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Anyone cutting after a bulk?

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  • AEC50AEC50 Member Posts: 124 Member Member Posts: 124 Member
    This is my first cut (after a bulk anyway, I've lost weight before but not with the goal of seeing newly added muscles!) and I'm not loving it. I've been lazy about sticking to my nutrition and also switched from slowly adding weight via pyramid sets to doing straight sets on my bench press, squats and deadlifts. I've still lost what I wanted to so far, but I feel totally exhausted after the gym each day. I'd love some of your wisdom on toughing it out or switching it up. Do you run the same program in a bulk and in a cut?
  • bioklutzbioklutz Member Posts: 1,365 Member Member Posts: 1,365 Member
    Your back looks amazing @pinggolfer96!

    @Alexson50 - I am running the same program. I am supposed to do sets of 8. I am not making it through to 8 on some of my lifts - but no big deal.

    I wanted to maintain 108-110 pounds and was hoping to get to 109 and start reversing to maintenance. About a week and a half ago I was around 111. I have been sitting at 112 for a week and very bloated. I usually see a scale increase twice a month and then drop a little bit lower once the bloating subsides. I am at the point where I need a diet break. I kinda want to wait a few more days to see what the scale drop will be - so I have an idea of how many calories to eat.

    Last year I plowed through and dropped my weight down to 106 and things started getting wonky. I thought I was perimenopausal but everything returned to normal after eating more. Thoughts on the diet break - is a month long enough to normalize those hormones?
  • jdog022jdog022 Member Posts: 695 Member Member Posts: 695 Member
    month is definitely long enough. 10-14 days is almost certainly long enough too
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    bioklutz wrote: »
    Your back looks amazing @pinggolfer96!

    @Alexson50 - I am running the same program. I am supposed to do sets of 8. I am not making it through to 8 on some of my lifts - but no big deal.

    I wanted to maintain 108-110 pounds and was hoping to get to 109 and start reversing to maintenance. About a week and a half ago I was around 111. I have been sitting at 112 for a week and very bloated. I usually see a scale increase twice a month and then drop a little bit lower once the bloating subsides. I am at the point where I need a diet break. I kinda want to wait a few more days to see what the scale drop will be - so I have an idea of how many calories to eat.

    Last year I plowed through and dropped my weight down to 106 and things started getting wonky. I thought I was perimenopausal but everything returned to normal after eating more. Thoughts on the diet break - is a month long enough to normalize those hormones?

    A diet break can be a couple of days or it can be a week. It can be as long as you like. You would likely eat at maintenance during your diet break.

    If I might ask, do you include "re-feed days" in your current set up? My guess would be that you do not.

    Essentially, and I am sure that everyone has a slightly different understanding, a re-feed is eating at maintenance (so, you up your caloric intake to maintenance for those two days) and your protein and fat macros stay the same....you essentially up your carbs). Recent studies show that there are great benefits to having two consecutive re-feed days but you can do it however best suits you. Naturally, a re-feed is GREAT for you mentally. Lots of people will tell you that they live for those re-feed days....that they know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel....that they can push through the diet because the re-feed is getting closer and closer.

    Hope this helps.
  • pinggolfer96pinggolfer96 Member Posts: 2,255 Member Member Posts: 2,255 Member
    bioklutz wrote: »
    Your back looks amazing @pinggolfer96!

    @Alexson50 - I am running the same program. I am supposed to do sets of 8. I am not making it through to 8 on some of my lifts - but no big deal.

    I wanted to maintain 108-110 pounds and was hoping to get to 109 and start reversing to maintenance. About a week and a half ago I was around 111. I have been sitting at 112 for a week and very bloated. I usually see a scale increase twice a month and then drop a little bit lower once the bloating subsides. I am at the point where I need a diet break. I kinda want to wait a few more days to see what the scale drop will be - so I have an idea of how many calories to eat.

    Last year I plowed through and dropped my weight down to 106 and things started getting wonky. I thought I was perimenopausal but everything returned to normal after eating more. Thoughts on the diet break - is a month long enough to normalize those hormones?

    Thanks! :smiley:
  • bioklutzbioklutz Member Posts: 1,365 Member Member Posts: 1,365 Member
    I am definitely not low carb. Most of my cutting calories come from fat. I am averaging 210-240 carbs. This is actually pretty close to what i normally eat. If I was cutting more aggressively my carbs would take a hit.

    I have have been having 1-2 higher calorie days a week. Of course the majority of the increase has been from fat - as it is usually a tasty dessert.

