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is trying to get to 12% as a vegetarian going to be a reasonable goal for me?

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  • is trying to get to 12% as a vegetarian going to be a reasonable goal for me?

    Hi,

    I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I'm 5'9 185 right now, 33" waist, probably somewhere around 20% bf and I've been eating between 155-180g of protein a day. I've been eating 2000 calories strict each day for over a month and havent lost anything, with 2 20 minute sessions of LISS per week. I've tried many times, but I just can't stick to >about 1800 calories per day. I think the reason my maintenance calories are so low for my weight is that I just went from 230 with a "44 waist to 185 in a few months.

    If I understand the article austin wrote about this a few years ago, my metabolic set point is permanently ruined (meaning set way too high, creating a serious obstacle for weight loss).

    I know you guys don't really like the idea of recomping, but is it much, much less efficient than bulk/cut cycles? I get that recomps are suboptimal, but I feel really burnt out on being in a calorie deficit. How reasonable do you think pursuing a recomp is in this situation if my goal is to improve body composition?

  • #2
    Thanks for the post and the thoughtful questions.

    A few things here:

    Metabolic Set Point vs Appropriate TDEE

    Based on the present evidence, it appears that those who've previously lost weight will tend to have a reduction in total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) commensurate with their weight loss. Compared to their age, weight, and height-matched counterparts who have not lost weight, those who have lost weight will tend to have lower TDEE's as well.

    That said, the typical difference is not overwhelmingly large between those who have lost weight and those who haven't. For example, your given stats put your BMR around 1800kCal and depending on your activity level, your maintenance TDEE might be from 1800-3500kCal. In short, I don't think you "ruined" your metabolism or anything like that. Rather, I think if you're wanting to further reduce body fat then I think you'll need to further reduce calories or increasing activity (or both).

    Cut and Bulk vs Recomp

    In general, I think that both are reasonable strategies to try for an individual without a lot of training/diet history that indicates a clear preference for one over the other. That said, I think recomp works best for for individuals who are new to training, those with favorable genetics, and those who have an indeterminate risk of obesity-related disease.*

    I think going through periods of calorie reduction and calorie surplus, e.g. bulking (0.5-2kg/month) or cutting (1-2.5%/month), would be preferable for more well-trained individuals and those with average or below average genetics.

    Vegetarian

    I do not think this alters my management at all, as it is certainly possible to get enough protein, calories, micronutrients, etc. to "optimize" processes related to LBM and strength acquisition on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Despite claims to the contrary, existing data does not seem to indicate that vegan or vegetarian athletes are at a significant disadvantage (or advantage) with respect to strength sports.

    -Jordan


    *This would be an individual with a BMI 21-34.9 with no current obesity-related medical condition and a waist circumference within 2-3" of the cutoff point that indicates weight loss would be beneficial, e.g. 37" for men.
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

      Cut and Bulk vs Recomp

      In general, I think that both are reasonable strategies to try for an individual without a lot of training/diet history that indicates a clear preference for one over the other. That said, I think recomp works best for for individuals who are new to training, those with favorable genetics, and those who have an indeterminate risk of obesity-related disease.*

      I think going through periods of calorie reduction and calorie surplus, e.g. bulking (0.5-2kg/month) or cutting (1-2.5%/month), would be preferable for more well-trained individuals and those with average or below average genetics.

      *This would be an individual with a BMI 21-34.9 with no current obesity-related medical condition and a waist circumference within 2-3" of the cutoff point that indicates weight loss would be beneficial, e.g. 37" for men.
      Is there a rough length of time you recommend for these bulking and cutting phases? It seems obvious that you can't bulk or cut indefinitely, and I'm sure there's a spectrum of responses to both approaches.

      Also, for the 'more well-trained individuals and those with average or below average genetics', would you recommend slowly bulking until weight loss would be beneficial (e.g. you reach a 34" to 35" waist), then cutting back down until the waist is a bit smaller before bulking again?

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      • #4
        These answers are encouraging. Thanks Jordan.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jared View Post

          Is there a rough length of time you recommend for these bulking and cutting phases? It seems obvious that you can't bulk or cut indefinitely, and I'm sure there's a spectrum of responses to both approaches.utside
          Not really outside of a results-driven process.

          Originally posted by Jared View Post
          Also, for the 'more well-trained individuals and those with average or below average genetics', would you recommend slowly bulking until weight loss would be beneficial (e.g. you reach a 34" to 35" waist), then cutting back down until the waist is a bit smaller before bulking again?
          It might not be advisable to go all the way to a 35" waist each time, but rather engaging in bulk/cut cycles as indicated by results and preferences.
          Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
          ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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