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When did you decide to move from cutting/losing to maintenance whilst lifting heavy?

sarko15sarko15 Posts: 330Member Member Posts: 330Member Member
When did you decide to move from cutting/losing to maintenance/gaining whilst lifting heavy?

I'm not asking -- when did you start lifting? Because I know the answer should be ASAP. I'm mostly just asking for folks who have started lifting on a deficit and decided that for the sake of their lifts they'd bump up their calories and switch to maintenance earlier than planned.

More (probably TMI) background in 1st comment, if helpful.
edited November 17
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Replies

  • sarko15sarko15 Posts: 330Member Member Posts: 330Member Member
    Sorry if this is too much background, but if it helps --
    F, 26, just shy of 5'4", job is active (retail), but about to switch to a new position that will be much more sedentary (office).
    SW1 (July, pre-move to a new state & all the physical and emotional stress involved): 156 lbs
    SW2 (mid-September, first time back to the gym after the move): 152 lbs, 32% bf
    CW: 144-146 lbs
    GW (flexible): 140 lbs (hardly my vanity weight but sustainable for me, was aiming for Thanksgiving)
    Current calories: 1410 (1lb a week deficit) + eating at least half exercise cals back

    My goal this time around has been increasing muscle from the start, but I had a pretty high bf % so I wanted to get that down first. Since September, I've doing StrongLifts loosely (by loosely, I mean only progressing when it feels safe to do so and with correct form because I don't have access to microplates smaller than 2.5 and usually those are in high demand at my gym). I've been doing some LISS cardio or high-intensity spin classes but the bulk (3) of my 4-5 workouts every week are strength-focused. I haven't lost more than 2 lbs in the last month but my measurements this morning said I've lost an inch all around and two on my waist. I haven't checked my bf % since that one time with a trainer in Sept.

    I know once my job becomes more sedentary on Wednesday it's going to be harder to keep this deficit, and I think my body is going through a lot of stress with this job change because I also just didn't get my period in October (I'm not pregnant and I'm planning on seeing a doc once my new health insurance kicks in). I'm unsure if stress inhibits weight loss or lifting gains, but I'm toying with upping my calories and eliminating my deficit altogether to give myself a little more energy while still gaining muscle and (hopefully) losing fat. I'm very new to the idea of losing fat without being on a calorie deficit, so I don't want to switch to maintenance prematurely, as I'm still on the upper end of the healthy range.
    edited November 17
  • sardelsasardelsa Posts: 8,466Member Member Posts: 8,466Member Member
    I will have short periods (anywhere from one week to three months) at maintenance, but I never stay there too long. I am either bulking, cutting or pregnant.

    In your case, nothing wrong with taking diet breaks (eating at maintenance for at least one week or more) especially in times of high stress, vacation etc. I find them really helpful when it comes to adherence and not burning out in a deficit.
  • cupcakesandproteinshakescupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 325Member Member Posts: 325Member Member
    5ft 8.5 female. Started lifting at about 150- 155. Lost slowly over 7 months to 140. Maintained at About 140 for 2 years. Got some good results, more muscular. But not ripped by any stretch of the imagination. I’m currently trying to drop a few pounds before I bulk.
  • cupcakesandproteinshakescupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 325Member Member Posts: 325Member Member
    To add: I made better progress on the big 3 lifts while in maintenance. At the moment by upper body lifts especially bench and OHP are stalling or regressing. Super annoying but normal in a deficit or so I’m told. I’m really looking forward to being able to progress in the gym again
  • ElizabethKalmbachElizabethKalmbach Posts: 1,220Member Member Posts: 1,220Member Member
    I usually choose my cut-over point with only a mental note of the scale weight when I'm in the "athletic" range of body fat percentage, which is where I feel most visually appealing and healthy. ("Visually appealing" to others would require that I stop dressing like a slob, which is unlikely, but by 42, I've found that I really don't like the way "muffin top" feels. So I get down to where that's not a thing that happens much.)
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 8,036Member Member Posts: 8,036Member Member
    Personally I'm either in maintenance of some form or slightly gaining weight. Cutting weight for me is more about water on a short term basis and not anything that is body composition since I'm reasonably low body fat at all times.