    Looking at my calendar - if I take a maintenance break now I won't get back to cutting until June 18th when I return from vacation.
  • edickson76edickson76 Member Posts: 107 Member Member Posts: 107 Member
    Alexson50 wrote: »
    This is my first cut (after a bulk anyway, I've lost weight before but not with the goal of seeing newly added muscles!) and I'm not loving it. I've been lazy about sticking to my nutrition and also switched from slowly adding weight via pyramid sets to doing straight sets on my bench press, squats and deadlifts. I've still lost what I wanted to so far, but I feel totally exhausted after the gym each day. I'd love some of your wisdom on toughing it out or switching it up. Do you run the same program in a bulk and in a cut?

    You can retain muscle while cutting if you keep the intensity (=weight on the bar) at the same amount, even if you reduce volume (=total # of reps) and frequency (=# of times you do that lift per week).

    So, to answer your question, no, I don't run the same program when cutting. I have cut my volume by 1/3, which just means I drop one set from each exercise, since most of my exercises are 3 sets. If I don't do that, I am completely wrecked by the end of the workout and I can't recover in time for the next day's program or the day after's program. And that is a recipe for disaster.

    This article explains what is going on workout-wise when cutting: https://www.aworkoutroutine.com/how-to-lose-fat-without-losing-muscle/
  • pbrydpbryd Member Posts: 365 Member Member Posts: 365 Member
    edickson76 wrote: »
    You can retain muscle while cutting if you keep the intensity (=weight on the bar) at the same amount, even if you reduce volume (=total # of reps) and frequency (=# of times you do that lift per week).

    This has been the accepted advice for a long time now but the science backed community has started to change it's opinion.

    The recent studies on volume as the primary driver for hypertrophy means that keeping volume high during a cut is more important that the intensity.

    Mike talks about it here, with Eric backing up Mike's argument.



  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    Mike has a very different personality. I like listening to him speak (and how his colleagues respond). Eric is the s**t....That young man knows a thing or two. I have not listened to this pod cast yet. It is on my list of things to do today, though (funny how things work out with timing).
  • pbrydpbryd Member Posts: 365 Member Member Posts: 365 Member
    The video starts at the moment Mike and Eric discuss volume and intensity during a cut.

    It's only a couple of minutes, you don't have to watch the whole vid.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    I am a subscriber to Steve (Revive Stronger) so I *ALWAYS* watch them all.....but good point and excellent idea about posting the link right at the point of the "relevant" conversation. Thanks, man! I also subscribe to Team3DMJ.....man, I should be in MUCH better shape! LOL!
    edited May 2018
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    Speaking of Steve and Eric Helms......love this conversation (but I say that about all of their conversations):



    Sorry, folks. Quick digression from the topic at hand....let's get back on track here.... :-)
  • edickson76edickson76 Member Posts: 107 Member Member Posts: 107 Member
    pbryd wrote: »
    The video starts at the moment Mike and Eric discuss volume and intensity during a cut.

    It's only a couple of minutes, you don't have to watch the whole vid.

    Thanks for posting that! Much appreciated. I'm aware of the newer research on volume as the primary driver of hypertrophy, but I haven't seen any research on volume as the primary driver of muscle retention during a cut. Is there such research, or is this a hypothesis based on the known hypertrophy research?
  • pbrydpbryd Member Posts: 365 Member Member Posts: 365 Member
    edickson76 wrote: »
    ... but I haven't seen any research on volume as the primary driver of muscle retention during a cut. Is there such research, or is this a hypothesis based on the known hypertrophy research?

    I haven't seen any research. It does make sense when you think about it.

    This is the first time I've came across it being proposed.

  • dozenmonkeyzdozenmonkeyz Member Posts: 150 Member Member Posts: 150 Member
    RFL cut continues, starting week 3 today. Last week was a bit of a challenge due to a family dinner out (used my free meal on a pork burrito, chips/salsa, and some guac) and a party to watch the Cavs game Saturday night (scheduled refeed, plenty of carbs). Had 3 drinks at the party which is not a part of the diet at all but they were delicious and I'll accept the consequences of a bit of inefficiency in fat loss. The scale certainly reflects my slip up but I'm not too concerned as I expect a decent drop this week as I straighten up and get back to routine.
    Starting Weight - 216lbs
    End of week 1 - 208lbs
    End of week 2 - 206
    Weight was 204.5 before my free meal and weighed 206.25 today. The fluctuations can drive me crazy so I try to only focus on my weekly average (weight in daily Mon-Fri). With Memorial weekend coming up I'll have to really buckle down so I can feel good about wrapping this up after week 4 to prep for vacation/maintenance.
  • edickson76edickson76 Member Posts: 107 Member Member Posts: 107 Member
    pbryd wrote: »
    edickson76 wrote: »
    ... but I haven't seen any research on volume as the primary driver of muscle retention during a cut. Is there such research, or is this a hypothesis based on the known hypertrophy research?

