Cut after bulk. 42 yo male

5’8” Male 191 lbs 12.6% body fat. July 2022 I was 252 lbs. May 2023 I dropped to 178 lbs with a combo of calorie deficit, 5-6 days a week with strength and cardio workouts. Also counted macros. July 2023 I decided I would focus more on weight lifting, but not count calories. I made sure to get 175g’s protein a day, and focused on while foods. Every once in awhile I would check calories and be in the 3200-3800 range. Gained 13 lbs over 6 months. Was shocked on my in body scan at 12.5 % body fat. I thought I would be closer to 15-17%. Even at 178 lbs my abs were barely visible at best. Abs is not the goal. After my test, my metabolic rate was 2000 calories per day. My goal is a slow cut for summer. I typically do 3 full body sessions a week that last 70-85 min. I then have 2 or 3 stretch/cardio days. Typically I burn 500-750 Cals per workout. I rest 1 day a week, but always get 10000-15000 steps each day. My goal is to lean out while trying to keep as much muscle as possible. Still hitting gym 5-6 days per week. I started Monday at 1850 calories with 185G of protein. Realized I would starve real quick so I bumped to 2150 calories with around 180-200g protein, 180-200g carb. 50-70g fat. I have ranges due to I hit my calories on the combination. Asking for opinions on calories. 2150 a good start ? Check the scale each week and adjust based on weight and how I feel? All advice appreciated.

Best Answers

  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 583 Member
    edited February 7 Answer ✓
    OP, how did you measure your bf%?

    Also, with your stats, I see where you get the 500 calories burned weight lifting for about 80 minutes. That number reflects your total energy expenditure during the workout. Meaning it measures both your BMR plus the extra energy expenditure from weight lifting. Keeping in mind the total amount of work you do is the most important part in terms of calorie burn. Medium to high rep training typically results in more work done than low rep training.

    This is what I’m seeing for your stats (as highly active), and it puts you in the overweight category. However, I’ve known some very fit people whose muscle mass puts them in the same category, so take that with a grain of salt. But they were serious athletes and had no visible fat on their body.

    gteadaf8rwhj.jpeg

    8kvr37io4dve.jpeg

    The only way to check for accuracy is logging and weighing overtime to find the trend, then adjusting to what is accurate for you personally. Your RMR pretty much matches the sedentary calorie burn above.

    I have no doubt you’re getting fit, so I hope this doesn’t come across that I don’t. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the numbers. You went from 252 in July, then lost 74 lbs in 10 months. In a little over the next 6 months you gained back 13lbs. Due to the amount of fat you had previously it’s likely your bf% is higher than you think. But, again, we would need to know how you got that number. Even the nice scans are iffy. In the case you’re still carrying more body fat than you’d like, I would suggest a 250 calorie deficit and keep pushing. Do you have a goal in mind?

    Here’s a pic that might be helpful, maybe you can point us in the right direction. And, thanks for providing so much information out of the gate. It sounds like you really want to know the best moves forward.

    k0fbmsto9pzd.jpeg
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,350 Member
    Answer ✓
    That's right.

    It actually gets a bit more complicated, in that if your exercise was especially strenuous, like heavy lifting or zone 4 cardio e.g., then you may consciously or subconsciously reduce your NEAT for some time afterwards while you recover. I'm sure you've felt that from time to time after a hard workout. You feel wiped so you don't do as many chores, or fidget, etc. That's all calories you would have burned, had you not worked out.

    That's another reason to be wary of eating back all exercise calories.

Answers

  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 583 Member
    edited February 7
    Wow, that’s pretty impressive. Based on your metabolic rate (I’m guessing you mean TDEE) being 2000 + the 500-750 calorie burn (if that’s accurate) I would cut 250 calories to maintain as much of that muscle as possible. You worked so hard for it. That would bring your calorie goal to 2250-2500.

