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  1. #1
    1.62m of fawking awesome circusmidget's Avatar
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    Muscle : Fat loss ratio

    It's clear that just as we gain fat in the process of bulking, we're bound to lose some muscle in our attempt to lose fat. I expect that the muscle : fat loss ratio will depend on a number of things, including genetics and current body composition. What I'm curious to know is, what are the best things we can do to improve the muscle : fat loss ratio when cutting, regardless of our current body composition and genetics? There must be some common ground, even if there's a lot of individual variation.
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  2. #2
    Registered User drewott's Avatar
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    From what I know, the keys to minimizing muscle loss on a cut are to keep protein intake high, aim to lose 1-2 lbs. per week and lift heavy in the gym.

    I have lost 76 pounds now in 10 months and my bench has gone from ~95lbs. to 225 lbs., Overhead from 45 lbs. to 155 lbs. etc. etc. Newbie gains perhaps, but strength gains on a cut nonetheless.

    Good luck,

    -Drew
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  3. #3
    Registered User bking10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drewott View Post
    From what I know, the keys to minimizing muscle loss on a cut are to keep protein intake high, aim to lose 1-2 lbs. per week and lift heavy in the gym.

    I have lost 76 pounds now in 10 months and my bench has gone from ~95lbs. to 225 lbs., Overhead from 45 lbs. to 155 lbs. etc. etc. Newbie gains perhaps, but strength gains on a cut nonetheless.

    Good luck,

    -Drew
    he pretty much covers it here.

    - keep protein intake high (1-1.5x lean mass)
    - don't have to large of a deficit (depending on bf%). higher it is the larger deficit you can have
    - lift weights. try and keep them heavy to preserve muscle. don't allow yourself to go down in the weights u use
    -don't over do cardio (more is not necessarily better)

    some people think a keto diet is more muscle sparing and adding in some low intensity cardio (walking) can help too. thats just personal preference
    SC: BKing1024
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  4. #4
    Registered User cwc1979's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bking10 View Post
    he pretty much covers it here.

    - keep protein intake high (1-1.5x lean mass)
    - don't have to large of a deficit (depending on bf%). higher it is the larger deficit you can have
    - lift weights. try and keep them heavy to preserve muscle. don't allow yourself to go down in the weights u use
    -don't over do cardio (more is not necessarily better)

    some people think a keto diet is more muscle sparing and adding in some low intensity cardio (walking) can help too. thats just personal preference
    "- keep protein intake high (1-1.5x lean mass)
    - don't have to large of a deficit (depending on bf%). higher it is the larger deficit you can have
    - lift weights. try and keep them heavy to preserve muscle. don't allow yourself to go down in the weights u use
    -don't over do cardio (more is not necessarily better)"

    Couldn't have said it better myself.
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  5. #5
    Durty Bulker LightCrow's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by circusmidget View Post
    It's clear that just as we gain fat in the process of bulking, we're bound to lose some muscle in our attempt to lose fat. I expect that the muscle : fat loss ratio will depend on a number of things, including genetics and current body composition. What I'm curious to know is, what are the best things we can do to improve the muscle : fat loss ratio when cutting, regardless of our current body composition and genetics? There must be some common ground, even if there's a lot of individual variation.
    There's no reason you should lose any muscle on a diet if you don't diet stupidly.
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  6. #6
    1.62m of fawking awesome circusmidget's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your responses, much appreciated :-)

    I'm a little confused with the responses given my one experience with cutting.

    I started off underweight, but at a relatively high bf% considering my weight (about ~16.5% based off bioelectrical impedance test and ~17% by calipers), so my plan was to bulk for a 15 week period, then have 1 week at maintenance followed by a 5 week cut, rinse and repeat. By doing this I hoped to, over the course of each 'cycle', gain muscle, while keeping my bf% the same or, preferably, lower.

    When I did my first cut, quite recently, I dropped back to--approximately--the weight I started at, but my body fat percentage only dropped by about 0.9% (according to bioelectrical impedance test). This was only an average of about 0.75lbs weight loss per week, so that's clearly not excessive weight loss. What this meant was that for every 0.586lbs of fat I had lost, I had lost 1lb of muscle! Obviously not good, and thus why I created this thread, as I considered that ratio to be unacceptable.

    A little info regarding my cut:

    1) Lifted 'heavy' (lol, ok, not really, but as heavy as I was capable) in the evenings
    2) 1g+ of protein per pound of body weight per day
    3) Small amount of cardio before breakfast 5 days per week
    4) One "cheat day" per week

    I did note the following during the cut:

    1) A clear and swift loss of strength.
    2) I was ravenous. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, as I've never been on a diet before in my life.

    The only thing I can really put it down to is perhaps meal timing, or cardio before breakfast, which I previously thought to be broscience.
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  7. #7
    the BEAST! RoWdY_RuFf_BoY's Avatar
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    You can expect a little strength loss during a cut but strength loss during a cut generally means you are losing muscle. And 'clear and swift' loss in strength as you put it, indicates to mean that you were losing muscle.
    Current: 15% BF

    Goal: 10 - 12% bodyfat.

