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  1. #1
    Registered User noney's Avatar
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    To bulk/maintain or continue cutting

    I've been training since 2011, made good gains over the years but in 2019 I was out of the gym for the most part. During this time I lost a lot of muscle and strength and gained a lot of fat. Since Jun 2020 I've started weightlifting seriously again and have gained majority of my strength back, if not more on some exercises. I have been on a caloric deficit to get rid of the fat.

    I started off on 1,700 calories for 8 weeks from start of June to end of July, lost 7lbs but plateaued on the weight loss. Managed to overcome the plateau and continued cutting on 2,000 calories from August onward. I lost a further 4lbs. During this weightloss I've gained water weight (creatine) as well as muscle, therefore the actual fat-loss will be more than 11lbs.

    Recently my energy levels have started to get quite low which I'm putting down to being on a caloric deficit for the past 12-14 weeks.

    I'm currently 5ft 7 at 206lbs with approx 30% body fat, going gym 3 times a week minimum (full body, weight training). Some weeks I may go an extra couple of days for cardio but recently have not had the energy to do the cardio days. I was the 209lbs with approx 20% bf before I stopped training last year.

    I need advice on whether to put up with the lack of energy and continue cutting, and potentially lose some muscle and strength I've regained, or up my calories to maintenance, or 200 above maintenance, for a couple of months.
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  2. #2
    Registered User TheResistance's Avatar
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    De-load / week off whatever you prefer.

    Get back to maintenance calories for a couple of weeks and enjoy your workouts.

    Maybe change it up a bit. I like to alternate between heavy vs light ( I do a push or a pull workout) Like this:

    Push heavy
    Pull heavy
    Push light
    Pull light

    At 53 I have found the rotation between heavier and lighter keeps me fresh. As well as Auto-regulation :- just dropping the intensity if I feel a bit off - or simply having an extra day off.

    There is no rush, focus on enjoying the process not the end goal.
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  3. #3
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by noney View Post
    I need advice on whether to put up with the lack of energy and continue cutting, and potentially lose some muscle and strength I've regained, or up my calories to maintenance, or 200 above maintenance, for a couple of months.
    What is maintenance compared to your current 2,000 cals/day? You could just up your cals a bit even if you don't hit maintenance depending on the difference. You could also try timing your meals so that you might feel a little more energetic around cardio time.
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    Registered User shaneinga's Avatar
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    Take a week off, deload and eat back at maintenance for a week. Your weight will bounce but this will give your body and mind a break. Once you get back in the groove the next week you should lose all the weight bounce within a week to 10 days and then should start losing again soon after that.
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  5. #5
    Registered User noney's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    What is maintenance compared to your current 2,000 cals/day? You could just up your cals a bit even if you don't hit maintenance depending on the difference. You could also try timing your meals so that you might feel a little more energetic around cardio time.
    Maintenance would be 2500ish. Maybe if I up to maintenance for 2-3 weeks and then reduce down to 2300 and resume the cut?

    I train first thing in the morning so it's difficult getting a meal in before any training sessions
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by noney View Post
    Maintenance would be 2500ish. Maybe if I up to maintenance for 2-3 weeks and then reduce down to 2300 and resume the cut?

    I train first thing in the morning so it's difficult getting a meal in before any training sessions
    You can try chugging a mild energy drink like V8 energy right when you wake up. But yeah, maintenance or a little lower sounds like a logical adjustment.
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    Registered User VicDumbbells's Avatar
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    Great work getting going again.

    It's never going to be easy to lose the fat. If your lifts suffer so be it. Do you have a power-lifting meet coming up? If not stop the 'my lifts will suffer' nonsense as it is negative thinking. You have to stay mentally strong.

    You lose nothing by resting up at maintenance. Do so as frequently as you need to avoid backsliding and setbacks. But don't expect your lifts to avoid the drop when you go back to cutting. Most folks aren't doing cartwheels and singing songs with a toothy grin 20 pounds into a cut. Losing 'the next 20 pounds' while training hard is a beating any way you slice it. All the more reason to rest as needed and keep the progress moving forward long term. For most folks smaller deficits for longer periods promote better training; usually it's better not great. There is a price to pay for everything. We do what we can.
    “Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” – Joseph Pilates

    A bodybuilder uses the weights to work the muscle.
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  8. #8
    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    ArchAngel'73 is offline
    At 30% bodyfat there is no reason to lose strength. I've done 4 bb'ing comps and the strength loss didn't come until I was 2 weeks out and sub 8% BF. I also lifted damn near every day of the week, did cardio every damn day of the week and had a cal deficit for well over 10 months straight.

    I think the problem here is your "mental energy". Stress will cause that and the solution is a slap across the face with facts plus a visit to your Dr. to see if there's anything else contributing to the lack of energy.
    My advice, besides the Dr. visit, is to realize the body is an incredible machine capable of doing amazing things and your mind is in charge of pushing your body when the body rebels. The body will adapt to almost any stressors you put on it. If you want it bad enough you need to push your body with your mind and eventually the body will respond in that direction.
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