How to Maintain Muscle While Cutting

If your goal is to get shredded, your main focus during a cut should not be just weight loss, it should be fat loss with muscle maintenance.

Losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean your body composition (the fat to muscle ratio in your body) is improving. That is because some of the lost weight may actually be muscle mass.

Crash dieters often experience this disappointment. They lose weight fast in an effort to lose fat fast but discover than they look just as soft and flabby as before even though they are 5-10lbs (2.5-4.5kg) lighter. Here’s what I mean:

I’m sure this is not your goal physique. 

From this article you’ll learn why some people lose muscle when they diet and what you need to do to avoid that. Actually, if you’re a beginner or intermediate, by using this system you’ll not only avoid muscle loss, you may actually be able to gain some muscle while leaning down!

Let’s get started!

*Please note that these recommendations mostly apply to the people who want to drop below 13-14% body fat (22-25% for women) because that’s the point where losing muscle mass can become an issue. If you have a lot of fat to lose, you really don’t need to concern yourself with more than maintaining a caloric deficit and eating a decent amount of protein.

How to avoid muscle loss on a cut

1. Set a Moderate Caloric Deficit

Most people know they have to eat fewer calories than they burn to lose fat. However, some take it to extreme, eat very little calories and as a result experience strength and muscle loss. That is because a very large energy deficit decreases protein synthesis rates and negatively affects training performance.

The solution?

Set a moderate deficit. A good deficit restricts only enough energy to force your body to burn body fat, but not enough to interfere with muscle recovery and growth. That usually means 20-25% under maintenance.

How do you set the deficit?

For fat loss you should eat between 9.5 and 13 kcal per pound of body weight everyday.

  • Those that are very active (manual labor + weight training and sports) should use the top range of the interval (12-13 kcal x bw in lbs).
  • Those who are very sedentary (only weight training at the gym and just sitting down the rest of the time) should use the lowest end of the interval (9.5-10.5 kcal x bw in lbs)
  • Those who are mostly sedentary (only weight training at the gym and daily brief walks) should use the low end of the interval as well (11 kcal x bw in lbs)
  • Those moderately active (weight training + walking and sports from time to time) should use the middle range of the interval (11-12 kcal x bw in lbs)
  • Those who are significantly overweight should use the low end of the interval (9.5-11lbs) regardless of their activity level because in the beginning they can lose fat fast without negative effects.  When they reach a “normal” weight, they will decrease their energy deficit.

Examples:

A guy weighing 165 lbs who trains 3 times a week, walks to work or school and plays sports in the weekend would set up his calorie intake like this: 165 x 11 = 1815 kcal a day. (he is moderately active so he goes with 11 kcal)

A guy weighing 240 lbs who has a desk job and does little to no physical activity would set up his calorie intake like this: 240 x 9.5 = 2280 kcal a day. (he has a lot of fat to lose so he goes with the lowest number)

A guy weighing 170 lbs who works in constructions and goes to the gym 3 times a week would set up his calorie intake like this: 170 x 13 = 2210 kcal (he burns a lot of calories due to his work therefore he must eat more)

How do you create the calorie deficit? 

The calorie deficit should be created primarily through the diet and not cardio. That is because excessive cardio interferes with weightlifting performance.

The caloric deficit already has negative effects of the anabolic hormones and decreases protein synthesis therefore creating most of your deficit through cardio would only serve to increase the risk of muscle and performance loss.

A good rule of thumb is to create 80% of your deficit through diet modifications and only 20% of it through cardio.

2.1 Eat enough protein (and a good balance of fats and carbs) 

Optimal protein intake plays a major role in preventing muscle loss during a cut (or supporting muscle growth in the case of beginners/intermediates).

When you lose weight, the body losses more amino-acids that it retains and for that reason you must eat more dietary protein.

“Think of your caloric deficit as a lion that’s about to eat you. If you give the lion another source of meat, you might be able to get away without getting bitten.” Armi Legge

Studies show that 1-1.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight is ideal for fat loss. That’s what I recommend also.