    Perhaps you can define what lifting heavy is to you since that is a vague term along with your current goal and end goal.

    Generally speaking I tend to bump up lifters calories when measuring their fatigue and disecting their load management. I don't feel there is one clear cut answer without knowing the goal or training.
  • gemiller87gemiller87 Posts: 99Member, Premium Member Posts: 99Member, Premium Member
    It's an interesting question. I'm closing in on this conundrum myself. I'm down to 15lbs (95 lost so far, 110 lost for goal) away from my primary goal weight and have really started shifting focus to strength training as I close in on the goal. The dilemma is technically my current goal weight is still in overweight BMI calculations. Although when I use a waist/neck measurement calculator I fall into just inside the average line.

    Added a pull up bar, bench press setup, and some other weight gear to my garage. Been doing sit-up, push-up, plank and squat programs now for about 2 months.

    I'm not sure whether to transition to .5-1lb a week loss plus train, stay at maintenance and train and see what my loss rate falls at, or shift to a small bulk calorie count but I think i may still need a hair bit cut off to clean up some problem areas for weight loss for me. It's a tough situation because it seems like all the body building forums and posts are for people that already in the cycle or in a decent starting condition.
    edited November 18
  • cosmiqrecoverycosmiqrecovery Posts: 132Member Member Posts: 132Member Member
    i've been lifting for about a year and a half, which still puts me solidly in Noob Gains territory. thing is, for a while i haven't been seeing many at all. there was some recomp happening slowly, but not a lot of progress in terms of how much weight i could bear. i'm still in the process of recovering from over a decade struggling with eating disorders and the idea of willingly increasing my calories beyond the point some arbitrary online calculator tells me i should always puts me in mortal terror, like i'm committing some grave and impossible sin that will inevitably come back to kill me, or worse, make me fat. but when the functionality starts to suffer, there's only so many supplements you can take to make up for a caloric deficit without breaking the bank or your kidneys.
  • sarko15sarko15 Posts: 330Member Member Posts: 330Member Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Personally I'm either in maintenance of some form or slightly gaining weight. Cutting weight for me is more about water on a short term basis and not anything that is body composition since I'm reasonably low body fat at all times.

    Perhaps you can define what lifting heavy is to you since that is a vague term along with your current goal and end goal.

    Generally speaking I tend to bump up lifters calories when measuring their fatigue and disecting their load management. I don't feel there is one clear cut answer without knowing the goal or training.

    Currently:
    Benching 60 lbs
    Squatting 100 lbs (on smith machine at the moment, but planning on switching to real squat rack this week)
    Deadlifting 75 lbs

    So it's not "heavy" by other people's standards probably. I've been adding weight very slowly. Mostly I'm wondering if I'm wasting time trying to lift in a deficit, and how my progress would look if I bumped up to maintainance (also mostly to take in more protein than I realistically can on 1410 calories a day).

    I don't have a good goal when it comes to strength training at this point. I'd mostly just love to get my body fat % in a healthy range and feel really empowered lifting heavy *kitten*.
    edited November 19
  • sarko15sarko15 Posts: 330Member Member Posts: 330Member Member
    i've been lifting for about a year and a half, which still puts me solidly in Noob Gains territory. thing is, for a while i haven't been seeing many at all. there was some recomp happening slowly, but not a lot of progress in terms of how much weight i could bear. i'm still in the process of recovering from over a decade struggling with eating disorders and the idea of willingly increasing my calories beyond the point some arbitrary online calculator tells me i should always puts me in mortal terror, like i'm committing some grave and impossible sin that will inevitably come back to kill me, or worse, make me fat. but when the functionality starts to suffer, there's only so many supplements you can take to make up for a caloric deficit without breaking the bank or your kidneys.

