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  1. #1
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Cut 8 weeks, then slight surplus for 4 weeks. Decent for fat loss?

    the idea crossed my mind. cut for 8 weeks, then mass for 4 weeks or some variation of that. and I dont mean go crazy with a bulk, i mean a small but decent surplus

    or perhaps cut for 10, mass for 5.


    sort of a reverse version of "mini cuts". Has this been tried before? what is known about such an approach?


    I could see it like this, starting at lower volume then building volume thru the cycle.


    10 week cut
    -------------------
    4 weeks training
    1 week deload
    4 weeks training
    1 week deload

    followed by

    5 week mass phase
    ------------------
    4 weeks training
    1 week deload


    yes it would take longer to lose significant bodyfat but wouldnt one retain muscle much better this way?? or is this just a fancy way to spin the wheels?
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Depends on your current condition and goals. I always ran a deficit a min of 10 weeks, and in converse would milk my caloric surplus as long as I could.

    Over time, I found my sweet spot was to be lean enough to start any surplus. 10-11%max and then run a small 250 cal surplus 4-5 months. (over time I discovered my 'fall off' point was just over 4 months where I would see nutrient partitioning go to crap and definitely notice increase in sub q).

    To me a 'cut' means you are trying to get lean. A diet is just if you are overweight. Personally, I an not a fan of trying to run any surplus of cals over 15%bf. You just have no where to go with it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    well right now im simply fat @ 30%. I am 8 weeks into a cut and down about 11 lbs and a few %. I am just trying to plan things out because im going to be cutting for probably 18 months lol. I mean obviously id like to be 10% lean but thats way down the road. rght now 15% would feel like Mr Olympia to me (or even sub 20%)

    im just brainstorming possible approaches.

    Im not struggling yet or anything. so far its been easy and I havent been hungry for years lol. I did a maintenance phase on 3400 cals before the cut and frankly I was sick of eating that much

    Im just looking at different approaches. Its a bit daunting to think that i wont gain ANY mass for the next 18 months even if im laying the smack down in the gym (which i am). Nor do i want to lose mass though I know its expected to lose some during a long deficit.



    I am asking because for the last few months I have been studying Renaissance Periodization ideas (Mike Israetel etc) and their basic idea is to cut (or mass) for 12 week phases followed by something like a 6-8 week maintenance phase. I understand the point of it to a degree but thats also stretching things out by like 50% or whatever. Its not very motivating to think id have to work hard for 18 months just to reach down to 20% or whatever so i am trying to brainstorm all approaches


    What is your opinion best practices for long term fat loss? do u believe in just getting the fat loss train rolling and keeping it rolling or do u suggest breaks etc?
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    well right now im simply fat @ 30%. I am 8 weeks into a cut and down about 11 lbs and a few %. I am just trying to plan things out because im going to be cutting for probably 18 months lol. I mean obviously id like to be 10% lean but thats way down the road. rght now 15% would feel like Mr Olympia to me (or even sub 20%)

    im just brainstorming possible approaches.

    Im not struggling yet or anything. so far its been easy and I havent been hungry for years lol. I did a maintenance phase on 3400 cals before the cut and frankly I was sick of eating that much

    Im just looking at different approaches. Its a bit daunting to think that i wont gain ANY mass for the next 18 months even if im laying the smack down in the gym (which i am). Nor do i want to lose mass though I know its expected to lose some during a long deficit.



    I am asking because for the last few months I have been studying Renaissance Periodization ideas (Mike Israetel etc) and their basic idea is to cut (or mass) for 12 week phases followed by something like a 6-8 week maintenance phase. I understand the point of it to a degree but thats also stretching things out by like 50% or whatever. Its not very motivating to think id have to work hard for 18 months just to reach down to 20% or whatever so i am trying to brainstorm all approaches


    What is your opinion best practices for long term fat loss? do u believe in just getting the fat loss train rolling and keeping it rolling or do u suggest breaks etc?

    I think that if you have prior training experience, just strip the fat. Your muscle memory will take care of getting back the lbm EVEN IN A DEFICIT. I have done it and year it works.