So a 165 lbs male would eat about 165 grams of protein a day. A guy weighing 176 would eat about 175-180 g of protein a day. It’s really simple.

This formula does not apply for those significantly overweight. Protein is important for the maintenance of lean mass but in their case a big part of their body weight is fat. For them I’d recommend a smaller intake of protein, about 0.8g per lb of bw. So a guy at 220 lbs would eat 220 x 0.8 = 175g of protein a day. When he gets to a lower body fat level, he can increase his protein intake.

What about fats and carbs?

Fats are important for basic health. A diet very low in fats leads to hormonal imbalance, including testosterone. On the other hand, a high fat diet does not support muscle growth and strength (because it doesn’t leave much room for carbohydrates) and is also bad for satiety (fats are the most nutrient dense nutrient).

For this rease I recommend you set fat intake at 25% of total calories.

This moderate intake is enough to stimulate anabolic hormone release and also leaves plenty of room for carbs.

So the 165lbs guy who eats 1815 kcal/day will eat 1815 x 0.25 = 453 kcal from fats. This means 50g of fat because 1 gram has 9 calories (453 / 9 = 50).

The rest of the calories will come from carbohydrates which will preferably be the dominating macronutrient. This is mainly because carbohydrates support recovery and high intensity muscular work. Think of carbs as fuel for high intensity anaerobic workouts.

Carbs also support good hormonal balance. They have a great impact on leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and metabolism. High carbs will also support testosterone production and promote relaxation and better quality of sleep (some people can’t sleep if they go low carb).

To calculate carbs multiply grams of protein by 4 and grams of fat by 9 and then add these two numbers together. Next, subtract this number from total calories. Take that number and divide it by 4 to get grams of carbs per day (1 gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories).

Let’s take the 165 lbs male again and find out his carb intake. He eats 165g of protein (660 kcal), 50g fats (450 kcal) from the total of 1815. 1815 – 660 – 450 means he has 705 kcal left for carbohydrates. 705 dived by 4 means 176g of carbs.

Final numbers for this example

So the final diet numbers for the 165 lbs male who is moderately active are: 1815 total calories from 165g protein, 50g fats and 175g carbohydrates.

2.2 Maintain Training Intensity 

Training your muscles with the same intensity is the most important factor for maintaining muscle mass during a cut. It’s more important that adequate protein intake for this purpose.

The reason for this is because your muscles were forced to adapt to their current level by lifting heavy weights. If you remove the stimulus that caused the adaptation (the heavy weights), then you will lose it.

According to Lyle McDonald, when the goal is muscle retention the total workout volume can be reduced by 2/3rds as long as the intensity stays the same. Put another way, you could maintain volume and frequency at the same level but if you cut intensity, you will lose the adaptation.

Now that doesn’t mean we should reduce volume by 2/3rds, it’s just good to know that we can. An energy deficit is also a recovery deficit so if we’re losing strength on a cut, changing to a lower volume routine may be beneficial.

A routine I like for cutting is the one below. It allows for strength maintenance (or sometimes gains) with very little volume.

Monday – Back and Shoulders

  • Weighted Chin ups: 4-6, 5-7, 6-8 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
  • Standing Barbell Press: 6, 8, 10 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
  • Wide Grip Cable Rows: 10, 12 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 (Straight Sets)

Wednesday – Legs and Biceps

  • Sumo Deadlift: 3 sets of 6 reps
  • One Legged Squats (Pistols): 2 set of 6 reps per leg
  • Standing Barbell Curls: 6, 8, 10 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
  • Standing Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 6-10 (Straight Sets)
  • Standing One Leg Calf Raises: 3 sets x failure

Friday – Chest & Triceps

  • Incline Barbell Bench Press: 6, 8, 10 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
  • Flat Barbell Bench Press: 6, 8 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
  • Rope Extensions: 3 sets of 6-10 (Straight Sets)
  • Rear Delt Flye: 3 sets of 10-12 (Straight Sets)

Nutrition directly affects training performance

The reason macros and training intensity share the same level on the pyramid above is because nutrition is the fuel for training. You cannot have good physical performance without good nutrition.

