Cutting: it sounded so simple!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 19, 2011 10:14 PM GMT
    So I take forever to gain muscle mass, very much an ectomorph. Seem to be able to gain strength, but not so much mass. I therefore decided that I'd try cutting instead, to show off what little mass I have to it's full potential... but it's taking forever! It's been a couple of months with only the smallest loss.

    I only have a couple of kilos of fat to loose, I'm pretty skinny to begin with. I think I'm about 12-14% body fat. I'd like to get down to about 9-10% I think, nothing crazy low. I've been trying to burn a minimum of 500 calories a day in the gym and keeping my diet clean. I'm worried about cutting out too much food as I don't want to loose any of my hard earned muscle. I also can't cut out carbs completely, I completely shut down, can hardly even think straight, so only want to reduce my carbs.

    I've read that your body doesn't like to reduce it's fat this low unless it has to, so you have to force the fat loss. I was wondering if anybody else on here has done this and how long it took. Do I have to just be patient and keep up the CV or do I need to step it up a notch?

    Thank-you so much gents!
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    Sep 20, 2011 12:10 AM GMT
    You're correct that your body doesn't like to go below a certain fat threshhold. It's possible to force it to, but you pay a price. The science on this is fairly new and scant, but the best indications are that the body tries to compensate by adjusting any of several physiological systems - metabolic, immune, endocrine, etc. Perhaps you've heard of how female athletes bodies do crazy things in response to over-training? It's the same thing.

    There's a growing view among scientists that a person's peak potential is best achieved and maintained via the "caveman approach" to diet and exercise. The idea is that since our bodies evolved as tools for a hunter-gatherer existence, they naturally want to maintain the composition and fitness that corresponds that. So the best way to reach peak potential, according to this theory, is to follow a paleo diet and an exercise regimen that simulates a prehistoric lifestyle.

    Many people who try it experience changes in their body size, shape and composition, and in health metrics like blood chemistry profile, bp, etc., unlike anything else they've ever experienced.

    No personal experience yet, but I'm considering it.

    Good luck!

  • barriehomeboy

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    Sep 20, 2011 12:26 AM GMT
    Your body needs fat to protect your vital organs..the visceral fat. That is part of the body fat % that you've measured. You're probably on the wrong track with the cutting if you're that thin to begin with.
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    Sep 20, 2011 3:33 AM GMT
    Post your diet.

    If you can't describe it in terms of how many calories and how that's distributed between fats, carbs (ideally subdivided into hi/med/low glycemic index), and proteins, with example foods in each, then I submit you're not getting into the serious level of detail a project like this entails.

    99% of the time people who tell me their diet isn't working don't actually have a clue what they are eating. It's a shit ton of hard work to figure out, but until you do, you're just wandering in the fog.

    If you are one of the 1% who can respond in detail, then you have the "advanced" student problem: you need to keep trying different combinations. Each person is unique. Even if you know EXACTLY what you're eating, doesn't mean you made the right choice to achieve whatever your individual goals are.

    I think you're getting my point (about how hard this is). It's doable, but again, 99% of the people just aren't into doing the work.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2011 9:39 AM GMT
    Whaaa?

    OHHHH!

    *puts razor blade away*
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    Sep 20, 2011 10:02 AM GMT
    SkinnyBitch saidWhaaa?

    OHHHH!

    *puts razor blade away*


    ^
    That's what I was thinking, too.

    10496730.jpg
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    Sep 20, 2011 12:13 PM GMT
    This is a fitness website, what did you guys think 'cutting' meant?! This is even posted in the weight loss section! icon_biggrin.gif

    I just entered my entire food intake for yesterday, which was a very typical day, into an online tool for analysis. My carbs are a little higher than they should be, but my nutrition distribution is fine. I don't want to analyse this to death, if I can't work it out with a minimal amount of thought then I'll just forget about it. But I think loosing a few % is a reasonable goal. If any one has any tips or how long this has taken for them that would be useful.

    Also, I've seen a few workout plans that put some light cardio first thing in the morning then a full workout in the evening. Does this help that much? Don't mind going to the gym twice a day as it's on the way to work, but don't want to do it if it doesn't have a significant effect.
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    Sep 20, 2011 1:32 PM GMT
    I search the forum with the Updated Topics button, and it doesn't show the category each topic is in, I just get the title before I decide to click on it.

    Anyway, I knew what it was about but was just being silly. I'll shut up now.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2011 2:06 PM GMT
    Uhh cutting sucks. I was trying for a six pack since May..... I think I have given up on a six pack at this point lol.

    Just switched to paleo diet last week and this is my last attempt at a cut. Otherwise I'm back on grains and potatoes and back to bulking.

