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Thread: Cutting without counting calories

  1. #1

    Default Cutting without counting calories

    So I plan to go on a cut without counting calories (never did before on the bulk either) since my jeans don't fit now......Anyways I plan to stay high on protein, and go low on carbs. Light carbs in the morning, and carbs pre and post work, rest of the meals no carb. Going to continue a 3x a week HST problem with mainly compounds, donig only 10s and 5s. 1x HIIT a week and 1x swimming a week.

    My questions:
    Would the diet approach be okay for my cut to minimize muscle loss?
    If my 5RM stays the same, or only drops a bit, does that mean I'm on the right track?

    I remember having more questions, but forgot it right now. Definitely will get back to it again.

    Thanks in advance for the advice guys.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    You can do that, however keep in mind that if something goes wrong such as you lose too much strength, muscle, etc, you won't know why if you are not counting calories. However, as long as you know beforehand how many calories you will be consuming each day, you can avoid all that work. The easiest way, if you do not want to count calories on a daily basis, is to make up a diet plan. A plan which you do know the calories, macronutrients, etc. Then stick to that diet plan. If boredom with food is a problem, then make two-five different diet plans with different foods but with relatively the same amount of macros and calories.

    If your 5 RM stays about the same, then you most likely have maintained most of your muscle mass. However, keep in mind that you will temporarily lose some strength just from cutting calories back. Usually you regain this strength after a few weeks of lifting once you've gotten calories back at maintenance. The best tools we have to measure whether you've maintained most of your muscle is a combination of strength testing and using calipers to check skinfolds on a regular basis.
    PRs:

    Squat - 485 lbs
    Bench - 315 lbs
    Deadlift - 635 lbs
    Total - 1435 lbs
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  3. #3

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    Thank you for the detailed responses totz. Another quick question I have.

    Say I was able to bench 100 for 3x5

    But during the cut, I'm only able to do 100 for 5 reps the first set and 3 reps for set 2 and 3

    Does that mean that I maintained the strength but only lost stamina or muscle endurance?
    Or does it mean I lost muscle mass even tho I can still hit 100 1x5 instead of 3x5
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  4. #4
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    Jan 2005
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    Yeah only worry about the first set for judging strength maintenance. You will have less endurance on a cut. The subsequent sets aren't really as important. If you want to maintain the volume, you can cluster the reps in the subsequent sets.
    PRs:

    Squat - 485 lbs
    Bench - 315 lbs
    Deadlift - 635 lbs
    Total - 1435 lbs
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  5. #5

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    Should I only use the big 3 lift to judge my strength maintenance? (Bench, Squat, Deadlift) or should I use all the exercise I used in my last bulking cycle? I normally do the Squat/Deadlift then Bench in my workout routine, and I feel like the exercises afterwards don't really improve as much because I used all my energy trying to move up on weight in the Big 3.

    Also, is there a way to clean bulk or something? I feel like everytime I bulk, I end up with a big ass gut. Then I end up cutting and the cycle repeats. I never get any bigger, without having a bigger belly. It's fustrating because I feel like I'm in a endless loop, either stay skinny and "lean" or bulk with a stomach. I want to be big with a six pack. Please advise.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Regarding the calorie counting I've done what Tot suggested when on a very strict diet called Rapid Fat Loss by Lyle McDonald. I made up several dishes and 1 time through counted the calories and protein and adjusted the serving size so each serving had the protein and calories I wanted, so I could eat 2-3 dishes a day and meet my goals. Big pot of chili, large meatloaf, ham and eggs scramble type dishes. That way you benefit from strict macros without daily math.

    You can use that method for bulking too, since the excess gut is likely due to getting too many calories along the way. Some use carb cycling to good effect, where your carbs are higher on a lifting day and you eat at a caloric surplus, and on rest days you eat fewer calories and a slight deficit. There's still a weekly calorie surplus, but the hope is that the calories are better used around the workouts and partitioning is better compared to a flat daily surplus bulk. IF Calculator is a calculator I like to use for working out macros for that.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    There is no way to really "clean bulk" mainly because there is no real thing as "eating clean" or anything. So... you can't really effect fat gain by what you eat. However, you can minimize fat gain by timing your eating, and things such as carb cycling as breunor mentioned. It's all about when you get your calories. Obviously this is assuming enough protein.

    Strength maintenance - yes, focus on strength maintenance in your major compounds, whatever ones you happen to be using.
    PRs:

    Squat - 485 lbs
    Bench - 315 lbs
    Deadlift - 635 lbs
    Total - 1435 lbs
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  8. #8

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    Hey Breunor, that IF Calculator is amazing. I just really start playing around with it today and I find it really helpful. I plan to do a body recomp very soon, -20% / +20%.

    Does anybody have a really good site I can reference to for calculating body fat? I have a pair of calipers, but it's always around 12mm. I feel like I'm not doing it correctly, because at 12mm the chart says I'm roughly only 13-14% body fat. I feel like im at 20%...
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  9. #9

    Default IF Calculator

    Hey Breunor, that IF Calculator is amazing. I just really start playing around with it today and I find it really helpful. I plan to do a body recomp doing the IF diet very soon, -20% / +20%.

    Does anybody have a really good site I can reference to for calculating body fat? I have a pair of calipers, but it's always around 12mm. I feel like I'm not doing it correctly, because at 12mm the chart says I'm roughly only 13-14% body fat. I feel like im at 20%...
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    5

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    Body Fat Calculator 6 formulas to calculate body fat percentage is what I've used. Getting an accurate reading can be tough if you're over 15%, especially on the abdominal reading. You really have to dig your fingers in deep, grab hard, and pull the fat layer out with the skin so the calipers can get around it. It shouldn't feel comfortable when you do it, from my experience.
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