3. Use Refeeds 

Refeeding is a planned increase of calorie and carbohydrate intake during a diet. Refeeds help counteract some of the negative metabolic adaptations caused by dieting by acutely rising leptin levels. They also help maintain good gym performance by refilling muscle glycogen.

How to set up a reefed day

In this program we’re going to have a reefed day once a week, preferably in a training day. In that day we’re going to eat 30% more calories than usual, all that surplus coming from carbs.

Example:

If you’re eating 1815 kcal in a normal day, you’re going to eat 1815 x 1.3 = 2360 kcal in your reefed day. Protein and fats remain the same and carbohydrates are increased.

Eating carbohydrates is the most effective way to increase leptin levels. In addition to that, carbs refill muscle glycogen stores which are responsabile for fueling your workouts. If you eat fats instead of carbs during a reefed day, you’re not getting these benefits. So be careful to choose clean starchy carbs such as potatoes, rice, pasta or low-fat cereal.

Be careful not to overeat though. If you eat more than 30% extra calories you’ll start to do more harm than good because you’ll offset the deficit created during the week.

How important is the refeed day?

Remember the nutritional pyramid? Nutrient timing is closer to the top which means is not that important for the average guy.

Refeeds may help increase metabolism and improve gym performance slightly but they are nowhere near as important as hitting your macros and staying consistent. Some people don’t use them at all simply because their nutrition throughout the week is on point. Refeeds become more and more important as you get leaner but for those above 10% body fat, they aren’t very important.

Also, to really help reset the drop in metabolism caused by dieting we may need to eat above maintenance for more than a single day. That would be inefficient for us because the diet would take longer or we’d have to eat very little on the other days to offset that surplus.

Note

If for some reason you happen to overeat on a random day of the week, you can count that as the reefed day.

What are your thoughts on cutting without muscle loss? Have anything else to add? Any questions? Hit me up in the comment section!


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77 Comments

  1. Kuba on June 18, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Hey,

    Would u be able to support that sentence “Studies show that 1-1.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight is ideal for fat loss” by any properly structured studies? What i have found is 0.82g/lb as the maximal daily protein intake (Phillips & Van Loon, 2011).

    • Radu Antoniu on June 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Hey Kuba,

      Yes, I base my recommendation on this study. I think it best suits our situation because it looked at resistance trained lean athletes.

      I think 0.82g/lb is great during maintenance or while bulking but during dieting a slightly higher intake is usually needed to maintain lean mass.

      • Jacob on June 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

        I havent come across this study so far! Amazing piece of info, thanks 🙂

        • Radu Antoniu on June 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm

          Glad it helped Jacob!

    • Giovanni on December 26, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Bro this is gold! I’m sure I’ll progress a lot faster.

  2. Steven sauve on August 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I’m going to try your example of a man has a hundred sixty five pounds and see how it works

    • Radu Antoniu on August 12, 2015 at 8:36 am

      Great!

      Let me know how it goes.

  3. […] a great idea for a normal day: Think,  Eat and Lift. I suggest lifting before eating, but I digress. I liked this article, but this point is worth a […]

  4. Federico on September 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Great article, very clear and easy to follow, great examples. Also no bullshit
    Liking your work so far… Keep the good stuffs coming.

    • Radu Antoniu on September 21, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks Federico !

      I appreciate your feedback 🙂

  5. Guillermo on September 23, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Radu, congrats for your great post and the very well development way to explain all your contents man (brutally easy ti catch LoL), i have a question: in relation with the weight we have to set for this formula you mean te current or the ideal weight?
    Thanks and again great job

    • Radu Antoniu on September 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks Guillermo!