    I've been there. My history is the same. That's why it's so hard for me to wrap my head around being able to change my body for the better without cutting calories/doing tons of cardio. But I've been doing that for 10 years straight and it only really made me overweight.

    I'm loving strength training because it takes the focus off getting smaller and onto becoming more functional with my body. For the first time in my life, I'm kind of cool with getting bulky which is neat.
  • steveko89steveko89 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    For those of you reading this ans who posted above about not wanting to gain weight after losing or who have fought eating disorders: cutting and bulking is kind of trendy now but it’s not for everyone. I’ve been maintaining and lifting consistently for 2 years. I’m at a normal weight bmi 20. It’s perfectly doable and I’ve seen results. Do I look like a fitness model? Nope. But I look a lot better body composition wise than when I started.

    I enjoyed focussing more on training and the body changes kinda followed naturally.

    I’m dropping a few pounds before hoping to bulk atm. But the reason I didn’t bulk before was I didn’t feel mentally ready.

    ^ It varies day-to-day for me. To elaborate on my earlier comment about net recomping since I started lifting, I too have been generally pleased with the improvements to my body composition and strength gains despite never undergoing a large, traditional bulking phase over the 4+ years of consistently lifting.

    7/7/2015 - 170 lbs, ~18.3% BF per skulpt BIA scanner averages
    Current - 176.9 lbs, ~13.13 % BF per skulpt BIA scanner average

    By those numbers I've gained nearly 15 lbs of lean mass and lost 8 lbs of fat while BMI ranged from 23.1-24.0 with a maximum rolling average of 181.7 and a median average of 176.2 since 8/2017, when I started weighing myself daily. My record-keeping was less meticulous before that but I don't recall being higher than 185, and time in the 180s in general was brief.
  • GaryRunsGaryRuns Posts: 273Member, Premium Member Posts: 273Member, Premium Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    I will have short periods (anywhere from one week to three months) at maintenance, but I never stay there too long. I am either bulking, cutting or pregnant.

    Now that was funny. Maybe not to you @sardelsa, but yeah. Is that a fourth state for resistance training? Cutting, maintenance, bulking, pregnant? If so I'm afraid I'm out. :D
    edited November 20
  • jmule24jmule24 Posts: 1,435Member Member Posts: 1,435Member Member
    I've only skimmed most comments so apologies if this has already been mentioned. If you're truly lifting 'heavy' I would hope that you're using some sort of program that is based on progressive overload. If you are, at some point regardless of cutting/bulking you're going to plateau. You can either: A. Deload by 10% approximately and try to work your way back up through the plateau, or B. Increase calories to provide you body more fuel for recovery / growth.

    I struggle with body image myself so I seem to yo-yo from cutting/bulking. I want to be strong and look good too. My problem is I'm not happy with my body fat percentage and have a small bit of chub around my waist. The only way I'm going to get rid of it is through a caloric deficit. However, staying in a deficit too long greatly affects my strength too which makes me feel like I'm going backwards...

    It's a vicious cycle..... if you want a little bit of both, I would recommend using maintenance calories but that in my experience is a slow process and I lack patience.

    I hope this helps a bit...
  • sarko15sarko15 Posts: 330Member Member Posts: 330Member Member
    jmule24 wrote: »
    I've only skimmed most comments so apologies if this has already been mentioned. If you're truly lifting 'heavy' I would hope that you're using some sort of program that is based on progressive overload. If you are, at some point regardless of cutting/bulking you're going to plateau. You can either: A. Deload by 10% approximately and try to work your way back up through the plateau, or B. Increase calories to provide you body more fuel for recovery / growth.

    I struggle with body image myself so I seem to yo-yo from cutting/bulking. I want to be strong and look good too. My problem is I'm not happy with my body fat percentage and have a small bit of chub around my waist. The only way I'm going to get rid of it is through a caloric deficit. However, staying in a deficit too long greatly affects my strength too which makes me feel like I'm going backwards...

