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  1. #1
    Southerner in exile racedoc's Avatar
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    strength loss on cut

    Hi all, quick question. Just came off my first "bulk", was about 5 months in length and made more gains than I ever have before. Once BF hit high teens decided time to start cuting some. Trying to do it slowly (which actually is way harder for me than doing it quickly) but have ended up loosing about 2-3 pounds per week. I realize that's too quick and am working to increase my carbs a bit to slow it up.

    Biggest thing is I'm noticing a slight decrease in strength, for example I failed after 3 reps on a 5 rep set of squats this am, and barely knocked out the remaining 2 sets at 5% decrease in weight. I realize I'm at a caloric deficit, but wondered how much strength loss you all accept (if any) on a cut? It's driving me nuts to lose what I just spent 5 months on, although I gotta bring the BF back into the solar system. Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
    Registered User KenJenkinsII's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by racedoc View Post
    Hi all, quick question. Just came off my first "bulk", was about 5 months in length and made more gains than I ever have before. Once BF hit high teens decided time to start cuting some. Trying to do it slowly (which actually is way harder for me than doing it quickly) but have ended up loosing about 2-3 pounds per week. I realize that's too quick and am working to increase my carbs a bit to slow it up.

    Biggest thing is I'm noticing a slight decrease in strength, for example I failed after 3 reps on a 5 rep set of squats this am, and barely knocked out the remaining 2 sets at 5% decrease in weight. I realize I'm at a caloric deficit, but wondered how much strength loss you all accept (if any) on a cut? It's driving me nuts to lose what I just spent 5 months on, although I gotta bring the BF back into the solar system. Thanks in advance.
    I have been cutting myself and I actually made gains although small until the second month of my cut. Granted I was only losing one lb a week but I kept my protein at 1 g per lbm. Even now I am only 5-10 lbs less on my exercises and maintaining.
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  3. #3
    Hammer time... Smelly bull's Avatar
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    Since Thanskgiving I am down 20#. I "re-jiggered" my diet to get at least 275 grams of protein and 125 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I have not lost any strength, which surprises the hell out of me. In fact my dead lift is rocketing, I believe this is due to my belly slowly disappearing and I am getting better leverages and I am fueling my body correctly. I went into this cut with the goal of a six pack and minimal strength lose.

    I always remember one poster (Bo Flecks I believe) stating he did not lose any strength until a few weeks before his contest. I thought BS at the time, I was wrong.

    Bottom-line...I refuse to beleive i will lose strength on this cut..i will lose weight slowly and lift like a madman. i know eventually i will lose strength, but i will put up one helluva fight. And this has worked so far...
    Last edited by Smelly bull; 01-20-2013 at 10:24 AM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User KenJenkinsII's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    Since Thanskgiving I am down 20#. I "re-jiggered" my diet to get at least 275 grams of protein and 125 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I have not lost any strength, which surprises the hell out of me. In fact my dead lift is rocketing, I believe this is due to my belly slowly disappearing and I am getting better leverages and I am fueling my body correctly. I went into this cut with the goal of a six pack and minimal strength lose.

    I always remember one poster (Bo Flecks I believe) stating he did not lose any strength until a few weeks before his contest. I thought BS at the time, I was wrong.

    Bottom-line...I refuse to beleive i will lose strength on this cut..i will lose weight slowly and lift like a madman. i know eventually i will lose strength, but i will put up one helluva fight. And this has worked so far...
    How do those macros work out for you per lb? If I ate that my protein and carbs would make up 100% of my calories I can eat.
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    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by racedoc View Post
    .....how much strength loss you all accept (if any) on a cut?
    None, for as long as I can fight against it. Working hard not to lose any ground in the gym is your only hedge against your body burning your muscle tissue for fuel during a period of calorie deficit.

    This is a slippery slope that catches many a trainee during their first (or sometimes, every) cut. If you go into it automatically assuming you're going to get "weaker" because you're eating a bit less, then that's exactly what's going to happen. Eventually, of course, you will have to deal with the effects of many weeks of calorie deficit, but this shouldn't be until you're fairly deep into the process.

    If you're dropping 2-3 pounds a week, you're losing way too quickly; no wonder why your gym performance is already dropping off. Re-adjust your calorie intake to see not a bit more than a 1-pound per week reduction in your weight, and get your poundages/rep counts back up where they were.




