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Getting lean without losing too much muscle

maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
I'm 100 days in trying to get a lot leaner without losing too much muscle/strength. I'm 51, been weight training consistently since I was 16. This is the first time I've ever really done a strict diet, I've usually just made small diet adjustments to not get too fat and still maintain strength and size. This time I want to lose the "moobs" that I've slowly accumulated and get as lean as I can (short of competition level). I'm down from 232 to 207 over the last 100 days. Not as lean as I hoped I'd be at 205, so I'm aiming at 195. (apparently I was a lot fatter than I thought I was LOL)

A trainer at my gym has me at 25% carb, 25% fat and 50% protein, total of 1600-1700 cal/day. The moobs are disappearing, so is the waist, and my lifts are staying about the same. The diet part hasn't been too bad, getting enough sleep seems to play a big role. Progress is pretty steady...down a little, up a bit, down a little more, up a little again, down a little more, day by day. Avg 1.5lbs/week loss.

I'd like to hear what others with similar goals are doing, what's going right and what's going wrong.
edited March 2019
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Replies

  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    I'd reduce the deficit if you only want to lose 10lbs. How tall are you?

    6'-0" I'm trying to get as lean as I can, while I'm doing the whole 25/50/25 thing, tracking every bite, and eating nothing but salad, chicken and protein shakes. 10lbs is fairly arbitrary...I may hit my composition goal at 200...or maybe not until 190? Plus I'm going on a trip to Paris for a couple weeks at the end of the month and then Moab for a week right after, so there will likely be some very nice meals in there, providing a diet break whether I need it or not.
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    @maverick4x4, you've done well thus far so continue as you've done and give it another 100 days. I promise you that you''ll make and see visible progress. We have some things in common except I have you by a dozen years and about 100 more days in my current fitness, health and wellness journey. Your progress at 100 days mirrors mine. At 198 days as of today, I can tell you that there's quite a difference 100 days make.

    I started at 210.8 lbs. and am averaging 175 lbs. now. I got to where I am with a 1.5 lb. per week weight loss goal, eating 1,500 calories, on average, plus adding back exercise calories and training like I was in Army boot camp. I don't believe you have much to worry about losing muscle muscle, an overrated discussion topic here providing you're doing strength training lifting some decent loads. Now, if you're doing excessive cardio and swing little pink dumbbells for your "strength training" while eating 1,000 calories, then yes muscle loss will be a concern.

    You mention strength and size. It's possible to keep the strength you have but you'll have to train with strength progression in mind. Size, yes, you will lose size with weight loss because you'll be melting that fat wrap you've been wearing. Start budgeting for new clothes because at some point it's no fun pulling your pants up and cinching your belt like you're choking your waist. And, you might start getting colder and experience that your butt hurts when sitting on wooden bleachers.

    Don't know how tall you are or your lifestyle (I use sedentary because I sit for living) but you may find as you inch closer to your goal that you may revise further downward what you judge your ideal bodyweight range.

    Wishing you the best.

    Thanks! Great comments. Cool about the similar paths. I hit 205 on Saturday, which was my original target, based on an assumption that I was about 20% body fat and I wanted to get to 10%-ish to achieve my goal. (my original BF% estimate was low, I'm afraid) As I started getting closer to 210 I realized that 205 wasn't going to do it. 195 isn't set in stone, and as you say, may get revised. Yes, I've noticed the cold a little. I'm year-round shorts guy (live in northern Utah) so it's taking some adjustment.

    It's funny about the pants...I was so focused on losing the moobs that I was literally surprised when my pants started getting really loose. Shirts still fit the same, but a sport coat that was getting snug now fits a lot better. The size I was referring to was muscle size. Happy to get rid of the fat.

    I've always trained with strength progression in mind, and while I'm still trying for gains, I'm mostly just slowing the descent from my 30s. Back seems to be holding steady (chins reps actually going up because I weigh less), legs are also holding steady, and chest varies by how my shoulder feels on any given day. Yeah, I'm a desk jockey too, it took me a month to get that figured out in MFP that I needed to select "sedentary"; of course the trainer that dialed in my diet knew right away where I needed to be (I provided her a typical week's diet).

    I'm just under 6'-0". When I was in my 20s I was lean at 195-198 and was never able to break 200 until I started taking creatine at age 30. I jumped to 215 pretty quick, and doubled reps in most lifts in the process. I've been 210-225 ever since, depending mostly on how I was training and injuries. That's why 232 was a trigger, I'm nowhere near as strong as at my previous high of 225-227, and the normal tweaks to lose a few pounds weren't as effective.
    edited March 2019
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    If you want to check out this thread, a bunch of us were/are cutting with a few details how we go about it

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10661905/anyone-cutting-after-a-bulk/p1

    What I personally do.. keep protein up (I usually go by g so about 1-1.2g per lb bodyweight), maintain my training as much as I can, I keep my deficit small so 0.5-0.75lb per week, and take regular diet breaks. That works for me.