    I find it near impossible to accurately count my calories. I have to estimate units of measure too much and just feel that when I was counting calories I was estimating too much. I just don't have time to preweigh all my meals and I dunno what 6oz of chicken or a half a cup of rice looks like. And when ur eating homemade food the calorie counters are even less accurate. Like I made homemade turkey chili with tons of stuff, from kidney beans, to a beer, to unsweatened coco powder, veggies, cinnamon and just about everything I could find. Now if I looked up turkey chili on a calorie counter I would find like 20 different nutrition facts and have no idea which to choose. Alternatively I don't have the time in a day to log each individual ingredient in and estimate how much of it is in each of my servings. Then if u eat someone elses cooking or eat out u really have no idea.

    Anyway I know what I eat everyday but I can't figure out a way to accurately count calories since my lunch and dinner vary each day. My breakfast, brunch, preworkout snack and before bed snack remain the same everyday.

    Anyway I'm hoping paleo helps me cut.

    @ Op: paleo is a diet that cuts out flour, sugar, grains and all post agriculture food. I can't recommend it, as i just started it, but plenty of realjockers swear by it.
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    Sep 20, 2011 2:16 PM GMT
    Cutting fat is a matter of making sure calories burned is greater than calories taken in, so some level of analysis is required, which it seems you're well aware of.

    I think your goal of a "minimal amount of thought" is fine for the gross adjustment of bodyfat (> 10 lbs loss, lets say), but it gets asymptotically more difficult as your level of bodyfat drops, which usually requires more work (and thought). And for guys, the mid section is the first place fat is stored and the last place it drops off, which is what makes the proverbial 6 pack so difficult.

    Certainly burning more cardio by adding another gym session focused on that in the morning is a fine tool, but IMHO, diet is still the big knob and cardio the fine tuning one. Most people think they are going to burn 300+ calories in 30 minutes on the treadmill (the max time for most gyms during rush hour) but a look at most people will tell you they are lucky to get half that. The number of folks who are consistently 10-20 lbs heavy who you see every day in the gym on the treadmills is consistent with the misconception that fat loss happens in the gym and not at the table. You're already quite light, so burning calories for you at 134 lbs is going to be even tougher than the 200 lb guy who can burn a lot just by carrying that weight up and down a flight of stairs.

    Anywho, I don't want to be Debbie downer. Definitely add the cardio and see what happens, but I think you shouldn't "forget about it" after too much thought on the diet. It looks like you're already doing most of the work in recording what you're eating. I suggest dipping the calorie count down a bit before you start pounding your joints to death to subtract 200 calories a day.

    Where are you sitting now with calories and distribution? You say it's "fine" but that doesn't provide much info icon_smile.gif

    PS Your pictures are way cute.

    ... Is that off topic?
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    Sep 20, 2011 2:27 PM GMT
    Re Paleo, I never tried, but generally the feedback is good and the approach makes sense. I'm gonna try it one day when I can control my life better.

    One thing about accurately counting calories (and avoiding a scale for everything), is that you build in some error factor in your goal to account for inaccurate measurements, which over a long enough time (multiple weeks) should be either consistently high or low assuming your eating habits and counting technique are consistent. Then you either err on the side of too few calories for your goal if you're trying to lose, or too many if you're trying to gain (say, by 300-500, depending on your weight).

    Gosh I'm so geeking. But I find people who really can cut are one of the following:

    1) Young with fast metabolisms.
    2) Marathoners.
    2) Genetically gifted.
    3) OCD people who geek about diet.

    And oh, BTW, T600 and Wolverine, I think you both look great, and are in the top few percent of the average American or Brit. Us gay guys have such a high bar that we often underestimate the challenge of achieving it (speaking from much experience on the underachieving a 6-pack front)
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    Sep 20, 2011 2:32 PM GMT
    Perhaps we should ask this RealJocker what he eats and how much cardio he does?

    * sighs dreamily *

    2d4f31c44769a3601c935805d72c87c1.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2011 2:46 PM GMT
    Lol thanks iguana. But there is nothing sexier to me than ripped abs under stomach fur. So I want it!

    As u can prob guess by my analysis on error and inaccuracy, I geek out way too hard when it comes to data integrity lol.

    I was weighing myself every morning while counting calories, but had a shitty hand help body fat percent scale. So I couldn't track body fat well, only weight. (my body fat machine kept saying I was between 8% and 11%. I know that's inaccurate and I'm more likely 15-20%).

    In the end I stopped counting and hope that solely being on paleo will work. I know it most likely won't, but its worth a shot and I got too burnt out counting cslories and monitoring my bf and weight.

    That reminds me, almost brunch time! Got some white meat chicken, bell peppers and raw almonds yum!
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    Sep 20, 2011 10:50 PM GMT
    Thanks for the feedback guys, especially you iguanaSF.

    I think I've thought of a possible solution to all the complexity involved here... I'm going to outsource this to my iPhone. That is to say I'm going to get a calorie and nutrition tracking app, keep it up to date and let it show me whether I need to eat more or less of something each day and how much activity I need to do in the gym. I think that will let me be a bit more scientific about this without hurting my head. I've tried it for today and already found that I've had slightly too many carbs and not enough protein, so I'll be compensating for that before going to bed.