    ETA:

    This is the correct 'cut' mindset to have/maintain:

    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    ...I refuse to beleive i will lose strength on this cut..i will lose weight slowly and lift like a madman. i know eventually i will lose strength, but i will put up one helluva fight. And this has worked so far...
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  6. #6
    Hammer time... Smelly bull's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KenJenkinsII View Post
    How do those macros work out for you per lb? If I ate that my protein and carbs would make up 100% of my calories I can eat.
    I am shooting for 3050 calories per day. 275 grams of zprotein= 1100 calories, 130 grams of fat=1170 calories.....the rest will be broken out between more protein and carbs. Yesterday I hit 338 grams of protein which is 1332 in calories, fats where around 125 or 1125 and the rest where carbs. I have found my body reacts betters with lower carbs, therefore lower carbs.
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  7. #7
    Registered User KenJenkinsII's Avatar
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    Right now I am maintaining a slight loss but I have fought it as long as I can. Sounds like I might need to adjust protein to 1 g per lb instead of 1 g per lbm. What do you guys think?
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  8. #8
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KenJenkinsII View Post
    Right now I am maintaining a slight loss but I have fought it as long as I can. Sounds like I might need to adjust protein to 1 g per lb instead of 1 g per lbm. What do you guys think?
    You can't really go wrong by consuming 1 gm/protein per pound of body weight; easy to figure accurately, and will be more than enough to provide sufficiency.
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  9. #9
    Southerner in exile racedoc's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, guys - I'll crank up the calories a notch and slow down the weight loss. Appreciate the help.
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    I am 4 months into a cut and still hitting PR's here and there. I keep my protien at about 1.25 grams per pound of actual BW, and fats around .5/.6grams per pound BW. I have also found that keeping my sodium higher than my potassium intake helps greatly with strength. cmoore suggested this and after a few weeks of trying it I was sold. I was deadlifting 405 at the start of my cut while weighing 181, now I can pull 435 at 164lbs.
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    Finally accused of juicin Corbi's Avatar
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    Down close to 30 lbs here and have a loss of strength as well. Right now depending on the lift i'm down 10-15 lbs and it sucks but will get it back up eventually. My weight loss was a little more dramatic though as 20 of those have been in the last month since hiatel hernia surgery, can't eat as much as I used to until the stomach stretches back some.
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    Originally Posted by EB68 View Post
    I am 4 months into a cut and still hitting PR's here and there. I keep my protien at about 1.25 grams per pound of actual BW, and fats around .5/.6grams per pound BW. I have also found that keeping my sodium higher than my potassium intake helps greatly with strength. cmoore suggested this and after a few weeks of trying it I was sold. I was deadlifting 405 at the start of my cut while weighing 181, now I can pull 435 at 164lbs.
    I have heard Dorian Yates say he never understood why guys cut their sodium when getting ready for a show. He actually increased his because he got stronger and he looked fuller because of it. So this makes sense.
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    When I trained fasted I found that using a prework supplement really helped maintain and continue to increase lifts. A lot of it is mental IMO.

    Currently us 'Craze'. Dunno if that helps you, but might be worth a try if you don't use a PWO currently.
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    Registered User KenJenkinsII's Avatar
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    I increased my protein over the weekend but maintained my deficit and was able to make gains again today. Hopefully that trend will continue. Thanks for the help guys and for starting this thread racedoc
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    I've cut every year (for summer) for the past 10 years or so and every time I've lost some strength, except for last year when I started taking BCAAs (BSN AMINOx, to be precise). Not a whole lot of strength, mind you, but definitely enough to get my attention. I would especially notice it in the legs. On leg press, I'd be used to doing four 410 lbs for 10-11 reps, but by the end of my cut I'd be down to barely eeking out 7 reps (or lowering the weight). I really do believe the BCAAs helped in that regard because I didn't change anything else (and I've always eaten plenty of high quality protein).
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    Originally Posted by racedoc View Post
    Hi all, quick question. Just came off my first "bulk", was about 5 months in length and made more gains than I ever have before. Once BF hit high teens decided time to start cuting some. Trying to do it slowly (which actually is way harder for me than doing it quickly) but have ended up loosing about 2-3 pounds per week. I realize that's too quick and am working to increase my carbs a bit to slow it up.