    It's a vicious cycle..... if you want a little bit of both, I would recommend using maintenance calories but that in my experience is a slow process and I lack patience.

    I hope this helps a bit...

    Thank you! I am using StrongLifts. I have lost roughly two inches all around since I got my bf % checked so I definitely probably should ask a trainer to check it again soon -- not sure if inches necessarily mean much change in bf %. I'm feeling pretty good with my weight loss (and also a touch annoyed because none of my pants fit so I have to buy new ones but that's part of the journey I guess), but I think the only real way to measure my progress in the bf area is to have it checked.
  • GaryRunsGaryRuns Posts: 273Member, Premium Member Posts: 273Member, Premium Member
    sarko15 wrote: »
    jmule24 wrote: »
    I've only skimmed most comments so apologies if this has already been mentioned. If you're truly lifting 'heavy' I would hope that you're using some sort of program that is based on progressive overload. If you are, at some point regardless of cutting/bulking you're going to plateau. You can either: A. Deload by 10% approximately and try to work your way back up through the plateau, or B. Increase calories to provide you body more fuel for recovery / growth.

    I struggle with body image myself so I seem to yo-yo from cutting/bulking. I want to be strong and look good too. My problem is I'm not happy with my body fat percentage and have a small bit of chub around my waist. The only way I'm going to get rid of it is through a caloric deficit. However, staying in a deficit too long greatly affects my strength too which makes me feel like I'm going backwards...

    It's a vicious cycle..... if you want a little bit of both, I would recommend using maintenance calories but that in my experience is a slow process and I lack patience.

    I hope this helps a bit...

    Thank you! I am using StrongLifts. I have lost roughly two inches all around since I got my bf % checked so I definitely probably should ask a trainer to check it again soon -- not sure if inches necessarily mean much change in bf %. I'm feeling pretty good with my weight loss (and also a touch annoyed because none of my pants fit so I have to buy new ones but that's part of the journey I guess), but I think the only real way to measure my progress in the bf area is to have it checked.

    Actually @sarko15 the best method to track your progress is to measure things you care about. Body fat percentage is certainly one, but having to buy new pants because you've lost weight is something a lot more people would care about, so big congrats on that! Also, most methods of measuring body fat percentage aren't particularly accurate. Probably the most common method used these days, bioelectrical impedance analysis, can be very inaccurate, and the same with pinch tests using calipers. The most accurate method is probably DXA and most people can't afford to go out and get those regularly. And even that method can have significant errors for individuals. Hyrdrostatic weighing is the other fairly accurate method, but again, not something you can go out and do very regularly.

    For myself, I prefer measuring my fat with calipers at places I care about, like my dad belly. Not using the caliper test to get a fat percentage, but just the measurement value that I can track over time. And then using a tape measure to track hypertrophy (muscle growth). Doing those two things over time has been more useful to me than tracking my body fat percentage.
  • DancingMoosieDancingMoosie Posts: 4,586Member Member Posts: 4,586Member Member
    My weight was really low when I started learning powerlifting. There wasn't really anywhere to go but up! I've slowly increased my strength and weight, with some bumps in the road!
  • StatChicBayesStatChicBayes Posts: 291Member, Premium Member Posts: 291Member, Premium Member
    Interesting question that I have been wondering about myself! I started losing weight back in Feb and incorporated weight training from the start (machines and lighter dumbbells) but started lifting with barbells and heavier weights in mid September and have made some newbie progress (following the Strong book - later version of NROLW with trainer) in strength (can now squat/deadlift my body weight).

    Had been steadily losing 1.6 pounds per week from the beginning, but about a month ago was feeling hungrier! With about 10 pounds from goal, increased calories to 1550-1650 (higher on weight days) - maintenance is around 1750 for me. About 2 pounds to reach my initial goal, but still have higher belly fat/ BF than where I want to be (26.8) so trying to decide whether to switch to maintenance when I get to 110 and work on body recomp or continue the deficit to get to 105 with the hope to reduce more belly fat.
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