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  1. #1
    Registered User thetruth1985's Avatar
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    How much muscle will I lose going from 20% to 10% BF?

    I've been slowly cutting and based on the calculators I've used, I'm somewhere between 19 and 21 percent body fat. I've recently bought some size 32 pants and it feels good to be back at this size after over 10 years of buying 36+. My goal is to cut to 10ish percent and maintain. I want to get my waist back down to when it was a 28 in high school. In a perfect world, i would only need to lose about 19 more pounds of fat to get there. Unfortunately, i know i will also lose muscle too. My question is what is the best way to make this last cut and maintain most if not all of the muscle I've gained? I'm 5 foot 7 and 212 pounds. Pic in body space.
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Ok, well bad news first, you're nowhere near 20% bodyfat, you're closer to 30% than you are to 20. Good news is yes, you have a lot a muscle, but you're not going to be anywhere near 10% at 190 lbs.

    The only thing you can do is continue to lift, keeping intensity up while keeping your protein fairly high and cutting no more than about 1% of your bodyweight per week.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.

    Don't be upset with the results you didn't get from the work you did not do.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Your 212 pounds with a 32" waist? Impressive. Also that does not seem to match your body fat numbers.
    Novice lifter who sticks to the basics 3x per week but likes to theorize about improvements while recovering.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thetruth1985 View Post
    I've recently bought some size 32 pants and it feels good to be back at this size after over 10 years of buying 36+. …I'm 5 foot 7 and 212 pounds.
    5-7 @ 212 lbs isn’t a 32 inch waist unless you’re tightening it underneath your belly. Regardless, keep working towards your goals while keeping in mind you’re going to end up losing quite a bit of mass if you’re looking to get down to a true 10%.
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  5. #5
    Registered User thetruth1985's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response and sorry, i should have been more clear about the numbers. My pants size is 32. That's what I'm buying in jeans, khakis, and 5.11 tactical pants. The measurement around my belly button is actually 35 inches but i usually don't wear my pants around my belly lol. My neck is 17 inches. Calves are 18. I came up with the BF using the navy body fat calculator, a handheld scanner, and a bod pod measurement and just took the average of all 3. I know all of them have a margin of error which is why I'd rather go by clothes size instead.

    I assume that by losing another 20 pounds , I should be able to buy size 30 jeans. That would put my weight at 192. I'll reassess my BF at that point but my main issue is being able to cut down to that weight without sacrificing any muscle. I was an athlete in high school but for the past 6 plus years, I've been between 230 and 245 pounds. This is the first time I've ever done an organized cut in my life. I uploaded a pic from 2014 when i was going through my divorce and was barely eating. I was 194 at the time and pants size was 34.
    Last edited by thetruth1985; 01-07-2022 at 10:13 PM.
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  6. #6
    Retired at 42 wave_length's Avatar
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    Going to 10%, even 8%, you shouldn’t be losing any muscle mass. You can even gain muscle mass in the process.
    How to lose fat for Noobs: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=129247741
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  7. #7
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thetruth1985 View Post
    Thanks for the response and sorry, i should have been more clear about the numbers. My pants size is 32. That's what I'm buying in jeans, khakis, and 5.11 tactical pants. The measurement around my belly button is actually 35 inches but i usually don't wear my pants around my belly lol. My neck is 17 inches. Calves are 18. I came up with the BF using the navy body fat calculator, a handheld scanner, and a bod pod measurement and just took the average of all 3. I know all of them have a margin of error which is why I'd rather go by clothes size instead.

    I assume that by losing another 20 pounds , I should be able to buy size 30 jeans. That would put my weight at 192. I'll reassess my BF at that point but my main issue is being able to cut down to that weight without sacrificing any muscle. I was an athlete in high school but for the past 6 plus years, I've been between 230 and 245 pounds. This is the first time I've ever done an organized cut in my life. I uploaded a pic from 2014 when i was going through my divorce and was barely eating. I was 194 at the time and pants size was 34.
    If you’re only looking to get down to 192 you’ll be able to keep a lot of muscle if you do the cut right. That’s a generous weight for anyone your height, and you already have a good amount of muscle.

    You’re kind of confusing the issue by talking about 10% bf (which you won’t be at) and jeans size (which is irrelevant if you’re doing the strategic below-belly thing).
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  8. #8
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    Depends how hard to work and how on point diet is. I went from 300 lbs to ~10% @215 and gained a lot of muscle in the process. I have no desire to go sub 10% at this point in my lifting but I really don't notice much strength drop off at 10-12% which leads me to believe I retain most of the muscle. I usually walk around at around 15% give or take. Whatever my avi is. That's my usual bf
    I'm 31 not 51

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  9. #9
    Registered User RapidFail's Avatar
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    It's amazing how.much body types differ - I'm.6 inches taller than OP, 46lb lighter and wear the same size jeans (although probably longer leg, I imagine).
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    28 inch waist you need to be in the 150s at that height
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    Only about 10 lbs
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    I have a 35" waist, but I need a belt to wear 34" pants. Unless I grabbed the wrong pair. Maybe I'm thinner below where I measured.
    Novice lifter who sticks to the basics 3x per week but likes to theorize about improvements while recovering.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    You have a lot of muscle so it’s hard to say. Just start dieting and training and you’ll get what you get
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    You have a lot of muscle so it’s hard to say. Just start dieting and training and you’ll get what you get
    Pretty much this^^^
    Hard to say this far out. I will say, to get close to 10%, you're going to end up ~170

    Don't let that scare you. I know, I know....lot's of guys are scared to lose the mass. Truth is, you'll look far bigger/more muscular if you lose about 30-40 lbs

    Just keep lifting heavy, set your cals so you are losing about 1 lb per week, and keep proteins high.