      Your current weight 😉

  6. Rameez on October 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    hey Radu,

    i needed your assistance and creating my macros
    i weight 176 lbs age 24 5’7 height.. am an IT guy so am at office mostly with abit of walking around and i follow the warrior shredding program..

    can you assist on how much calories should i consume to loose fat and how much calories per day should i consume on one refeed day

    • Radu Antoniu on October 15, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Sure,

      I would do 11 calories per lb of BW
      And I would split the calories like this:
      0.9g protein per lb of BW
      25% of calories from fat
      the rest from carbs

      I don’t recommend having planned refeed days. I explain why in this post

  7. Daniel Buhaianu on October 19, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Radu,does the nutrition remain the same during an off day?

    • Radu Antoniu on October 19, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Yes.

  8. Terry on October 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Great read! I am cutting, currently 184lb goal warrior look, probably cut to 165lb. Does protein stay the same even when my goal weight of 165lb is reached?

    • Radu Antoniu on October 27, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks Terry!

      Your protein intake is related to your weight. You should get about 1g per pound of BW

  9. Chris on October 26, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Good article in general, but the routine you recommend isn’t the best idea.
    Biggest issue is frequency, working every muscle group only once a week is not optimal.
    Not enough back work either

    • Radu Antoniu on October 27, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      I agree, this isn’t for beginners. I find this works well for muscle maintenance at the intermediate level

  10. Imran on October 27, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Radu,

    Thanks for this great article. Just wanted to say after looking at fat loss articles from almost all the fitness gurus on the internet and I must say and you should feel proud that you are the best in explaining the stuff in a scientific way with great explanation. I watched your videos and was amazed to see how nicely you had explained the fact behind the matter. If you release a fatloss program…I will definitely buy it.

    Great work Radu

    • Radu Antoniu on October 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you Imran!

      I really appreciate your support and feedback!

  11. Gee on October 30, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Hi, I’m male aged 21, I used to weigh 231lbs a couple years ago but through diet I dropped to 179lbs 16.5% body fat with no exercise at all. I’ve recently started weight training, but I’m eating vegan, so I was wondering if this would have any effect on the deficit I use? (I hit upwards of 150g of protein a day at the moment, but with a 2500 cal diet, which is meant to be maintenance, I can just add more protein shakes if needed on the deficit) I was hoping you could give some advice? Thanks

    • Radu Antoniu on November 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      Hey Gee!

      You don’t need more than 150g of protein. If you get that amount and you’re in a deficit, you’re going to get great results.

  12. Raj on November 9, 2015 at 12:38 am

    HI Radu,
    I have sign dup WSP by Kinobody. My weight is 161.2 lbs and I am an IT consultant doing lots of out of hour work. Trying to cut down and get rid of the layer of subcutaneous fat around above abs and around waist (Obviously dreaming of getting to the level of greek body program 🙂 ). I am already at 31 inch at waist and height at 5 ft 10 inches. Could you please help me out in preparing calorie intake, nutrition and workout program?

    regards
    Raj

    • Radu Antoniu on November 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Hey Raj!

      The nutrition and workout plan I would recommend is that from the WSP 😀

      Follow that as it is, it works great !

  13. Mihai on December 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Great article Radu!

    A couple of questions: I currently weight 227 pounds @ 193cm with a bf of about 18%, mostly sedentary following a sports injury. So judging by your article I should aim for about 2500 kcal/day for a deficit (11 kcal/pound). Going for almost the lowest ratio of protein/pound my daily macros should look like 250p, 217c, 70f. My questions: 1) what would you eat to get so much protein without any dietary supplements. 2) you mention that carbs should be the dominating macro-nutrient, however in my case protein is 15% higher than carbs.

    Thanks!

    • Radu Antoniu on December 12, 2015 at 11:22 am

      If your body fat percentage is 18% you don’t need 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. You can do one gram for lean bodyweight instead. So it whould be 227 x 0.82 = 185 grams.
      You can even go lower, to 0.9 grams per pound. Your range can be 165-185 grams per day. You can get this from food pretty easily.

      Yes, in your case protein was set a little too high. Now carbs will be the dominating macronutrient.

