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When and How to do a Cutting Phase?

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  • When and How to do a Cutting Phase?

    I often hear people who are into bodybuilding and strength training talk about a "cutting phase," where they lower their calories and shed some pounds so their bodyfat % drops and they gain muscle definition. I've done some google searching, I can find some details on how to do this, but not much on when you should.

    About me
    I've been doing Stronglifts for about a year. I've been MOSTLY good with consistency, but have fallen behind by a few weeks. Took a few weeks off, cut back when I was training for a 10-mile road race, etc. My gains are coming more slowly and I'm just about to transition to the 1x5 phase. I would call myself "semi-primal;" most meals are meat and veg, most snacks are on the "safe list," but I do veer off occasionally with a bit of brown rice and whole grain carbs (also beer).

    I'm not really huge, not really bulky muscular, not really overweight. I'm 6' tall, and at last measure 190 lbs and 16.4% body fat. I would like to drop that BF to 15% or lower.

    I get the impression that you don't use Stronglifts or similar programs when cutting (seems to be more a split-body phase), but I'm not really clear on it. I plan to keep going with SL until I max out on the 1x5 (probably by/before the end of the year). Doing Madcow is probably my next phase for strength training.

    Any lifters here have advice on whether and how to cut, if a program change is in order when I do a cut, or if I should just keep lifting as I am and go to Madcow? Even a good link with a well-organized, in-depth explanation would be helpful.

    Current lifts
    Squat 345
    Deadlift 345
    Bench Press 190
    Overhead Press 120
    Row 190

  • #2
    Why do you want to cut? Are you doing a show?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Iron Will View Post
      Why do you want to cut? Are you doing a show?
      Nah, just to look better naked, really. Thing is, I don't know enough about it to even know if that's a good idea.

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      • #4
        You're looking to cut 1 and a half body fat percentage points. You don't need a cutting phase.
        The Champagne of Beards

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        • #5
          Okay, cool. Does anybody have anything more in-depth to say about it. You're probably right that I don't need to do it, but how do you decide when to do it? Why and how?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by prufock View Post
            Nah, just to look better naked, really. Thing is, I don't know enough about it to even know if that's a good idea.
            Well from your lifts at 6' and 190 you definitely have the muscle mass to be leaner than 16% so that kind of surprises me. I wouldn't recommend a cut unless you were serious about going on stage but google carb cycling. That's something that might work well for you.

            Either that or go 100% paleo and drop your starches for 4 weeks. I dropped to 7% when I did that. Mind you I started at about 12% but still. Either way those two suggestions should work. Just make sure you're getting enough fat in your diet. 15 grams of Omega 3 a day will help with that.

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            • #7
              I've had to lose weight for athletic competitions before, and I had success with IFing and VLC. Sometimes I've had to resort to pretty severe calorie restriction as well. And that's before intentionally dehydrating myself. What else do you want to know?
              The Champagne of Beards

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              • #8
                As a true venerable master I know how to do it, but I won’t tell you! Taking my virtual staff and gives you two hard beatings on your poor developed back…

                "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                - Schopenhauer

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                • #9
                  I'm having some pretty good success doing a clean leangains protocol, -30% below maintenance on rest days, -10 on training days.? I am stalling though, on squats and upper body, dead lifts are still ok.

                  I like the fact that I can eat a LOT while still being under maintenance on training days. I'm at 13% bf or so

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                  • #10
                    To cut body fat you don't need to do anything different with a weight workout, it's all down to diet. Keep training hard and brief to preserve muscle. Drop a few calories below maintenance level and bingo !

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gorbag View Post
                      As a true venerable master I know how to do it, but I won’t tell you! Taking my virtual staff and gives you two hard beatings on your poor developed back…

                      Now that guy is cut.

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                      • #12
                        What's the best guide/ site / article to determine your baseline calorie ?


                        From London England UK

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ryancarter1986 View Post
                          What's the best guide/ site / article to determine your baseline calorie ?


                          From London England UK
                          These are only rough guides as there are too many variables that can affect the exact amount:

                          Calorie Maintenance Calculator - Daily Calorie Requirements

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