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  1. #1
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    4 Month Transformation: from bulked to cut (pics)

    I have been training for 22 years, mostly on a permanent bulk due to being naturally skinny. I have gotten up to 180-200 lbs, and competed in powerlifting meets as a 181.

    This past year I decided it was time to stop being fat; the permanent bulk has come to an end.

    I am attaching some photos of the journey. You can find two photos of my 'bulked' condition, and some photos of how I look today. I am now 160 lbs and I stand 5'8. My upper arms measure 16.25, my waist is 32 and my chest is 43. Quads are 23. I'm 38 years old and now in the best shape of my life. I can still bench press 305 (1.9 times bodyweight). I am lifetime NATTY.

    Goals for now are to maintain my bodyweight while slowly continue toward recomp (build muscle and lose fat).

    Just wanted to share my progress with everyone. Any comments or thoughts are welcomed. Thanks!
    Attached Images
    Last edited by Episteme; 11-11-2020 at 11:28 AM.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
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  2. #2
    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    That's pretty f'ing amazing!
    Barely looks like the same person, and you have some epic bicep peaks.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArchAngel'73 View Post
    That's pretty f'ing amazing!
    Barely looks like the same person, and you have some epic bicep peaks.
    Thanks very much for the encouragement and comments.

    Seems like my biceps peaks became more prominent as I cut bodyfat.

    One important lesson I learned is that being a natty bodybuilder means I have to give up the dream of being 'big' in the sense of weight on the scale. A lean 160 looks *much* better than a flabby 180. JMO

    Thanks again!
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
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    Registered User shaneinga's Avatar
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    Damn dude, that is what I call a transformation. Awesome job!
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  5. #5
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by shaneinga View Post
    Damn dude, that is what I call a transformation. Awesome job!
    Thanks for the nice note!
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
    Best competition lift: Bench Press, 300 lbs.@ 174 (RAW)
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  6. #6
    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Astonishingly good progress!!!!!
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    Great work dude. Hard to believe you're only 160 in those after pics.
    Age: 41
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    Amateur boxer turned bodybuilder...

    Hit me up on Sherdog.. TeTe
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  8. #8
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    Astonishingly good progress!!!!!
    Thanks! I feel like a new person.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
    Best competition lift: Bench Press, 300 lbs.@ 174 (RAW)
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  9. #9
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xTeTe View Post
    Great work dude. Hard to believe you're only 160 in those after pics.
    Thanks very much.

    I admit that I appear much bigger than 160, and I'm a little dismayed that I had to get down to such a low bodyweight to begin to call myself reasonably lean. I have a very light bone structure (6.5 inch wrists), and I'm not terribly tall (5'8). I'm happy that my arms managed to stay above 16 inches, and I don't want them to go below that.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
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  10. #10
    OCB Pro smokinal's Avatar
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    Great work man!!

    Yeah, so many guys really underestimate just how much actual pounds you need to lose to get lean.
    They also don't understand that you will look far more muscular at a lower bodyweight if the muscle is there.

    Congrats on the progress
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  11. #11
    In search of V-Taper ectoBgone's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Episteme View Post
    One important lesson I learned is that being a natty bodybuilder means I have to give up the dream of being 'big' in the sense of weight on the scale. A lean 160 looks *much* better than a flabby 180. JMO
    Absolutely. Great work, you look way better.
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  12. #12
    Registered User tblodg15's Avatar
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    Nice work!
    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.
    ~Originally posted by ironwill2008
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    Registered User PhDPepper1111's Avatar
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    Fantastic stuff!!!
    As one who does not intend to bodybuild, I can empathize with the 'permanent bulk' motivation, but like everyone has said (and yourself) you do look much healthier now!!
    Seems obvious, but you could continue to compete in powerlifting and with a solid bench like that at your new weight... you'd kick ass in Masters.
    Recomp good. If you want to bodybuild…. seems like you're doing great - even if it's only for your living room/bedroom.
    Why NOT?