    That's a LOT of protein. I struggle to get 200g/day. I can't imagine 240, that's another protein shake or two. I'm about to take a diet break...back to back vacations, though they will be pretty active so it should be interesting.
  • sardelsasardelsa Member Posts: 9,473 Member Member Posts: 9,473 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    If you want to check out this thread, a bunch of us were/are cutting with a few details how we go about it

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10661905/anyone-cutting-after-a-bulk/p1

    What I personally do.. keep protein up (I usually go by g so about 1-1.2g per lb bodyweight), maintain my training as much as I can, I keep my deficit small so 0.5-0.75lb per week, and take regular diet breaks. That works for me.

    That's a LOT of protein. I struggle to get 200g/day. I can't imagine 240, that's another protein shake or two. I'm about to take a diet break...back to back vacations, though they will be pretty active so it should be interesting.

    Well that is just what I do and what works for me. I am also a fairly leanish female, anywhere from 130-145lbs so that isn't too much for me.

    You could aim for 0.8-1g per lb goalweight or lb lean body mass at the very least. I would say the leaner you get, the higher protein you would want to aim for, or if you are going a little more aggressively. You don't want to be uncomfortable and forcing protein on yourself either. At least go for the minimum for now and you should be fine.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 8,437 Member Member Posts: 8,437 Member
    Sounds like you have a good hold on what's going on with a good support system.

    The only thing so recommend is a little more than 1g if protein per lb of body weight since you are more advanced in age.

    Studies show we need not only more but better quality to match the efficiency of MPS of younger years.
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    sardelsa wrote: »
    If you want to check out this thread, a bunch of us were/are cutting with a few details how we go about it

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10661905/anyone-cutting-after-a-bulk/p1

    What I personally do.. keep protein up (I usually go by g so about 1-1.2g per lb bodyweight), maintain my training as much as I can, I keep my deficit small so 0.5-0.75lb per week, and take regular diet breaks. That works for me.

    That's a LOT of protein. I struggle to get 200g/day. I can't imagine 240, that's another protein shake or two. I'm about to take a diet break...back to back vacations, though they will be pretty active so it should be interesting.

    Well that is just what I do and what works for me. I am also a fairly leanish female, anywhere from 130-145lbs so that isn't too much for me.

    You could aim for 0.8-1g per lb goalweight or lb lean body mass at the very least. I would say the leaner you get, the higher protein you would want to aim for, or if you are going a little more aggressively. You don't want to be uncomfortable and forcing protein on yourself either. At least go for the minimum for now and you should be fine.

    I appreciate your input. 200 is 1g/lb, most days I get about 180ish, trying for more. Thank God for the Premier Protein shakes. Besides the trainer getting the macros right, all the credit for my success so far goes to those shakes and MFP.
  • JBanx256JBanx256 Member Posts: 537 Member Member Posts: 537 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »

    What I personally do.. keep protein up (I usually go by g so about 1-1.2g per lb bodyweight), maintain my training as much as I can, I keep my deficit small so 0.5-0.75lb per week, and take regular diet breaks. That works for me.

    Agreed with @Sardelsa - I'm currently getting 160g/day.

  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Sounds like you have a good hold on what's going on with a good support system.

    The only thing so recommend is a little more than 1g if protein per lb of body weight since you are more advanced in age.

    Studies show we need not only more but better quality to match the efficiency of MPS of younger years.

    MPS?
  • mmapagsmmapags Member Posts: 8,961 Member Member Posts: 8,961 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Sounds like you have a good hold on what's going on with a good support system.

    The only thing so recommend is a little more than 1g if protein per lb of body weight since you are more advanced in age.

    Studies show we need not only more but better quality to match the efficiency of MPS of younger years.

    MPS?

    Muscle Protein Synthesis.
  • Tic78Tic78 Member Posts: 226 Member Member Posts: 226 Member
    I would raise my calories slightly and slow down the weight loss or I would increase my calories slightly but increase my exercise to burn more calories if I wanted to keep losing 1.5lbs week.

    It’s not that I think your losing too fast at 1.5lb loss per week, it’s because at 6 foot if your eating 1600-1700 calories then that will be below your BMR which isn’t good.

