 6'1" 215 lbs @ 18% bodyfat (Navy method). S/B/D e1RMs 375/275/395 (deadlift was around 430 2-3 months ago before I suffered a low back/SI joint injury that I've been rehabbing per Dr. Ray's recommendations).

    I would consider myself an intermediate lifter - I've been somewhat seriously training for about 2.5 years now - and a beginner powerlifter (my first meet is next weekend and I've been using the 12 Week Strength template to prep for it). Since I've gotten into powerlifting, I've become more cognizant of weight classes. My upcoming meet is USAPL and I plan to primarily compete in USAPL sanctioned meets going forward. I assume that at my height I'm better suited for the 231 lbs (105 kg) weight class as opposed to the 205 lbs (93 kg). So, I logically need to gain around 15 lbs over time to fill out the 231 weight class a little more.

    While I'm an intermediate lifter, I'm still very much a novice regarding nutrition. The thing that's troubling me about filling out the 231 weight class is my current level of body fat. At 18%, I more than likely won't be able to just keep eating in a surplus until I get up around 230 without getting too fat in the process, correct? Most places I've looked online advise you to cut down to around 12%, then bulk until you get around 15%, then repeat the process. However, I came across this article by Mike Israetel about "Minicuts" and even though he's mostly talking about the 12-15% range, it otherwise seems like a viable option for someone like me who isn't too fat (I believe you've said in To Be A Beast that as long as you're below 20% you're okay), but isn't lean enough that I can just linearly bulk up until I fill out my weight class.

    TL;DR, do you think using "minicuts" in an effort to minimize fat gain while generally bulking up closer to 225-230 would work?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nate B View Post
    TL;DR, do you think using "minicuts" in an effort to minimize fat gain while generally bulking up closer to 225-230 would work?
    Yea it's a reasonable strategy for sure!
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      That's great to hear, thanks for your response!

      I have sort of a follow up question - what would be the ideal protocol for cycling slow bulking and minicutting? To put numbers to it, let's say that during my bulking phase I'm gaining 0.5 lbs per week or a little less, and in a minicut I'm cutting at a rate of about -1.5 lbs per week. If I cut for 4 weeks and lose 6 lbs, down from 215 to 209, how far past 215 would I want my next bulking phase to go before I would minicut again? Basically, how big of a step forward am I taking after taking a step back? I suspect that there's not a clear cut answer to this, but if you have a sort of rule of thumb I'd be happy to know!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nate B View Post
        That's great to hear, thanks for your response!

        I have sort of a follow up question - what would be the ideal protocol for cycling slow bulking and minicutting?
        There's not one ideal protocol- everything is context dependent based on retrospective analysis of what you did, how it worked, and known factors that influenced your outcomes.

        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

          There's not one ideal protocol- everything is context dependent based on retrospective analysis of what you did, how it worked, and known factors that influenced your outcomes.
          Jordan Feigenbaum is there a time limit for the time one is doing a minicut, when one start to see muscle/strength/performance loss? And also, is there aguideloine of how much of adeficit one should be during the minicut period?

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          • #6
            Okay, makes sense. I’ll give it a try and see how it goes. Thanks for your advice!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sgarciac07 View Post
              is there a time limit for the time one is doing a minicut, when one start to see muscle/strength/performance loss? And also, is there aguideloine of how much of adeficit one should be during the minicut period?
              Depends on goals and context, but not really any explicit time cut-off or other objective thing I'd use without knowing why someone was cutting in the first place. 300-500kCal/day is a reasonable place to start for a cut.
              Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
              ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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