  14. Christine on December 17, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Hi Radu,

    Awesome article! I started reading your articles after my powerlifting coach recommended me your article and video that you did with Greg and Eric Helms on protein needs. Since then.. I’ve basically spent today reading as many of your articles as possible haha… You are an absolute game changer in fitness!

    Just out of curiosity, whats the difference between determining calories using # x BW and other formulas such as IIFYM.com forumlar of katch mcardle? Why do we not consider factors such as height and age?

    Also you use current bodyweight. In Greg’s Aggressive Fat Loss program, he tells us to multiply by 10 with goal bodyweight. What is the difference between using goal bodyweight and current bodyweight?

    Thank you!

    Christine

    • Radu Antoniu on December 22, 2015 at 12:15 am

      Thank you Christine ! Glad it helps!

      I think determining calorie intake based in weight is the best choice because the more your body weighs the more energy it takes to move it around. Height is also important because it gives you an idea of the person’s lean body mass.

      If one person weights 200lbs at 6 feet tall he would have more LBM than someone 200lbs at 5’6. Fat mass burns less calories than LBM so this can help you make a better estimation for calorie intake in the beginning.

      I think going by current bodyweight is the best choice as you can constantly adjust calories based on feedback. I don’t know why Greg chose to recommend 10 calories for goal bodyweight. Probably to make sure people are in an aggressive deficit.

  15. Ivo on December 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Hi ! I’m male 42 years 184 pounds 190 cm . I train 6 day in the week , for example every second day with weights and on other days little bit abs and 20 minutes of interval cardio . What would you recomend for me ? 184 gr of protein ? Fats ,Carbs ? Calories ? Thx a lot ,
    Ivo

    • Radu Antoniu on December 22, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Hey Ivo,

      If you’re looking to lose fat, the guidelines given in the article will work very well. You can drop the protein intake to around 140g though. 25% fat and the rest carbs

  16. angela on December 23, 2015 at 7:17 am

    I ordered my book over a month and a half ago.. Still waiting for it?

    • Radu Antoniu on January 5, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Which book?

  17. Moonlight15 on December 30, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Daca imi setez macro-nutrientii asa cum ai zis pot folosi The Agressive Fat Loss? Cand ajung pe la 12% vreau sa folosesc pana ajung la 9% si dupa sa slaabesc controlat pana ajung la 5-6 % pentru ca vreau sa acap definitiv de grasimea din jurul taliei.

    Ce bf crezi ca am? Eu estimez… 10%

    Apropo… Mai are rost sa fac cardio? Nu pot ajunge “complet definit” si fara? O sa se duca grasimea aia doar prin alimentatie?

    P:S: Eu zic ca am cam 10% bf… Ce zici?

    • Radu Antoniu on January 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Eu nu as mai slabi acum in locul tau. Mai putin de 9% grasime arata bine doar daca ai masa musculara mai multa. In locul tau anul asta m-as concentra pe masa, sa iei vreo 5kg de muschi iar apoi cand slabesti sub 10% ai sa arati grozav!

      • Moonlight15 on January 7, 2016 at 7:04 am

        Ai dreptate,stau cat mai mult la lean bulking. Am pus 6 kg in 4 luni, la piept am crescut 15 kg. E ok?

        • Radu Antoniu on January 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

          Da e foarte bine!

  18. Moonlight15 on December 30, 2015 at 5:50 pm
    • Radu Antoniu on January 5, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Buna treaba boss!

  19. Simon on December 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Hey Radu, Thank you for all the valuable information and tips. I have gone from 312 lbs. to 202 in about a year and a half and feel great. I am 46 years old and work as an aircraft assembler for an aerospace company. I have struggled withmy weight since I was about 10 years old, but thanks to hard work, good nutrition and helpful people such as yourself I am finally reaching my goals. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on swimming vs. Running for steady state cardio? Thanx very much from Canada!

    • Radu Antoniu on January 5, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Aircraft assembler for an aerospace company – that sounds awesome man!

      You can burn calories with both of them so I’d say for fat loss they are equal. I’d personally go with swimming because it trains your whole body and can even build some muscle mass.