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  14. #14
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PhDPepper1111 View Post
    Fantastic stuff!!!
    As one who does not intend to bodybuild, I can empathize with the 'permanent bulk' motivation, but like everyone has said (and yourself) you do look much healthier now!!
    Seems obvious, but you could continue to compete in powerlifting and with a solid bench like that at your new weight... you'd kick ass in Masters.
    Recomp good. If you want to bodybuild…. seems like you're doing great - even if it's only for your living room/bedroom.
    Thanks for the comments. (I'm guessing you're a PhD; me too. Bioethics)

    I plan to continue to compete (now in the 165 class), and I'm interested to see how well I would do in the Masters, lifetime natural category. I've looked at some records across the federations, and it seems I'm (finally) nationally competitive. It's funny that when I competed in open class, guys my age were doing *much* more than me. But now that I'm pushing 40, seems like I'm doing comparatively better even though my numbers are only a little better. Age matters.

    I thought about bodybuilding shows, but to be honest, I'm not interested in turning myself into a shredded skeleton. I mean no offense to any natty bodybuilders (many of them look awesome), but the current standards of getting striated glutes in drug-free shows just doesn't make much sense to me. I like the condition that guys like John Grimek, Clancy Ross, George Eiferman, Tommy Kono, and James Park were in back in the 40's and 50's. They were big, reasonably lean, and strong.

    Just my own thoughts on bodybuilding.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
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    Originally Posted by Episteme View Post
    I have been training for 22 years, mostly on a permanent bulk due to being naturally skinny. I have gotten up to 180-200 lbs, and competed in powerlifting meets as a 181.

    This past year I decided it was time to stop being fat; the permanent bulk has come to an end.

    I am attaching some photos of the journey. You can find two photos of my 'bulked' condition, and some photos of how I look today. I am now 160 lbs and I stand 5'8. My upper arms measure 16.25, my waist is 32 and my chest is 43. Quads are 23. I'm 38 years old and now in the best shape of my life. I can still bench press 305 (1.9 times bodyweight). I am lifetime NATTY.

    Goals for now are to maintain my bodyweight while slowly continue toward recomp (build muscle and lose fat).

    Just wanted to share my progress with everyone. Any comments or thoughts are welcomed. Thanks!
    Good work. Fat/obese dudes always look the best when they cut down cause they’ve been holding a chit load of muscle

    Compared to a 18% body fat guy who decides to cut, an obese guy who cuts will have way more of an advantage and way more muscle when he’s shredded

    Just from what I’ve seen in the fitness world, I seen this in a lot of fat dude transformations. Some lookin juicy asf but it’s just cause they were formally fat and holding more muscle than a normal guy
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  16. #16
    Registered User bustasinclair's Avatar
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    Great work, especially for only 4 months! Will be interested in seeing if you can keep your bodyfat in check while training for PL'ing Meet. As you probably know, it's not too terribly difficult.
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  17. #17
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bustasinclair View Post
    Great work, especially for only 4 months! Will be interested in seeing if you can keep your bodyfat in check while training for PL'ing Meet. As you probably know, it's not too terribly difficult.
    Thanks!

    The one thing I'm finding is that at my current body composition, I'm having to eat *more* to maintain my bodyweight, than what it took to get here. My guess is that my increased lbm relative to my weight has increased my body's calorie-burning efficiency. Staying lean seems to be not the problem right now; it's keeping my weight where it's at without losing more weight.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
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    Originally Posted by Episteme View Post
    Thanks for the comments. (I'm guessing you're a PhD; me too. Bioethics)

    I plan to continue to compete (now in the 165 class), and I'm interested to see how well I would do in the Masters, lifetime natural category. I've looked at some records across the federations, and it seems I'm (finally) nationally competitive. It's funny that when I competed in open class, guys my age were doing *much* more than me. But now that I'm pushing 40, seems like I'm doing comparatively better even though my numbers are only a little better. Age matters.