    I’m assuming your using MFP on a TDEE basis so when you say 16/1700 cals per day that includes exercise calories. Rather than 16-1700 cals but then eating back a percentage of calories burnt.
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    Tic78 wrote: »
    I would raise my calories slightly and slow down the weight loss or I would increase my calories slightly but increase my exercise to burn more calories if I wanted to keep losing 1.5lbs week.

    It’s not that I think your losing too fast at 1.5lb loss per week, it’s because at 6 foot if your eating 1600-1700 calories then that will be below your BMR which isn’t good.

    I’m assuming your using MFP on a TDEE basis so when you say 16/1700 cals per day that includes exercise calories. Rather than 16-1700 cals but then eating back a percentage of calories burnt.

    The 1600 cal/day does not include exercise calories. Exercise consists of morning workouts 5-6 days/week 10min of cardio/warmup then 30-50 minutes of weight training. I'll add a 20-30 minute session on the treadmill or bike once or twice a week, plus outdoorsy stuff on the weekends.

    I'm a little curious as to what my actual BMR is. I was discussing this with a friend last week and where/how to determine it.
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Member Posts: 1,913 Member Member Posts: 1,913 Member
    I'd reduce the deficit if you only want to lose 10lbs. How tall are you?

    6'-0" I'm trying to get as lean as I can, while I'm doing the whole 25/50/25 thing, tracking every bite, and eating nothing but salad, chicken and protein shakes. 10lbs is fairly arbitrary...I may hit my composition goal at 200...or maybe not until 190? Plus I'm going on a trip to Paris for a couple weeks at the end of the month and then Moab for a week right after, so there will likely be some very nice meals in there, providing a diet break whether I need it or not.

    Just be aware of micronutrient deficiencies if you're on such a strict 'bro' diet of chicken salad and protein powder. Go have a look at coacheugeneteo on Instagram/Facebook or www.ganbarumethod.com he talks about that on his stories and in his website. It's all good for a period of time, but can lead to complications later.

    Personally, when I did bro dieting like you are now, it got to the point where I could hardly even eat green veg such as green beans because I would bloat up like a 5 month pregnant woman. Same with sweet potato. All my meals were effing chicken (or fish) and sweet potato and green veg. Not only I was a miserable human being but my health started to suffer.

    I still bloat by just looking at broccoli. A long time ago I could eat broccoli until the cows came home.
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    "bro diet" HAHAHHAHAHHAHA I've never heard that. I think I'm about as far from a "bro" as one can get, but maybe not? So that's pretty funny. I'll be sharing that. I guess if the shoe fits, I'll have to go get some flat billed hats (or try and straighten mine out?) and put a bunch of light bars on my truck and quit actually going off-road. Maybe take some gym selfies? Is there a "bro" age limit? (I might be over by a decade or two) I've just called it a "hard core get lean body building diet" but I guess I'm not really in those circles to know the lingo.

    To your point though, I've tried to be careful of the micronutrient deficiencies and keep some variety in my "bro lunches" <snicker> as well as my usual supplements/vitamins, etc. Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.

    I haven't experienced said bloating (yet?).

    Thanks for the comments!
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    So it gets even funnier (to me anyway). I was laughing about it being called the Bro diet with one of my friends at work and she commented, "well actually, you HAVE talked about doing squats before, so you're a bro." (She's doing the "almost bro diet"). Just had a bro lunch of Greek chicken salad with two bro's from work, forgot to ask them about it.

    Thanks, that's the funny I needed today.
  • billkansasbillkansas Member Posts: 249 Member Member Posts: 249 Member
    Hi Maverick,

    I have no useful advice but just wanted to say I'm with you. I'm 50, currently weigh 203 lbs, 6'-2", and cutting on about 2000 cal/day (after reading your post think I need to cut my calories further). Struggling to maintain strength while losing weight. I've found to be very difficult but I've been nicely corrected by several persons here that it's probably my fault for my crappy 2 day per week workout plan, poor diet, and poor sleep habits. I agree and am trying to do better but it's hard especially with small kids at home and too busy at work. Hopeful to get a garage gym established so I can deadlift, squat and bench at home a bit while kids play outside. My goal is to join the 1000 lb club and who knows... maybe 2019 is the year.?.? Best wishes.
  • maverick4x4maverick4x4 Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member Member, Premium Posts: 54 Member
    Back from Brugge/Paris for 10 days. Lost 3 lbs while there and another 2.6 the next day after getting back, to 202.0, making 30 lbs total since I started. Lots of pastries, crepes, waffles and walking while I was there. Plus a few good meals and protein shakes. Did pushups/pullups on 3 occasions, plus a couple short runs (1 mile each, I'm NOT a runner).
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