    Biggest thing is I'm noticing a slight decrease in strength, for example I failed after 3 reps on a 5 rep set of squats this am, and barely knocked out the remaining 2 sets at 5% decrease in weight. I realize I'm at a caloric deficit, but wondered how much strength loss you all accept (if any) on a cut? It's driving me nuts to lose what I just spent 5 months on, although I gotta bring the BF back into the solar system. Thanks in advance.
    It's impossible to not lose some strength with a cut. Once you're no longer in a caloric deficit some of that strength will come back. Changing your training routine may help as well
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    Originally Posted by azstrengthcoach View Post
    It's impossible to not lose some strength with a cut. Once you're no longer in a caloric deficit some of that strength will come back. Changing your training routine may help as well
    From what I understand strength and mass are two different things and while it is impossible to gain mass on a deficit it is not impossible to gain strength.
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    Originally Posted by KenJenkinsII View Post
    From what I understand strength and mass are two different things and while it is impossible to gain mass on a deficit it is not impossible to gain strength.
    You are correct with that statement but at a certain point of weight loss strength loss will come, not saying it has to be a huge drop but it usually shows first in press movements. I wouldnt worry to much about the 3 pounds per week if its because you are transitioning from bulk to cut the first week or two. Its going to be a lot of water weight along with less food intake. Many people say that as long as you are over the 14% mark you can manage to lose 2-3 pounds per week. The leaner you get the more crucial the slow and steady approach becomes. Like others have said once you get back to maintenance calories your strength should return with a few weeks.
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    Thanks for the input - yeah I think there's some water loss but I know I'm probably cutting the calories a bit too much. It's funny that it's actually harder to lose slowly than quickly, at least for me. Appreciate the help.
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    Originally Posted by KenJenkinsII View Post
    From what I understand strength and mass are two different things and while it is impossible to gain mass on a deficit it is not impossible to gain strength.

    For most untrained people yes. If you cut a lot of weight simple physics will kick in. There is a reason why there are weight classes. If you go from 250 to 185 you're probably going to be bale to push less mass around.
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    great topic, and I would like to relate some personal experience here: first time I seriously CUT ( as in training for a comp), I did everything wrong...

    did I GET cut? oh sure...but I lost so much muscle, and I was weak as all hell.

    Why? essentially I made the two worst mistakes you can make:

    1. I had a preposterously low calorie intake with very to little carbs


    2. I used less weight and much higher reps

    chalk it up to inexperience.....

    These days, when I diet down, my strength almost always goes up...two reasons:

    1. I do NOT do drastically low carbs

    2. I have a conscious effort on my part to INCREASE weight and intensity knowing that it will Force the body to have to adapt and maintain muscle while I lose weight.


    With all this in mind, as always, I make the distinction between DIETING AND CUTTING: Dieting is shedding obvious excess weight, whereas Cutting is getting stage ready which means dropping to subnormal body fat compositions ( single digits ).
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    one more word on Carbs: a bodybuilder's best friend, and your body's overall health, as well....

    when you are taking in proper carbs, you will NOT lose strength....

    but not just ANY carbs: they should be as healthy and complex as possible: fresh fruits, salads, steamed veggies, baked potatoes, and whole grain, flourless if possible, breads....

    saturated fats and excessive protein are the bad guys.....most people today take far more protein in than necessary....


    in order to have confidence that your macros for the ENTIRE DAY are sufficient for progress, it might mean doing what most BBer's consider a Cardinal Sin: having a CARB snack.....


    for example: let's do a hypothetical: let's say the actual amount of protein, in one instance, that you REALLY need, is 160 grms total for the day: if you have 4 40gm servings, then you will not go to hell if you have, say, a good ol' apple in between one of those meals.

    depending on how you space out your protein, it may NOT be necessary to have protein at every single feeding: "BUT I WILL GO INTO CATABOLISM"...yeah, right! not that easy for the body, and, as I said what really matters to your body is the OVERAL MACROS FOR THE DAY.

    and depending on HOW you spread them out, your body will ADAPT, because that is what our bodies do.....
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    Well, I am doing something wrong. This is my second time in life dieting. Sept 1st I weighed 318 pounds and could bench 405lbs.

    Today I weigh 281 and can barley push up 350lbs. Same with my squats and other exercises.

    I went Keto and keeping carbs under 30g a day. My macros are 200g of protein and 200g of fat/day. My total calories stay around 3100.

    My intensity is high, my drive is high and I can't wait to hit the gym 5 days a week.

    So I am baffled why such a massive loss of strength, but before this thread I was told it was normal.

    Edit: Yesterday I had 212 protein / 236 fat /28 carbs / 3104 cal
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    great topic, and I would like to relate some personal experience here: first time I seriously CUT ( as in training for a comp), I did everything wrong...

    did I GET cut? oh sure...but I lost so much muscle, and I was weak as all hell.

    Why? essentially I made the two worst mistakes you can make:

    1. I had a preposterously low calorie intake with very to little carbs


    2. I used less weight and much higher reps

    chalk it up to inexperience.....