  20. constanza on January 25, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Hi, thanks for sharing all this info..for free =)
    I have been training with weights at the gym for 3 years and im not fat, only thick, and i want to be lean! I have always been flexible because i use common sense and im not a structured person.
    So im female, 29, years old ,5ft 3, ish, at 126 lbs now.129lbs about 3 months ago. I lift heavy without increasing weight, 15 reps, 4 sets most exercises, at least 5 or 6 times a week, 2 or 3 leg days, then chest arms shoulders and back not as strictly on the other days. Since 2 weeks ago i reincorporated from 20 to 30 mins of cardio on stairmaster or steps at least 4 times a week.

    Im not sure how much i should weight, but i need to lean out, so i will judge on looks once i get there.

    Please help me assess my macros. I dont know what i eat, mostly healthy, low sugar. I recently bought isopure zero carbs whey protein and take one spoon which is 25g of protein a day, every other day or so. And i take bcaa from 1up nutrition which has some extra stuff.

    So, following your article, my calculation is 126lb x 11 (?)= 1386 cals a day, 126g protein, 38.5g fat,133g carbs, reefed day 237g carbs.

    And, if this is correct, Whats the simplest way to keep track and measure these grams in every food? Especially if its not individually packed and labeled. Like raw chicken breast?

    Also, what is a healthy body fat % for someone like me. Last year i went from 18% to 13% according to the reader at the la fitness. I looked lean, and i dont know what happened after that. O yeah i stopped doing cardio.

    also, how much do u recommend swimming for cardio? And u count by time? Out of breath intensity? Laps? How do u make swimming an effective cardio session?i ve always done swimming but again, im not structured, i obviously dont feel the sweat, i used to swim to help relieve my sore muscles from lifting, but then i got bored again and switched to burpees and stairmaster.

    Also, what are your thoughts on fasted cardio?should i? Should i not? It doesnt feel natural for the body, but again, im not getting lean as fast as i hope.

    Helpppp!!!

    Thank you =)

    • Radu Antoniu on January 28, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Hey Constanza !

      I think you’re overthinking things. Fat loss is so easy.

      Yes I think for your weight 1400 kcal per day is bang on. Females usually have issues with accurately tracking weight because of the menstrual cycle. You’re likely still losing fat but it’s masked by water retention. So don’t worry if your weight on the scale stalls for ~10 days at a time. After that you’ll experience the “whoosh effect” where you lose a few lbs over night.

      You can do 2-4 hours of cardio per week. If you’re not interested in conditioning, only fat loss then you don’t even need to track progress. You do cardio for the simple act of burning some calories and everything works.

      Maintain a moderate calorie deficit every day and be patient 😉

      Oh and regarding the question about food. I use a food scale and the site http://www.calorieking.com

  21. Andria on February 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you for the article, but I think you could stand to define what training intensity means. Certainly, I understand training frequency. I think training volume pertains to the number of sets/reps your perform. What is the intensity?? Do you mean maintaining the same amount of weight on the bar??

    • Radu Antoniu on February 8, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      Yes,
      Volume means the total number of reps you do.
      Intensity means how close you are to your one repetition maximum. For example if you can lift 100kg for one rep, 80kg is 80% of your 1RM
      Intensity is measured as a percentage of 1RM

  22. Sourav kar on February 21, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Can u pls add sme pic wid the trainning shedule….its very hard to identify which particular items of training u ve suggested!!!

  23. Caleb on February 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    If I am training 5 times per week (Chest & Triceps, Back & Biceps, Shoulders & legs, Chest & Triceps 2, and Back & Biceps 2) and I am eating 2,000 calories a day. I usually do 3 sets per exercise and 4 exercises per body part, all in the 6-12 range. Am I over training? I am 73 inches tall and weigh 180 pounds. I am 18 years old.

    • Radu Antoniu on February 28, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      You’re almost certainly not overtraining. However, the volume is probably too high for your training experience.