    I rep back: <3
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  8. #8
    Registered User KajolThappar's Avatar
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    In order to lose weight, your body must burn more calories than it takes in, but keep in mind that your body needs calories for energy and when you exercise; your body needs even more calories. Before I talk about energy, the first thing you must understand is that losing weight and losing fat is not the same thing. Just because you lose weight, does not mean you lose fat, and just because you lose fat, does not mean you lose weight. When people talk about losing weight, what the really want to do is lose the excess fat on their body and obtain an attractive figure.

    When you eat, the body uses most of the calories for energy. If you eat more calories than the body uses, it will get stored as fat. If you do not consume enough calories per day you will lose weight, but you will also lose energy. When you do not consume enough energy (calories) for your body, it will start using up your energy stores to make up for the energy deficiency. Unfortunately, the energy stores used is not your stored fat, but instead it’s protein and carbohydrates (carbs) that will supply most of the energy (stored fat makes up a very small percentage). Your body will take the protein and carbohydrates from your muscle cells; causing your muscle mass to reduce (say goodby to that toned attractive look) which forces your metabolism to decrease (a low metabolism = slow or no fat burning). When this happens your body requires less energy to maintain its new lower body weight (remember the body weight is lower because you loss muscle), which is why your body conserves energy by slowing down the metabolism. In other words, the body has adapted to the new lower energy (calorie) intake which means that you will no longer continue to lose weight.
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  9. #9
    Durty Bulker LightCrow's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by circusmidget View Post
    Thanks for all your responses, much appreciated :-)

    I'm a little confused with the responses given my one experience with cutting.

    I started off underweight, but at a relatively high bf% considering my weight (about ~16.5% based off bioelectrical impedance test and ~17% by calipers), so my plan was to bulk for a 15 week period, then have 1 week at maintenance followed by a 5 week cut, rinse and repeat. By doing this I hoped to, over the course of each 'cycle', gain muscle, while keeping my bf% the same or, preferably, lower.

    When I did my first cut, quite recently, I dropped back to--approximately--the weight I started at, but my body fat percentage only dropped by about 0.9% (according to bioelectrical impedance test). This was only an average of about 0.75lbs weight loss per week, so that's clearly not excessive weight loss. What this meant was that for every 0.586lbs of fat I had lost, I had lost 1lb of muscle! Obviously not good, and thus why I created this thread, as I considered that ratio to be unacceptable.

    A little info regarding my cut:

    1) Lifted 'heavy' (lol, ok, not really, but as heavy as I was capable) in the evenings
    2) 1g+ of protein per pound of body weight per day
    3) Small amount of cardio before breakfast 5 days per week
    4) One "cheat day" per week

    I did note the following during the cut:

    1) A clear and swift loss of strength.
    2) I was ravenous. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, as I've never been on a diet before in my life.

    The only thing I can really put it down to is perhaps meal timing, or cardio before breakfast, which I previously thought to be broscience.
    Sounds like you didn't have the mindset to keep the intensity in the gym, you did too much cardio too often and you dropped calories too drastically.
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  10. #10
    1.62m of fawking awesome circusmidget's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LightCrow View Post
    Sounds like you didn't have the mindset to keep the intensity in the gym, you did too much cardio too often and you dropped calories too drastically.
    Interesting. I don't see how a combined total deficit (cardio + below maintenance eating) of ~375kcal per day is too drastic. As for intensity, I worked harder in the gym than I had before.
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  11. #11
    Doc Holliday msm00b's Avatar
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    You don't have to lose muscle to lose fat. You don't have to gain fat to put on muscle. It's just a lot harder to accomplish bulking/cutting cleanly, requiring tighter regulation of your diet with a hardcore workout program.

    Keep the protein intake high. Push your body to it's limits. Supply your body and it's damaged muscles with the building blocks it needs to repair itself and let your fat and leftover dietary intake fuel your metabolism.
    Lifts:
    Bench: 305lb
    Deadlift: 415lb
    Dip: bodyweight + 230lb
    Pull-up: bodyweight x2

    "There's a lot of 5'11 200-225 lbs guys with 10-12% body fat on the Internet. In reality, their "10-12%" body fat is more like 15% body fat or more. Everyone thinks they're on their way to single digit body fat as soon as they see a blurry four-pack in the right lighting. Your final body weight at 5-6% will be a lot less than what you think."

    -Martin Berkhan

    "Keto is stupid."

    -Me
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  12. #12
    Registered User XMetaLHeadX's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    You don't have to lose muscle to lose fat. You don't have to gain fat to put on muscle. It's just a lot harder to accomplish bulking/cutting cleanly, requiring tighter regulation of your diet with a hardcore workout program.

    Keep the protein intake high. Push your body to it's limits. Supply your body and it's damaged muscles with the building blocks it needs to repair itself and let your fat and leftover dietary intake fuel your metabolism.
    I know this is an old thread, but hell what you said probably made more sense than anything else said here. I have seen guys in the gym who were my and your height, and who were truly 5-6% BF and looked ripped and awesome. Yet they only weighed 140-150 lbs. When I spoke to them, they did nothing special but keep their diet straight, and they were not a big believer in bulking and cutting. It just made things more complicated.
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