    If you’re losing more or less than .5 lbs a week adjust accordingly until your deficit matches your weight loss. It seems you’re eating a really high amount of protein but if that’s what’s working for you then no harm done. I think you could get away with 100-150 grams though, if it’s getting too expensive, too repetitive, or tough on your digestion.

    Congrats on your impressive results.

  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,350 Member
    edited February 7
    OP, it sounds like you've made tremendous progress, and everything with your working out, your nutrition, your protein, all sounds on point.

    I question some of your numbers though.

    "191 lbs 12.6% body fat... My goal is a slow cut for summer"

    If you are truly at 12.6% you should have very visible abs, and you shouldn't be cutting at all, unless you're competing for a show. You should be maintaining or continuing a lean bulk.

    "Even at 178 lbs my abs were barely visible at best."

    See above comment.

    "After my test, my metabolic rate was 2000 calories per day."

    I assume you mean your RMR, which will be far below your TDEE.

    "Typically I burn 500-750 Cals per workout"

    I have doubts, especially for lifting. 200-300 additional calories per hour is more realistic, i.e. in addition to your basic RMR per hour.

    "Every once in awhile I would check calories and be in the 3200-3800 range. Gained 13 lbs over 6 months"

    This suggests you were gaining about 0.5 pounds per week, which is a surplus of 250 per day. Assuming you were averaging 3,500 then your TDEE is actually around 3,250. If you were intent on losing fat while retaining muscle, you should only have a small deficit of a few hundred, but see my earlier comment, you should actually be maintaining or doing a lean bulk. Again, assuming the 12.6% bf is accurate. If you look and feel soft around the middle, a cut makes more sense, but that would imply your bf is actually mid to high teens.
  • djandtiffanylunsford
    djandtiffanylunsford Posts: 9 Member
    edited February 7
    Thank you for this info. Extremely helpful. I have some doubts about the test I would. I really do think I’m getting 500 to 700 cal burn. I attach some pictures of my last two workouts Monday and Tuesday. I run a little bit on the non-waitlist days. But I also think I might be a little bit higher than 12.6 maybe 15 to 17. I also put a few pictures of progress below. The first one is me at 2:52. The second one is me at 178. So I’ve gained 13 pounds since then and I’m definitely a little more fluffier. But very much stronger. My real goal is to get down in the 170 to 175 range and see how I feel. I’m not sure if 155 is realistic for my build. I mean I guess it could be if I just got rid of all the muscle and I don’t mean that in a pretentious way. equa1qr5yutn.jpeg
    g7ptjv5b34dc.jpeg
    9o34qqzz5xvl.jpeg
  • jyv2i2yuw0x4.jpeg
    rpcf4sfhxb6z.jpeg
  • First of all, I want to say thank you to both of you. All of this info I am very grateful for. It’s still a learning process for me. You’ll see some pictures above just with some progress. The one where I was pretty lean I was more 178 to 180. You will also see kind of what my daily workouts look like. Three days, a week, full body, and then the other day at your cardio day with some light stretching, and I might do one body part is lagging behind some light weights, but for reps literally only maybe two sets of three. Two different exercises. Can buy me some stretching of been working on. Just to stay limber.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 583 Member
    You should be so proud, I would be. Those are incredible results. I think 170-175 is a great goal, and you can assess there if you want to continue to build muscle, stay, or cut a little. It’s nice to have wiggle room either way IMO. And definitely a fan of going slow on the way down. I know it’s frustrating losing muscle when you cut, it’s just one of those things. But you can certainly maintain as much as possible by doing what you’re doing (small deficit, higher protein, weight lifting). Hope you continue to check back.
  • Ddsb111. I like that strategy and that’s really what I’m going for. Shooting for that one, 70 to 175 and then going to reassess. I’m getting my body scan done every four weeks for 12 weeks total. So I’ll definitely keep this updated and appreciate all the advice. I’m probably pushing a little bit too hard the first week or two just because I want to see that scale go down a few pounds. But I agree on the take a little slow and trim down about a half pound per week. Just trying to be prepared for that mental complex of the scale. Going down a little slower and then also maybe getting a little bit weaker. Worked really hard to gain strength. But I know that’s part of being in a deficit. Thanks for your support. I’m also going to check out those articles. Sorry about for some of the jumbled words. I use voice to text way too much.
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,350 Member
    edited February 7
    That's an outstanding transformation, congrats. I doubt you were as low as 12.5% at your lowest weight there, looks at least 15% to me, and you say you're fluffier now so yeah probably high teens.