      If you’re an intermediate lifter you can do around 100 reps per body part per week (in the 5-8 rep range) and grow very well. It’s best to keep volume low in the beginning. Do as little as you can while still making strength gains

  24. Simon on February 23, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Hey Radu,

    I would like your assistance creating my macros
    Weight: 208 lb
    Height: 5”9
    Body Fat: 25%

    I weight train 4 times a week.

    • Radu Antoniu on February 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Hey Simon,

      I assume you want fat loss. I recommend this: 2300kcal, 150g of protein

  25. David Stafford on February 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Radu,
    Not entirely sure which activity range I must use.
    I work out and play sports 3 times a week, I do HIIT twice a week, and I walk about 5km on my least active days. Not sure if I should times my weight in pounds by 10, 11, 12 or 13 kcal. What would you suggest?
    Thanks, Dave

    • Radu Antoniu on February 28, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Hey David,
      I would start with 12kcal per pound. You’ll probably need to adjust your intake anyway after the first week so you can start with 12.

  26. Tanbir Nandra on March 1, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Hello Radu could you help me figure out my deficit as well?

    I’m am:

    5’9″
    132 lbs
    Roughly 13% body fat
    I am currently using myfitnesspal to track my food, the app recommends 2000 calories a day for 0.5 lbs a week fat loss, could you give some insight on this?

    I walk around 6000 steps per day (5km) and I do low intensity dancing 5 days a week. What would my intake look like at a moderate deficit? Thank you.

  27. Joel on March 9, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Hey radu I’m looking to drop body fat fast I weight 255 lift 3 days a week looking to increase it to 5 and I am 35 percent body fat could you help me with macros and calorie needs. I also have a desk job should I set my formula to 255×9.5 since I need to loose more fat and the calories that the formula shows is that going to be the calories I need to lose weight or should I take 20 percent off of that? I’ve been a long time sub on your YouTube page

  28. Shreyas Nehru on March 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Hi radu
    Can u please set me up with a diet to fat loss
    Weight 82kg
    Height 6″
    Fat 23%
    Age 17
    Thank you 🙂

  29. Richard on March 16, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Great info radu,

    I have a question since I read in several articles on your site and mini body about fasting in the morning and eating around 2pm but I noticed that you usually train in the afternoon.
    I my case I have to train early in the morning at 7am so in that case what to do as i don’t want to lose muscle so I have to at least eat some protein and carbs after the gym for recovery purpose.

    Thank you

  30. Tricia Tan on April 29, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Hi Radu! Help please? I need to know my deficit..

    I’m female, 90 lbs, 4’10 and 26 years old. I weight train 3 days/week and 1 day for cardio. My goal is to lose fat (on the abdominal area) and build muscles. I have a strict diet of low carb and high protein (1 gram/body weight) but i feel that i am also losing weight? Please help..

    • Radu Antoniu on April 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Hey Tricia!

      Use this calculator. You just have to insert your bodyweight and it will calculate for you

  31. Jake on May 6, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Radu,

    I’ve lost about 46 lbs in the past 5 months and my goal now it to get shredded. I’m at about 168 lbs, 5’9, 39 years old, and am assuming I need to hit around 155 lbs before I can really see my abs. I do run/walk about 5 miles a day (7 days a week) and am doing some weight training about 3 to 4 days a week. I do have some muscle definition but at this point am wondering if I should cut back on the cardio. I still want to lose weight and am afraid that I may be losing muscle mass instead of fat. I do get about 210 grams of protein a day. I am assuming my body fat % is around 14% at this time. How many calories should I get a day without losing muscle?

