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  • Obstacles to effective cutting: how to overcome?

    TLDR: I'm a 6'0, 204lbs, 27.5% bodyfat intermediate lifter who's been cutting (trying to cut?) for several months, finding the going very slow, and now getting frustrated. I've tried to set things up properly: I eat between 2100 and 2200 calories a day, down from a pre-cut 2900 cal/day (at least) and an initial reduction to 2400 cal/day. Today, though, I'm weaker than I've been in 8 years, having lost gains on all my lifts, but seemingly no better for it: in 4 months, I've lost only 3 pounds and barely an inch (if anything at all) off my waist. Do I keep slashing daily calories? Ramp up conditioning work? I hate coming to a web forum to complain -- and I hate even more that I've become one of these "I tried and it's not working" people when it comes to weight loss -- but I'm not sure where to go from here. Any help is greatly appreciated, and very kind.

    Some stats:

    - 6'0, currently 204lbs. Age: mid-thirties.

    - DEXA scan in January 2022 shows 27.5% bodyfat.

    - Lifting seriously since 2015.

    - Began cutting in April 2022 at 207lbs. This is my first earnest and planned attempt at a cut.

    - Waist size in April 2022 was 39 inches.

    - Goal: get my waist size below 35 inches; look better in the mirror. No longer okay with looking like a fluffy powerlifter. Plus I'm definitely at risk for ugly outcomes at this weight / BMI / waist size.

    - 1RM lifts at start of cut:
    - - Squat: 385 lbs
    - - Deadlift: 415 lbs (PR)
    - - Bench: 255 lbs
    - - Press: 182.5 lbs (PR)

    - Current (roughly estimated) 1RM lifts in early August 2022:
    - - Squat: 330 lbs
    - - Deadlift: 390 lbs
    - - Bench: 225 lbs
    - - Press: 155 lbs

    - Current programming:

    - - Lift 4-5 days / week in my home gym. One lift per day, save Saturday, when I'll do a "heavy" set of 5 squats and a couple of heavy deadlift singles
    - - General logic: hover in place. Same lifts week in, week out:
    - - - Monday: squat 280x5x5
    - - - Tuesday: press 125x5x5
    - - - Thursday: deadlift 375x3x2
    - - - Friday: bench 205x5x5
    - - - Saturday: squat 315x5x1, and maybe DL 390x1x1 or 2 if I'm not dead and sore.

    - - Conditioning:
    - - - Pre-cut, I did basically zero conditioning work.
    - - - I have an erg / rowing machine that I use 1x/wk for about an hour
    - - - I have an assault / fan bike that I use for 3 minutes 2x/wk
    - - - I go hiking for an hour once a week.
    - - - In general, my compliance with conditioning is way worse than my compliance with lifting.

    - Nutrition
    - - I've used a TDEE calculator to dial in my daily maintenance calories and then subtract 500 or so from that amount. Initially that looked something like 2400, and when that wasn't really moving the scale I dropped it further to 2200.
    - - I'm trying to get fairly close to 200g protein per day. Usually I don't hit 200, but I'm rarely below 180.
    - - I've always had a lot of belly fat, but have tried to hide it by holding my stomach in all the time. This has led me to ignore it.

    - Other notes:
    - - I'm incredibly sore in the 2 days after I squat, especially in my adductors. It's quite bad; I walk funny and am in a good deal of pain (3/10).



    Last edited by ComradeFatso; 08-03-2022, 09:06 PM.