    If your ultimate goal is sub 10% there are a few ways to go. I chose to never cut for too long or hard (but I also was not at 30%). Getting AND staying under 10 took me aprox 4+ years to really figure out how to make it work for me.

    I pretty much only decided to 'stay' at being that lean after caloric surpluses no longer net'd any lean mass gains (even with externally controlled hormones). So since, eating up 20-30 lbs no longer netted any benefit, I now stay lean all the time.


    So I dont know much of your background, but I remember you being around. If you were once a 400lb bencher, 500lb squat, and 600 dead, screw the surplus part. Just get lean and your LBM will come back up in the process. Studies have shown when we atrophy, we keep all the myofibril adaptations we made in the past. The cells just shrink, but all the new cells that were created during past mass building are still there.

    Losing fat is the fastest way to progress. Just rip the band-aid of and do it. Until you 'pay the piper', you will have to tell people you are hitting the gym again. Staying fit year round not only feels better, but I never get asked anymore "IF" I workout. People know without a doubt. I finally feel like I look like all the years of effort I have put in to get here.
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  5. #5
    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    FWIW, I went with a 1000+ cal/day (1700 cal) deficit when I first came back to gym after a decade off. Despite this, I lost aprox 25lbs and at the same time added over 1" to arms and 2" to chest. Muscle memory is your friend.


    At 20-30% you can get away with higher deficits and 2lbs/ week is ok and preferred if you can handle it. I would even kick things off with a PSMF if I had that much to lose.

    Face it, cutting sucks, so get it over and then enjoy building back.

    After a few bulk/cut cycles, and your overall leanness gets lower, your deficits will have to get smaller, as will your surpluses.
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  6. #6
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    FWIW, I went with a 1000+ cal/day (1700 cal) deficit when I first came back to gym after a decade off. .
    for how long and did u do any breaks?


    well i wasnt quite THAT strong but 325b, 425sq, 445d. Right now i mainly just want to bodybuild and end up somewhere around 10@ at 180ish. Thats based on me having approx 160lbs lean mass right now.

    fwiw a few years back when i was out of the gym I had gotten up to 259 so i went on a 2000 cal diet and then eventually I dropped that to 1800. I did that for a year and lost 60 lbs without ever really being hungry lol. Im sure I lost muscle mass of course because i wasnt lifting
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    for how long and did u do any breaks?
    My first "REAL" cut was 12 weeks.

    Aprox "starting" pic



    Here is an actual 11 week transformation (I did not take a starting pic, but I really was trying to look as good as I could in all the pics). I think I lost 25lbs and about 6" on my waist, while gaining back quite a bit of mass (which I had carried before.)





    First 25lb bulk



    End of first year of of solid training with almost 20lb gain (100% natural)




    Funny pic.

    Me at 22. Middle pic is me after first cut aprox 3 months steady traing,(wearing same shorts!. last pic is 10 years of training back into gym and current condition.
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  8. #8
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    good stuff
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    To me a 'cut' means you are trying to get lean. A diet is just if you are overweight.
    True, but saying "I'm cutting" seems like a nice way of saying one is dieting without publicly admitting to being fat. People like to say "Oh but you aren't fat!" even if you are absolutely fat. During my cut this past spring I successfully told many people I was losing weight with no one protesting that I wasn't fat.
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    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    im fat and I have no problems with the term lol. No different than a Giraffe being tall. He already knows he's tall so no big deal
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    At 20-30% you can get away with higher deficits and 2lbs/ week is ok and preferred if you can handle it. I would even kick things off with a PSMF if I had that much to lose.
    Agreed. I think getting a good jump start tends to keep people more motivated to keep going. With long term dieting taking the occasional diet break is sometimes needed. Small breaks of 2-3 weeks and get back to it.