    I haven't seen any research. It does make sense when you think about it.

    This is the first time I've came across it being proposed.

    It makes sense, if one takes Menno's approach, which is to keep building muscle while in a deficit. Then, of course, volume would be the main driver of building that muscle. I don't know enough physiology to know if sending signals to the body to build more muscle is the same or different than signals to retain muscle. But, per Lyle, we have studies showing that intensity maintains the muscle, even if we drop volume and frequency.

    I have been looking around for other commentary about this topic. I've found a post by Israetel (https://renaissanceperiodization.com/minicuts-dr-mike-israetel/) from last October on mini-cuts which says the following in his tip#5:
    Cardio is just fine to do and is recommended during mini cuts, but the training volume should be pretty low, right around MEV and usually not much higher. Why? Because this will keep all the muscle we built (not hard on a minicut) but save our volume sensitivity for massing, cause that’s when we’ll really want to push things to gain the most muscle.
    That seems at odds with what he said in the video you posted...

    I also looked on Revive Stronger's website and found a discussion on cutting workouts (http://revivestronger.com/2015/11/04/the-get-shredded-series-part-4-weight-training/):
    However, when trying to get shredded we do not have the fuel for adding mass, so rather we need to find a training volume that maintains our muscle.

    In a study of 70 untrained adults it was found muscle size was maintained with as low as one third of the volume that was required to initially give the adaption. Of course many of us are trained, so this might not be directly useful, however we can predict that we can maintain mass with frequent periods of lower volume training. This will help us recover during a time when our ability to recoup is severely reduced. This can be done through deloads, where volume is reduced heavily, and whereas when you might deload every 5th week normally, maybe when dieting you deload every 3rd or 4th week. Alternatively you could taper your volume for say 2 weeks or so and slowly increase it, in a wave like fashion, the key is we can allow for lower training volumes that will maintain mass and allow us to recover.
    The article is from 2015, but it is linked in a 2017 article.

  • pbrydpbryd Member Posts: 365 Member Member Posts: 365 Member
    @edickson76

    Regarding Mike's not dropping volume in favour of intensity.

    I'm assuming it depends on how much volume you were doing prior to the cut.

    His MRV guidelines are higher than 20 sets per week in some cases, so yeah you'll have to drop some volume.

    But if you're just plodding along at MEV trying to get in shape for the summer, then you'd want to try and keep the volume the same.

    I watch these videos with two things in mind..

    1. Who is this particular piece of advice aimed at, pro natural bodybuilder or someone like me trying to keep in shape.

    2. The coach advice giving one on one training, or general popular advice found in a book.
  • sardelsasardelsa Member Posts: 9,834 Member Member Posts: 9,834 Member
    Really interesting discussion about volume vs intensity. I honestly stick to what I do during a bulk but just try to keep up progression in some way, either maintaining weight on the bar or volume. It does depend on the lift, which bodypart and where I am in my program cycle. My program is always changing though so I typically don't have an issue with it.

    My cut is going... now that the water weight/bloat is gone I can see a true view of things and I keep flip flopping thinking I may want to transition to a hair below maintenance or recomp but then ahh I am so impatient. Good news is that if I am only losing 0.25lb per week or maintaining some weeks, I am good with that since I am not in a rush to cut down. So basically, as long as I am not gaining, I think I will be good.

  • bioklutzbioklutz Member Posts: 1,365 Member Member Posts: 1,365 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    Really interesting discussion about volume vs intensity. I honestly stick to what I do during a bulk but just try to keep up progression in some way, either maintaining weight on the bar or volume. It does depend on the lift, which bodypart and where I am in my program cycle. My program is always changing though so I typically don't have an issue with it.

    My cut is going... now that the water weight/bloat is gone I can see a true view of things and I keep flip flopping thinking I may want to transition to a hair below maintenance or recomp but then ahh I am so impatient. Good news is that if I am only losing 0.25lb per week or maintaining some weeks, I am good with that since I am not in a rush to cut down. So basically, as long as I am not gaining, I think I will be good.

    I also keep changing my mind as well! I was thinking to swap to maintenance for a tiny bit. Then I dropped some hormone weight and a little extra it is pretty motivating! So far this week compliance has been a breeze. I am pretty sure next week I will flip back!
  • jseams1234jseams1234 Member Posts: 1,190 Member Member Posts: 1,190 Member
    Kicked up everything but dropped protein to around 200-220 average. Hitting a bit above 3k calories this last week for maintenance and gained 4 pounds of water weight post cut. Feel much better and joints finally healing. Will bump up calories next week. I’ll miss my abs but tired of feeling so scrawny.

    Ate an entire small pizza for lunch today. It was glorious. :smiley:
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