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  1. #1
    Registered User Seqhael's Avatar
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    Post Starting to lose muscle during cut 11 weeks in, where to from here?

    Hi all, hope someone can help

    As a detrained lifter (lifted hard for 8 years, took 4 years off to travel and another 2 on/off (but mostly off lol) getting back into it), I decided to get back into the gym and cut down before trying to pack on muscle. I've never cut before, only "perma-bulked" when I was younger.

    WEEK 1: I started my cut 11 weeks ago getting an initial scan at 222lbs (101kg) // 19.1% body fat, 6'1", 104lbs (47.2kg) skeletal muscle mass

    WEEK 6: I went to get a scan, I'd lost 2.5% body fat to be 16.6%, however, bizarrely gained nearly 2lbs (800g) of muscle. I hadn't started counting calories at this point and had not made any adjustments to a very high-calorie less-than-ideal diet, only added in gym 3 days/wk and CrossFit 3 days/wk. After this scan, I started counting calories and cleaned up my diet. I started eating about 2800 cals a day, I work as a builder.

    WEEK 9: I had another scan, I'd lost another 1.8% body fat to be 14.8%, but lost 1.3lbs muscle (600g), the majority of the initial muscle gain. The dude who did the scan recommended I upped my protein, which I upped from like 1.7g per KG of body weight to 2.7g/kgBW. I also noticed I was quite tired in the gym and my strength was starting to decrease. I dropped my fat to 20% and upped my carbs much higher instead to fuel the workouts. Still 2800 cals, maybe this was too low? But my body fat loss isn't excessively fast..

    WEEK 11: (today) I went for another scan, I'd lost a further 0.9% body fat to put me at 13.9% bf, and lost a further 0.9lbs (400g) muscle.

    So from day 1, I have lost about 5.2% body fat and lost 0.44lbs (200g) muscle total. I am now 208lbs (94.3kg), 13.9%bf, 103.6lbs (47kg) SMM. The guy who did the scan suggested maybe I'm not eating enough carbs with my protein? Which I'm not really.. just complex carbs up until a couple of hours before I train where I eat the majority of my carbs.

    I'm going to continue cutting until under 10%, but I want to spare as much muscle as possible. Either way, in one month I'm going to take a couple of weeks off during Christmas before pushing to get below 10%. What should I do? Up my daily cals, even at 11 weeks in? I could up the cals and add some morning exercise bike 2-3x a week?

    Please advise this novice shredder how to proceed ������
    Last edited by Seqhael; 11-21-2020 at 05:06 PM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Is this a BIA scan? Those cannot be relied on. Hence your phantom muscle gains earlier on too.

    If you haven't lost strength, you probably didn't lose muscle either. As long as you keep weight loss under 1% per week, it should be OK. There is no specific need for a certain amount of carbs.
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    Registered User Seqhael's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Is this a BIA scan? Those cannot be relied on. Hence your phantom muscle gains earlier on too.

    If you haven't lost strength, you probably didn't lose muscle either. As long as you keep weight loss under 1% per week, it should be OK. There is no specific need for a certain amount of carbs.
    What's interesting is that my strength directly corresponded to the increase and subsequent decrease in muscle mass in the scan. I hit peak strength around the 6 week mark where the scan said I'd gained muscle mass, then I cleaned up my diet and found my strength to be slipping away for the last 5 or so weeks, along with the muscle mass in the scans.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    That could be confirmation bias. Although strength is largely determined by muscle mass, it's not that precise and is only a reasonable indicator over longer spans of time. It could be that at those times you were eating a little more and muscle glycogen was higher. This would give you more energy and would also fool a BIA test about how much lean muscle mass you have.

    Again, if that's a BIA device, I would ignore the results. As long as you are cutting at a reasonable rate and maintaining strength over the long term, it's all fine.

    Pictures would help a lot when giving advice - we can also tell you how far off the BF% estimate is likely to be.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seqhael View Post
    What's interesting is that my strength directly corresponded to the increase and subsequent decrease in muscle mass in the scan. I hit peak strength around the 6 week mark where the scan said I'd gained muscle mass, then I cleaned up my diet and found my strength to be slipping away for the last 5 or so weeks, along with the muscle mass in the scans.
    I wouldn't take the performance fluctuations to mean much unless you were in a highly trained state.
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    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    If your "scans" were based on some bio-impedance device then they were essentially worthless and wasting your time and money.
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