    Good luck!
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    You can gain plenty of LBM coming from an untrained state and running a deficit with higher body fat. The only way you should run a surplus with higher bodyfat is if you don’t care about aesthetics and are pursuing maximum strength at any cost (namely health). If you are in a trained state and lean you will would need a surplus to gain LBM, but not a very big one.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    True, but saying "I'm cutting" seems like a nice way of saying one is dieting without publicly admitting to being fat. People like to say "Oh but you aren't fat!" even if you are absolutely fat. During my cut this past spring I successfully told many people I was losing weight with no one protesting that I wasn't fat.
    But why do YOU need to diet, you're not fat! -- usually accompanied with a confused/disapproving look.

    It's far easier to refuse whatever food you're being offered with some fake explanation of food intolerance and if they start to ask about it just shake your head sadly saying "flatulence and explosive diarrhea", they'll immediately stop asking questions and won't offer/pressure you to eat again
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    Agreed. I think getting a good jump start tends to keep people more motivated to keep going. With long term dieting taking the occasional diet break is sometimes needed. Small breaks of 2-3 weeks and get back to it.

    Good luck!
    Agreed! Dropping weight, is probably the quickest thing that make such a great visible difference. Motivation is the biggest factor, so looking good, to where those around you start noticing, helps a ton.

    Funny, when I fist started back training, I dropped almost 25lbs in the first 12 weeks. My friends started asking me "what are you on!?". I was like, dude....I am almost 30lbs lighter. But the overall effect is people visually saw me as so much bigger since you actually can start to see the physique hiding under the extra stuff.


    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    You can gain plenty of LBM coming from an untrained state and running a deficit with higher body fat. The only way you should run a surplus with higher bodyfat is if you don’t care about aesthetics and are pursuing maximum strength at any cost (namely health). If you are in a trained state and lean you will would need a surplus to gain LBM, but not a very big one.
    Agree again. Muscle memory is super powerful and it is amazing how easily you can come back. That is why I recommend weight loss first since you can (for a brief period) serve two masters. Getting leaner AND building back muscle. After 6-8 months back (my estimate) , this no longer holds the same truth. I say rip the bandaid off as start dropping weight!
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    Chihuahua in the rain Corbets's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    But why do YOU need to diet, you're not fat! -- usually accompanied with a confused/disapproving look.

    It's far easier to refuse whatever food you're being offered with some fake explanation of food intolerance and if they start to ask about it just shake your head sadly saying "flatulence and explosive diarrhea", they'll immediately stop asking questions and won't offer/pressure you to eat again
    I’ve never understood why that bothers people. I’ve been on the fat side, and I know people who are naturally skinny... but that’s not me, and I have to work for it. I’ve got no problems explaining that to people, and while I sometimes get some good natured teasing, it’s just not been that hard to explain in my experience.

    The disapproving look usually comes from people who are overweight and insecure about it. I’m simply the outlet for their own self-disgust in that case, so it’s no skin off my back.
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    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Corbets View Post
    I’ve never understood why that bothers people. I’ve been on the fat side, and I know people who are naturally skinny... but that’s not me, and I have to work for it. I’ve got no problems explaining that to people, and while I sometimes get some good natured teasing, it’s just not been that hard to explain in my experience.

    The disapproving look usually comes from people who are overweight and insecure about it. I’m simply the outlet for their own self-disgust in that case, so it’s no skin off my back.
    yeah its like people at work. Most of them are overweight and they dont workout etc. So if you start to lose weight and trim down, at first u get compliments but then it gets to a point where people are like "are you sick? youre going too far with this thing" etc.

    and where they really freak out is when they see that you have an ounce of discipline and order in your eating and in your lifestyle. Its nothing for them to watch 4 hours of TV every day but they think its weird if u spend 90 minutes in the gym several times per week
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    Registered User tblodg15's Avatar
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    To the original question - no way I would do a slight surplus. I lost 65 lbs over 1 1/2 years so it was slow but I also added some muscle as PP and ID explained because I was overweight and untrained. I did end up using a few diet breaks which was eating at maintenance for a week but that was not until near the end of the long cut. I found near the end when my progress started stalling the diet break helped get the fat loss started again.