    The paleo diet is something I've been aware of for quite a while. I have a good understanding of the basic principles behind it, will look into it's application. I spend a lot of the day grazing on nuts and fruit anyway, so shouldn't be a massive problem for me.
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    Sep 21, 2011 3:01 AM GMT
    T600 saidThanks for the feedback guys, especially you iguanaSF.

    I think I've thought of a possible solution to all the complexity involved here... I'm going to outsource this to my iPhone. That is to say I'm going to get a calorie and nutrition tracking app, keep it up to date and let it show me whether I need to eat more or less of something each day and how much activity I need to do in the gym. I think that will let me be a bit more scientific about this without hurting my head. I've tried it for today and already found that I've had slightly too many carbs and not enough protein, so I'll be compensating for that before going to bed.

    The paleo diet is something I've been aware of for quite a while. I have a good understanding of the basic principles behind it, will look into it's application. I spend a lot of the day grazing on nuts and fruit anyway, so shouldn't be a massive problem for me.


    Awesome. It would be great if you could come back here in a month or two and give an update to see what tweaks you made, how you liked the app, and what effects you saw in the mirror.
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    Sep 21, 2011 3:16 AM GMT
    What type of cardio are you doing? Maybe you can change it up so that you can burn your fat in a shorter amount of time.
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    Sep 21, 2011 9:43 AM GMT
    iguanaSF saidAwesome. It would be great if you could come back here in a month or two and give an update to see what tweaks you made, how you liked the app, and what effects you saw in the mirror.


    I'll try and remember to give you guys an update!


    DudeInNOVA saidWhat type of cardio are you doing? Maybe you can change it up so that you can burn your fat in a shorter amount of time.


    I'm doing a variety of cardio. Mostly cross trainer, but also step machine, cycling, rowing and swimming. My understanding of CV workouts was that higher intensity workouts deplete the proteins in your muscles, which is not what I want, and lower intensity is best for fat loss. At the moment I'm spending a longer amount of time in the gym and taking things at a moderate pace. Do you think it should be the other way around?
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    Sep 21, 2011 10:10 AM GMT
    T600 saidThis is a fitness website, what did you guys think 'cutting' meant?! This is even posted in the weight loss section! icon_biggrin.gif

    I just entered my entire food intake for yesterday, which was a very typical day, into an online tool for analysis. My carbs are a little higher than they should be, but my nutrition distribution is fine. I don't want to analyse this to death, if I can't work it out with a minimal amount of thought then I'll just forget about it. But I think loosing a few % is a reasonable goal. If any one has any tips or how long this has taken for them that would be useful.

    Also, I've seen a few workout plans that put some light cardio first thing in the morning then a full workout in the evening. Does this help that much? Don't mind going to the gym twice a day as it's on the way to work, but don't want to do it if it doesn't have a significant effect.



    Ignore skinny. He's single and jaded for a reason. It really isn't what you eat, bro. it's the amount. There isn't a formula. Just control your intake. Guys on this site worry about the smallest things and rely on others advise. Just listen to your own body, dude.
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    Sep 22, 2011 5:26 AM GMT
    T600 saidI'm doing a variety of cardio. Mostly cross trainer, but also step machine, cycling, rowing and swimming. My understanding of CV workouts was that higher intensity workouts deplete the proteins in your muscles, which is not what I want, and lower intensity is best for fat loss. At the moment I'm spending a longer amount of time in the gym and taking things at a moderate pace. Do you think it should be the other way around?


    I'm not too sure about the depleting of muscle proteins. Here's what I know, but I'm not the best person to talk about this. You burn more fat at lower heart rates. You burn more calories at higher rates, but the higher you go, the more the energy comes from sugars rather than fat.

    Most of what you can find on the Internet talks about training in your best fat burning zone, but it's more complicated than that. Your zones actually change over time. The calculations based on your age aren't very accurate. You can actually train your body to burn fat at higher heart rates, which makes your workouts more efficient.

    I'm on a program like this right now, but it's specific to my gym. I run using a heart rate monitor. On different days, I train in different zones. The zones aren't just one per day either. I change zones every few minutes. This is how the body learns to burn fat better, and it also trains your heart to be stronger and more adaptable to changing conditions.

    I wish I could tell you exactly what to do, but it's not that simple.
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    Oct 08, 2011 10:50 PM GMT
    Heart rate zone training has made a huge difference for me in both cardio and weight training. I use a Polar FT80 and it's helped me to get down 12% body fat & falling. I'm predominantly an ecto but have had significant upper body and leg gains with 12 to 8 reps for 3 to 5 sets with heart rate zones low through to high. Basic exercises like squats and bench presses are very effective.