  • #2
    If you think your calorie counts are correct, I would stay the course. Maybe get a repeat DEXA for some motivation and validation of your hard work. I definitely would not cut any more calories. Take some solace that you are most certainly healthier now than before, even if your weight and waist don't seem to have changed much. Consistency with the conditioning should come first before trying to add more. While the common wisdom is that you can't out exercise your mouth (ie. more cardio just makes you more hungry and therefore isn't good fore losing weight), the only time in my life I've been truly lean and looked the way I wanted was when I was running crazy amounts. Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by erixsparhawk View Post
      If you think your calorie counts are correct, I would stay the course. Maybe get a repeat DEXA for some motivation and validation of your hard work. I definitely would not cut any more calories. Take some solace that you are most certainly healthier now than before, even if your weight and waist don't seem to have changed much.
      When I posted this in the Jordan forum, he said that he suspects that my calorie counting isn't accurate, and that I'm still over 2200. I take a lot of care in this, and measure everything, but it still may be the case that I'm under-counting. Still, your idea of a 2nd DEXA is not a bad one, and a clear statement not to cut any further is helpful in setting a good line here. In my frustration, I was considering dropping another 200, so thanks for talking me down a bit.

      Originally posted by erixsparhawk View Post
      Consistency with the conditioning should come first before trying to add more. While the common wisdom is that you can't out exercise your mouth (ie. more cardio just makes you more hungry and therefore isn't good fore losing weight), the only time in my life I've been truly lean and looked the way I wanted was when I was running crazy amounts. Good luck!
      I've heard too many people say what you're saying to have too much faith in the conventional wisdom about cardio anymore. I'm willing to build a good cardio life, for the first time ever. I'll try to focus on consistency first -- good advice. Thank you again.

      Comment


      • #4
        A little while ago I started taking meticulous count of what I eat, everything on a scale and take cooking weight/etc into consideration. I'm a little older than you (mid-forties), but also 6', at 180 and I eat 3300 at maintenance.

        I don't have nearly as much experience as Jordan does with people and calorie counting, and everyone is different, but given that metabolism only really slows a bit as we age and that we're about the same height, it would seem odd that my TDEE would be 50% higher than yours 25 pounds lighter. We're also similar strength wise (355/255/475). I think the trade off of making sure you're being honest, even if you miss your target, is more important that making the target and ....let's call it rounding is done

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Smokes View Post
          given that metabolism only really slows a bit as we age
          Is this a given? Do you have any sources for this claim?

          ​​​

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          • #6
            I'm not a physiology research expert, so analyzing whether the research is any good will have to be done by someone smarter. There does seem to be a number of studies though that track BMR by age, adjusting for BW, sex, etc that support this:

            For example: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/...8/oby.2009.162

            There also appear to be differences in both bodyweight and sex.

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            • #7
              without actually looking into it. I would wager that the difference in BMR between people is greater than the difference between ages with the same person. AND, consequently at an individual level any two people with exactly the same body compositions, size, weight, age, and training, would have non comparable BMR.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by erixsparhawk View Post
                the only time in my life I've been truly lean and looked the way I wanted was when I was running crazy amounts
                n=2, same here. Have always been leanest and looked best when doing a good amount of running and tennis. When focusing almost solely on lifting and not running much -- or not running at all period -- my body has seemed to have zero incentive to remove fat, unless I just really fight it hard at the dinner table.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DorianStarbuck View Post

                  Is this a given? Do you have any sources for this claim?

                  ​​​
                  See here:
                  https://forum.barbellmedicine.com/fo...n-older-adults

                  Jordan's TLDR from that thread:
                  "Tl;dr- Metabolic rate doesn't really change from ~20-60, thus weight gain during this period is not due to a "slow" or "slowing" metabolism."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brian Waligura View Post

                    See here:
                    https://forum.barbellmedicine.com/fo...n-older-adults

                    Jordan's TLDR from that thread:
                    "Tl;dr- Metabolic rate doesn't really change from ~20-60, thus weight gain during this period is not due to a "slow" or "slowing" metabolism."
                    Will defer to the experts! The chart in that study in b indicates there's a cross-sectional decrease in BMR from 8K kj (1900 kcal) at age 20 to about 7K kj (1700 kcal) at age 60. Unclear to me if the study is flawed or if 200 calories is "insignificant."

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