    And I definitely went through the co-workers and even family giving me a hard time. Most of it was insecurity as you guys said. Now that I am 3 years in it has gotten much better as ID said it would. Many still don’t understand it but they quit saying dumb things and stopped offering me the cake and cookies at work functions without the negative comments like I used to get when I declined that stuff.
    Bodybuilding is much more than an hour in the gym a few days a week---it's a lifestyle that changes all your perceptions about how to live, eat, and rest. It feeds the mind as much (and sometimes more so) than the body.
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    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tblodg15 View Post
    no way I would do a slight surplus. I lost 65 lbs over 1 1/2 years so it was slow but I also added some muscle as PP and ID explained because I was overweight and untrained.
    im overweight but with like 6 hard months back in the gym I cant say im "untrained" anymore. Going by daily weight and bodyfat% reading, im barely holding onto muscle or slightly losing some. My thought with the 4 week surplus is that if I slightly drop some lean mass in the 8 week cut, I can at least offset that with some gained lean mass in the surplus. Higher volume would be used in the surplus
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    Like the others here, I would also advise patience. When you get close to your goal, it might be a good way to help with the final few pounds. But at this point it probably wouldn't be that useful.
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    Registered User CommitmentRulz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    im overweight but with like 6 hard months back in the gym I cant say im "untrained" anymore. Going by daily weight and bodyfat% reading, im barely holding onto muscle or slightly losing some. My thought with the 4 week surplus is that if I slightly drop some lean mass in the 8 week cut, I can at least offset that with some gained lean mass in the surplus. Higher volume would be used in the surplus
    To me, this is like planning to drive cross-country, but also planning to stop every 30 minutes to stretch your legs, not see any sights mind you, just lengthen the trip needlessly.
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    To me, this is like planning to drive cross-country, but also planning to stop every 30 minutes to stretch your legs, not see any sights mind you, just lengthen the trip needlessly.
    retaining muscle mass is pointless to you? interesting
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    retaining muscle mass is pointless to you? interesting
    Oh come on. That's a ridiculous statement. You're better than that. Get enough protein and continue to lift and you'll minimize muscle loss.
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    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    Oh come on. That's a ridiculous statement. You're better than that. Get enough protein and continue to lift and you'll minimize muscle loss.
    my statement perfectly matched your analogy which had no connection to anything

    this thread is a thought experiment to brainstorm ideas. We dont lift forever without breaks. We take deloads. We use periodization. So why should we diet in a "linear" fashion?
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    my statement perfectly matched your analogy which had no connection to anything

    this thread is a thought experiment to brainstorm ideas. We dont lift forever without breaks. We take deloads. We use periodization. So why should we diet in a "linear" fashion?
    My statement reflected the fact that you seem determined to drag out this fat loss (much much) longer than necessary. But you've clearly made up your mind to do it this way, so have at it. I'm not sure why you even posted asking about it, You've made up your mind. So here's what you want to hear "Your approach is perfect, John. Go for it."

    Good luck in your weight loss goals for 2019, 2020, 2021 and likely 2022.
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    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    My statement reflected the fact that you seem determined to drag out this fat loss (much much) longer than necessary. But you've clearly made up your mind to do it this way, so have at it. I'm not sure why you even posted asking about it, You've made up your mind. So here's what you want to hear "Your approach is perfect, John. Go for it."

    Good luck in your weight loss goals for 2019, 2020, 2021 and likely 2022.
    shows your comprehension skills I guess because I havent made up my mind to do anything lol. Im heading into week 9 of a planned 10 week cut and im just gathering ideas for how to approach things.

    im down 11 lbs over 8 weeks. yeah, I guess thats really dragging things out huh?

    Thanks for the predictions though. i guess time will tell
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    Focus on yourself kimm4's Avatar
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    If you're overweight and 30% body fat I'm guessing you have a good amount of weight to lose. If you've dropped 11 lbs in 8 weeks I can assure you you're not losing all kinds of muscle. If anything it's mostly water and some fat. You know yourself body fat estimates aren't all too accurate.

    You've spent years building the muscle foundation and it's still there. We don't lose fuk loads of muscle when dieting so that should be the least of your worries. Get in a deficit you can handle, keep your protein up, lift heavy and let your diet do the work.

    Stop over thinking it because you're gonna be fine.
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