    EDIT: I'll add, you'd look like a beast at 175/10% though
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    I have a 35" waist, but I need a belt to wear 34" pants. Unless I grabbed the wrong pair. Maybe I'm thinner below where I measured.
    My waist measures just over 31 inches, but 32 inch pants fit me pretty cosy - I've got proportionately large hips so I've always needed bigger sizes.
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  16. #16
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post
    Pretty much this^^^
    Hard to say this far out. I will say, to get close to 10%, you're going to end up ~170

    Don't let that scare you. I know, I know....lot's of guys are scared to lose the mass. Truth is, you'll look far bigger/more muscular if you lose about 30-40 lbs

    Just keep lifting heavy, set your cals so you are losing about 1 lb per week, and keep proteins high.

    EDIT: I'll add, you'd look like a beast at 175/10% though
    Only with his shirt off. A little fat is not a problem with his shirt on, especially with extra muscle. Mostly his shirt is on 90% of the time.

    OP, why do you want to get to 10%?
    When you get to 13%, you should ask some hot women if you'd look better with more defined abs even if it meant noticeably smaller arms.





    ...


    I agree though, just start training and slowly dieting and look in the mirror.
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  17. #17
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Never use pant size to gauge your waist. Clothes makers have been upsizing men's pants for years now. I thought I was fine comfortably wearing size 30 jeans but decided to measure when they just started to get tight. I was a touch under 36 inches at the belly button.
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  18. #18
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Never use pant size to gauge your waist. Clothes makers have been upsizing men's pants for years now. I thought I was fine comfortably wearing size 30 jeans but decided to measure when they just started to get tight. I was a touch under 36 inches at the belly button.
    Haha that must have been a tight fit!
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  19. #19
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    Haha that must have been a tight fit!
    Actually, I checked the website of the maker. Their size 30 jeans fit up to 35 inch waist so I was only a bit over. When I got back down to a 29 inch waist, I couldn't wear the 30s anymore because of all the fabric bunching up with a belt.
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  20. #20
    Haligtree faithbrah's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    Only with his shirt off. A little fat is not a problem with his shirt on, especially with extra muscle. Mostly his shirt is on 90% of the time.

    OP, why do you want to get to 10%?
    When you get to 13%, you should ask some hot women if you'd look better with more defined abs even if it meant noticeably smaller arms.





    ...


    I agree though, just start training and slowly dieting and look in the mirror.
    unless you're lifting for women, just ask yourself what you want. i'd go from 13% to 10% even if someone liked me better @ 13%. why? simply because i like my body more @ 10%
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  21. #21
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    unless you're lifting for women, just ask yourself what you want. i'd go from 13% to 10% even if someone liked me better @ 13%. why? simply because i like my body more @ 10%
    any guy over 21 that gets to 10% with any real muscle probably isn’t enjoying life much at that point.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User thetruth1985's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. I'll keep dieting and stop when I'm satisfied with how I look in the mirror. I hate that I have to lose muscle while cutting but I guess that's just part of the game. I'll bump this thread in a few months with my new pics.
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    any guy over 21 that gets to 10% with any real muscle probably isn’t enjoying life much at that point.
    true, but the point was to do what you like the most, unless like i said, you're lifting for someone else's attention
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    unless you're lifting for women, just ask yourself what you want. i'd go from 13% to 10% even if someone liked me better @ 13%. why? simply because i like my body more @ 10%
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    I kinda have a feeling op doesn’t know body fats that well.

    Firstly, to get to 10% (assuming natty) he’s going to have to lose 40lbs or more. Some sweet spot between 160-170. And he will lose strength in the process. The best way to have the least amount of muscle loss is a slow cut, with enough fat, protein and sleep. And continuing to lift consistently despite being lower energy from cutting.

    At 5’7 he also isn’t going to look skinny with a shirt on even at a lower weight of 160.

    That said op would probably be happy with his body around 14% and happier mentally with his diet and be able to maintain it much easier
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    I kinda have a feeling op doesn’t know body fats that well.

    Firstly, to get to 10% (assuming natty) he’s going to have to lose 40lbs or more. Some sweet spot between 160-170. And he will lose strength in the process. The best way to have the least amount of muscle loss is a slow cut, with enough fat, protein and sleep. And continuing to lift consistently despite being lower energy from cutting.

    At 5’7 he also isn’t going to look skinny with a shirt on even at a lower weight of 160.

    That said op would probably be happy with his body around 14% and happier mentally with his diet and be able to maintain it much easier
    I'm curious why you say I'd be happy at around 14%. Even though I haven't been close to 10% in almost 20 years, i figured that's the sweet spot between looking good and even if i go overboard on vacation, I wouldn't have to work too hard to get back down once i get back in town. I've heard of people having hormone and mood changes when under 10% so I'm really not interested to get down lower than that.
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    Originally Posted by thetruth1985 View Post
    I'm curious why you say I'd be happy at around 14%. Even though I haven't been close to 10% in almost 20 years, i figured that's the sweet spot between looking good and even if i go overboard on vacation, I wouldn't have to work too hard to get back down once i get back in town. I've heard of people having hormone and mood changes when under 10% so I'm really not interested to get down lower than that.
    You may feel very uncomfortable already at 12%, hard to know until you get there. Ask yourself: If everyone felt great at like 11-14% why does barely anyone walk around that lean?

    People who stay lean all the time tend to be people who have always been very lean.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    You may feel very uncomfortable already at 12%, hard to know until you get there. Ask yourself: If everyone felt great at like 11-14% why does barely anyone walk around that lean?

    People who stay lean all the time tend to be people who have always been very lean.
    this op, I really feel you don’t know what it looks like at 20% and also it’s very hard to maintain if you aren’t used it being that lean. You’ll be a lot happier mentally
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