    I thought about bodybuilding shows, but to be honest, I'm not interested in turning myself into a shredded skeleton. I mean no offense to any natty bodybuilders (many of them look awesome), but the current standards of getting striated glutes in drug-free shows just doesn't make much sense to me. I like the condition that guys like John Grimek, Clancy Ross, George Eiferman, Tommy Kono, and James Park were in back in the 40's and 50's. They were big, reasonably lean, and strong.

    Just my own thoughts on bodybuilding.
    PhD Clinical Psychology
    You've taken care of yourself for a long time... I guess many competing open just stop, maybe injuries … not sure. I know that I broke my state records in my age/weight category in my first meet, and the USPA drug-free records aren't far off and seem eminently obtainable... whereas the open records would have been pretty tough for me even if I didn't get injured in my 30s.
    Joo can doo eet! Competing will motivate you and it sounds like you'll have some cool records too!

    Agree, hardcore competing seems to do strange things to bodies/minds, but some of the folks on here have done some amazing things with their bodies - including you!
    Good luck!
    Why NOT?

    5'6", 202
    Age: 49

    PRs:
    2/27/21 OR state tested championships 468/308/501
    10/10/2020 FS meet: 407/303/474
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  19. #19
    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PhDPepper1111 View Post
    PhD Clinical Psychology
    You've taken care of yourself for a long time... I guess many competing open just stop, maybe injuries … not sure. I know that I broke my state records in my age/weight category in my first meet, and the USPA drug-free records aren't far off and seem eminently obtainable... whereas the open records would have been pretty tough for me even if I didn't get injured in my 30s.
    Joo can doo eet! Competing will motivate you and it sounds like you'll have some cool records too!

    Agree, hardcore competing seems to do strange things to bodies/minds, but some of the folks on here have done some amazing things with their bodies - including you!
    Good luck!
    Agreed, I suspect injuries (especially among the top lifters) force many folks to give up powerlifting in their late 20s and early 30's. I've been fortunate to have never suffered any serious lifting related injuries in 22 years. My most serious injuries were the result of competitive gymnastics in my teen years (major shoulder surgery).

    Thanks again for the encouragement and advice. Best of luck with your pursuit of records. Maybe we'll cross paths in the future meets.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by Episteme View Post
    I'm not interested in turning myself into a shredded skeleton. I mean no offense to any natty bodybuilders (many of them look awesome), but the current standards of getting striated glutes in drug-free shows just doesn't make much sense to me. I like the condition that guys like John Grimek, Clancy Ross, George Eiferman, Tommy Kono, and James Park were in back in the 40's and 50's. They were big, reasonably lean, and strong.

    Just my own thoughts on bodybuilding.
    I agree 100% and have said the same about those guys from that era. In my opinion the current natural bodybuilders winning good shows look better in the off season than the sunken and thin but shredded contest look.
    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.
    ~Originally posted by ironwill2008
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  21. #21
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    Looking great! Congrats OP.
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    Registered User adamgentile's Avatar
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    Looking great! Nice work. I'm with you on the natural bodybuilder in contest shape, they don't look good at all.
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    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    Excellent Work!
    On the list for Bannukah
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    God job!
    I'd like to see what you look like in four more months.
    You certainly have the discipline and dedication to make a transformation.
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    Wow!
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    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    fantastic work! What were the numbers? 20 pounds in 4 months? Sounds like about a 500 calorie per day deficit, yes? How high did you keep your protein?
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    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tkdnj View Post
    fantastic work! What were the numbers? 20 pounds in 4 months? Sounds like about a 500 calorie per day deficit, yes? How high did you keep your protein?
    Thanks very much. You're just about right on the mark.

    4.5 months, about 25 lbs. lost total. I didn't count calories, but I kept a good bead on carbs and protein. The first couple of months were very strict, and I tried to keep carbs below 100 on non-training days. Protein is kept at 250-300 a day.

    I do intermittent fasting (it just plain works for me), and have been doing it for nearly a year. I eat within a 6-8 hour window, and I time my training within that window.

