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Carbs and fat, will cutting cause muscle loss?

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magpie525
magpie525 Posts: 13 Member
I was hoping for some opinions on watching macros when I'm trying to reduce body fat but maintain muscle. I am debating between a carb or fat decrease to help with fat loss; I've been aiming for 40/30/30 macros and sometimes go under on carbs but over on fats. I tend to be in the 100-120g/day range for carbs and most of it is from dairy, vegetables (non-starchy) or the flour in my protein bars (homemade and it's coconut flour or oatmeal). Fat mostly comes from nut butters, cheeses, eggs, and meat.
I've been consciously eating more protein since a rotator cuff injury in January, and had increased my caloric intake to focus on healing. Unfortunately that combined with less intense workouts (modifications/cutting out most of the intense part of my routine on the advice of doctor) has caused a steady-state in the scale and a shrinking chest (I had to cut out anything in pushup position or over the head and I lost 3 inches of my bustline in a month!).
I make most of my own meals and have had a lot more fat in my diet than before (I'm eating meat and nut butters every day when it used to be every week or two). My waist has gotten a bit smaller and I think some of it is fat loss, but I think there's also some muscle loss in there (I used to do lots of planks and corework that I've had to modify or discontinue).
Did anyone have advice/good resources to check out? I've spent time on Nerd Fitness and reading up on paleo, but pre-shoulder injury I ate a near vegetarian diet and I hope to return to that post-recovery.

Replies

  • karrielynn80
    karrielynn80 Posts: 395 Member
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    I am "officially" ending my current cut next wed (4/3) - although i'll probably have a maint wk & then jump back into it.

    My goals were set @ 35c/20f/45p. I need carbs for lifting or I get light headed so I've never stressed if I went over them, as long as they were wise choices. I've also gone over my fat g's on occassion, but usually keep them below 30 still.

    I started out @ 21.4% bf (per calipers @ the end of Feb) to now 15.81 (as of yesterday)... I don't feel as tho i've had any muscle loss, as i'm still gaining weigh / reps in the gym, but it probably has halted me a bit, as i'm eating at a def., but that's to be expected, i think. As long as ur maintaing or slowly growing in the weight /rep dept, you are good (IMO).
  • magpie525
    magpie525 Posts: 13 Member
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    Nice; I am much higher in bf (my goal is to get down near your starting level). Was there a particular theory that put you at 35c/20f/45p or was it more experimental?
  • karrielynn80
    karrielynn80 Posts: 395 Member
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    Nice; I am much higher in bf (my goal is to get down near your starting level). Was there a particular theory that put you at 35c/20f/45p or was it more experimental?

    Kind of both. I'd heard 1 - 1.5g per lbm & also knew I needed MOSTLY protein b/c i lift (for recover as well as building). And I knew I was "good" with my body, i just wanted that layer of fat gone - so i did low fat to target that aspect. i started @ 30/20/40 - a friend of mine from high school recommended that I aim for about 200g's which = out to approx. 45%, TBH I usually hit somewhere b/t 40-45% (180-200g) of protein. It's worked really well for me & i've never needed to take anything extra for soreness so i think i'm getting plenty of protein.

    I'm constantly "tweaking" tho - as in, everyday i'm trying to eat more protein vs. shakes.
    Or trying to get more water in. or something a lil btr than the day before.
    low to mid 20s is a good goal. and whatever method you use to measure, I'd recommend not doing it daily (too many variables can effect day to day change) as well as just finding a method that tracks well. For example, i started off with a digital scale - which tracked my decrease accurately - but put me about 5% points above what my calipers put me at. And when i got lower in bf%, it started to be less accurate, so i switched to mainly caliper method...
  • magpie525
    magpie525 Posts: 13 Member
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    I've been using multiple methods (calipers on self, scale, tape measurements, and assesment at my gym with calipers); the electric scale seems to be the highest and most variable. I've started at a lifting gym (a dozen squat racks take up nearly a quarter of the lifting/cardio area) and trying out a personal trainer to help me work around a shoulder injury (rotator cuff), but I definitely want to get back into lifting. I was aiming for 0.8-1g/lb, but I may give the higher % a try to see if it helps with recovery
  • amiaow
    amiaow Posts: 35 Member
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    Cutting is generally a combination of fat loss and muscle loss. You can minimise the muscle loss by eating enough protein and lifting to stimulate muscle growth. You've mentioned that you can't do much upper body work, but can you still do back/core/lower body? That would assist for certain. I personally calculate my own macros on 0.8g/lb protein, 0.45g/lb fat and fill the rest with carbs.
  • karrielynn80
    karrielynn80 Posts: 395 Member
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    Cutting is generally a combination of fat loss and muscle loss. You can minimise the muscle loss by eating enough protein and lifting to stimulate muscle growth. You've mentioned that you can't do much upper body work, but can you still do back/core/lower body? That would assist for certain. I personally calculate my own macros on 0.8g/lb protein, 0.45g/lb fat and fill the rest with carbs.

    I measure my muscle growth per my lifting gains. While I have been cutting (since Jan) I have been able to increase weigh on almost ALL of my lifts (with the exception of a few that I don't do often) - but not by leaps and bounds by any means. As long as I am able to do so, I consider myself "on par" & I think it has a LOT to do with calorie intake. You can get tons of protein but if you are not getting the calories you need your body will be weak.

    I've seen people cut at much lower carb levels & a lil higher as well. From what I can tell, the difference is "thickness" - i.e. someone w/ a lower carb intake can often see the 3 row of abs sooner and more defined than someone w/ a higher amt of carbs - more like what I deem an "athletes" stomach vs a lean "competetors" stomach. I personally would rather have the thicker look, in addition, i can do a short carb "detox" from time to time to get a much leaner look if i feel lead...