    These days, when I diet down, my strength almost always goes up...two reasons:

    1. I do NOT do drastically low carbs

    2. I have a conscious effort on my part to INCREASE weight and intensity knowing that it will Force the body to have to adapt and maintain muscle while I lose weight.


    With all this in mind, as always, I make the distinction between DIETING AND CUTTING: Dieting is shedding obvious excess weight, whereas Cutting is getting stage ready which means dropping to subnormal body fat compositions ( single digits ).
    Inexperience? Maybe "commonly accepted belief"

    Old school way of thinking, The Low Carbohydrate Diet- as sure as death and taxes, this is the diet which all bodybuilders feel they must follow to achieve definition. I was a victim myself.
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    great topic, and I would like to relate some personal experience here: first time I seriously CUT ( as in training for a comp), I did everything wrong...

    did I GET cut? oh sure...but I lost so much muscle, and I was weak as all hell.

    Why? essentially I made the two worst mistakes you can make:

    1. I had a preposterously low calorie intake with very to little carbs


    2. I used less weight and much higher reps

    chalk it up to inexperience.....

    These days, when I diet down, my strength almost always goes up...two reasons:

    1. I do NOT do drastically low carbs

    2. I have a conscious effort on my part to INCREASE weight and intensity knowing that it will Force the body to have to adapt and maintain muscle while I lose weight.


    With all this in mind, as always, I make the distinction between DIETING AND CUTTING: Dieting is shedding obvious excess weight, whereas Cutting is getting stage ready which means dropping to subnormal body fat compositions ( single digits ).
    This was interesting because I am trying like hell to get my protein every day and make sure I get 1 g per lb to make sure I don't lose any strength. I would like to know what you guys consider extremely low carbs because carbs right now are making up the rest of my macros after I get my fat and protein in. But the one thing I am doing similar to you is I use my journal and try to make a small gain every single week on every exercise. Right now I am 216 and my macros are broke down like this on average 180-210 G protein, 100-130 g carbs, and 75-100 g fats.
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    I didn't read the whole thread. Basically the strength loss normally is due to lower cals. This can be offset by taking in your carbs a few hours before you train. Coffee is my go to drink also while training. I've found creatine just before training is a huuuuge benefit. You can lower volume while dieting down. You won't be adding any muscle so you just concentrate on maintaining muscle and that just doesn't take a ton of volume, just intensity.
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    I tell you. After reading this thread and researching related threads, I am more confused then ever. Add that to the Carb-Re-feeding thread and it really gets confusing.

    The strange thing is, it seems like everyone has to pay the price of multiple dieting experiments to finally find out what works.
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    Originally Posted by azstrengthcoach View Post
    For most untrained people yes. If you cut a lot of weight simple physics will kick in. There is a reason why there are weight classes. If you go from 250 to 185 you're probably going to be bale to push less mass around.
    It depends on your definition of strong... if it's say, 500 pound deadlift, OP could starve himself and still be able to pull that much...

    If OP had a 600 pound deadlift, he will definitely lose strength on a cut.
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    Originally Posted by hamworld05 View Post
    It depends on your definition of strong... if it's say, 500 pound deadlift, OP could starve himself and still be able to pull that much...

    If OP had a 600 pound deadlift, he will definitely lose strength on a cut.

    oh, that hundred pounds sure makes a difference.....not.......


    why are you here???????????????????
    Lift as MUCH as you can, for as MANY reps as you can,
    while in complete control of the exercise.
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    great topic, and I would like to relate some personal experience here: first time I seriously CUT ( as in training for a comp), I did everything wrong...

    did I GET cut? oh sure...but I lost so much muscle, and I was weak as all hell.

    Why? essentially I made the two worst mistakes you can make:

    1. I had a preposterously low calorie intake with very to little carbs


    2. I used less weight and much higher reps

    chalk it up to inexperience.....

    These days, when I diet down, my strength almost always goes up...two reasons:

    1. I do NOT do drastically low carbs

    2. I have a conscious effort on my part to INCREASE weight and intensity knowing that it will Force the body to have to adapt and maintain muscle while I lose weight.


    With all this in mind, as always, I make the distinction between DIETING AND CUTTING: Dieting is shedding obvious excess weight, whereas Cutting is getting stage ready which means dropping to subnormal body fat compositions ( single digits ).
    Thanks John, that was a great post as always! Yes, this week I upped my carbs from the ~50/day I was shooting for significantly, still managed a slighty weight loss, and just hit a PR on bench today. I was definately using the "carbs are bad" mindset even though I knew better - I appreciate the info and the kick in the backside.

    FYI: op WISHES he had a 600 pound deadlift
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