    Now that I'm 160 lbs, and reasonably lean, my carbs have been raised to maintain weight. I am still seeing gradual improvements in composition while maintaining weight. I squat twice per week, one day being a 20 rep breathing squat superset with the pullover. That really ramps up the metabolism. I Bench Press once per week, overhead press once per week, and throw in weighted chins and two or three accessory movements (including abs). Cardio is 20 mins 4 times per week on a treadmill, a mile at a 20 min. pace.

    This is super easy and sustainable.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
    Best competition lift: Bench Press, 300 lbs.@ 174 (RAW)
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    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    God job!
    I'd like to see what you look like in four more months.
    You certainly have the discipline and dedication to make a transformation.

    Thanks. I plan to maintain weight and just make improvements in body composition. I've been lifting for 22 years, so I don't expect to add a ton more muscle. Bringing up some weak points (quads, calves and delts) would be great.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
    Best competition lift: Bench Press, 300 lbs.@ 174 (RAW)
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    Registered User userTIIZOIYRK5R's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Episteme View Post
    Thanks very much. You're just about right on the mark.

    4.5 months, about 25 lbs. lost total. I didn't count calories, but I kept a good bead on carbs and protein. The first couple of months were very strict, and I tried to keep carbs below 100 on non-training days. Protein is kept at 250-300 a day.

    I do intermittent fasting (it just plain works for me), and have been doing it for nearly a year. I eat within a 6-8 hour window, and I time my training within that window.

    Now that I'm 160 lbs, and reasonably lean, my carbs have been raised to maintain weight. I am still seeing gradual improvements in composition while maintaining weight. I squat twice per week, one day being a 20 rep breathing squat superset with the pullover. That really ramps up the metabolism. I Bench Press once per week, overhead press once per week, and throw in weighted chins and two or three accessory movements (including abs). Cardio is 20 mins 4 times per week on a treadmill, a mile at a 20 min. pace.



    This is super easy and sustainable.
    How are you sure that it's intermittent fasting doing most of the magic that "just plain work for me" and not your killer workout/squatting/diet?

    I may just back into the intermittent fasting fray.

    So you are not counting calories at all? Just eating mostly protein while keeping carbs below 100 grams? what about your fats..Seems you've have to keep fats relatively low as well I find if do that my libido takes a major hit..
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    Registered User Episteme's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by userTIIZOIYRK5R View Post
    How are you sure that it's intermittent fasting doing most of the magic that "just plain work for me" and not your killer workout/squatting/diet?

    I may just back into the intermittent fasting fray.

    So you are not counting calories at all? Just eating mostly protein while keeping carbs below 100 grams? what about your fats..Seems you've have to keep fats relatively low as well I find if do that my libido takes a major hit..
    I've been training very hard and consistently for 22 years (even trained at local gyms during my honeymoon in HI). I had a very solid base of size and strength before I did this cutting period. (I had benched over 335 lbs, had upper arms that measured over 17.5 inches cold), so everyone's results will vary depending on where you start from.

    Here's a look at my eating, in more detail:
    1) first meal at 3:00pm- 10 ounces of egg whites, 25 grams of micellar casein, 50 grams of whey, with leucine, glutamine, creatine, arginine. One banana. 2) Dinner at 5-6pm: aim for 50 grams of animal protein, a carb (potato, rice, oatmeal, and veggies). usually more egg whites. 3) pre workout and intra- clusterdextrin with aminos. Post workout- 50 grams micellar casein. 4) before bed: 6 whole eggs, oatmeal, banana, and more egg whites and whey.

    As you can see, fats are not kept that low. Just controlling for junk food (none of it) and making sure protein is HIGH).


    YMMV. good luck
    Lifting is 3 times a week. squat, bench and deadlift each once a week, combined with accessory movements (chin ups, overhead press, etc). It's really quite minimalist but brutally hard.
    "Slow and steady wins the race."
    Best competition lift: Bench Press, 300 lbs.@ 174 (RAW)
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