    Given that, I'd suggest a deficit of max 500. We can already estimate your TDEE at around 3,250 based on your previous figures, so go to around 2,750 or so and see how you get on after a few weeks.
  • That's an outstanding transformation, congrats. I doubt you were as low as 12.5% at your lowest weight there, looks at least 15% to me, and you say you're fluffier now so yeah probably high teens.

    Given that, I'd suggest a deficit of max 500. We can already estimate your TDEE at around 3,250 based on your previous figures, so go to around 2,750 or so and see how you get on after a few weeks.

    Hey thank you. I totally agree. I think I’m more in the high teens. I get another in body scan here in about four weeks, so I’ll see what that says, but I’m not counting on. It has to be completely accurate. I am doing all the proper stuff before I get the scan to make sure it’s accurate as possible but I’m interested to see what the numbers are next time. Currently I’m doing about 2150 but I’m gonna take it up. It’s a mental thing but I’m just trying to get a good win on the first week. Plus leave some room for a good cheat meal on the weekend just to keep me sane. My calories on my watch which I wore all of but 6-7 hours were right about 3400 yesterday. But that was a busier day than normal. So I think you’re 3250 is probably very accurate. Thank you.
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,350 Member
    Also with regards calorie estimates for lifting, I see only some of your total is actually lifting, and as mentioned, it will include your RMR per hour (about 2,000 / 24).

    I remember Jonni Shreve, pro bodybuilder with a fantastic channel on YT with excellent form guides, often mentions lifting as around 200-300 per hour. And he should know.
  • Also with regards calorie estimates for lifting, I see only some of your total is actually lifting, and as mentioned, it will include your RMR per hour (about 2,000 / 24).

    I remember Jonni Shreve, pro bodybuilder with a fantastic channel on YT with excellent form guides, often mentions lifting as around 200-300 per hour. And he should know.

    So total calorie burn would be RMR + what I burn on lifts/cardio/warmup calories? Current lifts 80-90 minutes 3x per week full body. Todays below for example after warmup.
  • 333mjdivvhw3.jpeg
    ahlg142e9ket.jpeg
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,350 Member
    edited February 7
    So total calorie burn would be RMR + what I burn on lifts/cardio/warmup calories? Current lifts 80-90 minutes 3x per week full body. Todays below for example after warmup.
    Not quite.

    The total calorie burn is literally the total burned. However, for MFP purposes and general tracking, say someone that's quite sedentary has estimated their TDEE at 2,400. Being awake is going to use slightly more calories than being asleep, but for simplicity sake let's call it even. They're burning 100 per hour on average, just sitting around watching Netflix say. If they do a workout for an hour instead which burns a total of 400, they shouldn't assume they can consume 2,800 and be even for the day. Why not? Because that 400 estimate already includes about 100, which is what the person would have been doing instead. So add 300.
  • That makes perfect sense. So in one hour if I burn 300 cal lifting I’m really only burning 200 based on if I burn 100 just basically sitting there in in theory. Based on those numbers you put above if someone had 2400 TDEe. Extremely helpful. Thank you.
  • elfin168
    elfin168 Posts: 202 Member
    edited February 12
    to be honest my guess would put you in the late teens early 20s body percent category. these scans are inaccurate. a dxa is better but still not 100% I think you would do well to see a pt.