  32. Eric on May 10, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Radu,
    I need your help. I`m 15 years old and i’m weighing 69 and i’m 1,72 heigh. I really want to lose fat for the summer holidays and my girlfriend wants me to lose weight but start lifting to. I’m moderately active and I play basketball 3-4 times a week. Should I start lifting for her and should i start cardio now???
    Your help would be really awesome 🙂

  33. Hrishikesh on May 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I almost have a body (5’7″ 67kg 33 waist : footballer+engineer) similar to your brother had 5 weeks before he started training (I can see my top 4 abs faintly too, it’s just the small tyre below that is concerning me).You explained a way to fast by skipping the breakfast and just having black coffee. But the thing is I cannot start a day without breakfast(my breakfast includes 1 mug of milk) and expect to work normally throughout the day (as an engineer). I mean I know I can bring down my body fat% from 15 to 10 in 5 weeks, but only if only have 1 agenda on my list i.e getting lean. Which is practically becoming impossible with the hectic schedule of exams n stuff. (Sorry if I sound like a crybaby, but I genuinely want a clear cut reply from you Radu, thanks!) Can you provide a solution for this? Or maybe just some inspiration…

  34. Aron Feller on May 14, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Hey radu,
    i used to play a lot of sports in the past ( boxing , football etc ..)
    But i stopped 1 year ago , and i eated very unhealthy.
    I want to get in shape again . I am following you’re articles , they are very helpful .
    I started 5days ago with counting my calories , it worked great but i think i am losing to fast weight , can you please check my macros an calorie need to lose fat?
    .
    I am 19 years old , 96.3 kg , 182 cm , i am probably around 20-25 % body fat.
    5 days ago i was 100.4 kg,
    My calorie intake is : 1900 /165 grams Protein /191 grams Carbs / 52,77 grams Fats.

  35. Amm on May 14, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Radu and great work your doing.

    I do have one ting to ask about.

     

    I am 170 cm, 81 kg, and workout 3-4 times/ week. The outher days I go for walks.

    I am going for 2100 Kcal and how do I need to think of my setup of macros?

    Carbs 100 g
    protein 180 g

    Fat 100 g

     

    Is that ok or should i do som adjustments, how?

    I am doing the greek-program

     

    Best regards

  36. Kevin rojas on June 23, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Hey Radu I’m 17 years old,I’m 5’8 and weigh about 158 with a 16% body fat.i workout about 5-6 times a day and work from fri-mon at a job that is somewhat active,I work at little ceasars.what should my caloric intake be and do I subtract my body fat with my current weight in order to find out my macros? And also should I do cardio if I’m fasting from 9am-6 or 7 pm

  37. liton das on July 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Hey radu taking 85 gram of protein for making muscle mass can i does with the help. Because this is what i can manage only help me body weight 149.6 pound height 5.10″

  38. Nabil on July 13, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Hello Radu,
    1.- Will doing weight training on even days with slight caloric surplus for those days and aerobics on odd days with steep caloric deficit for those days (with a net total caloric deficit for the week) result in fat loss and muscle growth?
    2.- can an average built man in his 50’s achieve a shredded look with proper nutrition and training? Thanks!

  39. Andrea on July 16, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Hi Radu, I absolutely love your videos! Although I feel most of your videos are cater to men, would the same cutting logic apply to women?

    I have been in a major weight loss plateau for 4 months struggling to reach my desired goal weight and lean physique. I only have 10 more pounds to lose, and my goal is to be at 20% body fat or less (if possible). Are you able to help calculate what my daily caloric deficit should be to reach my goal? And if I follow your formula, how long do you think it will take me to reach my goal?

    Here are my stats:
    34, woman
    5’1′
    132 lbs
    Body fat % 35
    Body type: Endo/mesomorph (more so Endo. UGH.)
    *I do 16 hour daily IT only Mon – Fri
    *Full body weight training: 2 times/week, for 60mins each session
    *Cardio: 1 – 2 times per week, doing HIIT or Spin Class

    Thanks so much Radu!

    Btw – Do you have female clients? I’m interested in your consultation.

    -Andrea Oxoxo

  40. RV on October 4, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Hello Radu iam watching a lot of your videos and its fantastic system. Everything makes so much sense. Iam a beginner and i already have pretty solid overview of nutrition, calorie deficit, cutting, bulking, thanks to you. But i have one question regarding protein amount.

    Iam 179 lbs at 15% bf (191cm tall guy). Iam now cutting. You say i should be consuming between 1-1.3g of protein / lbs – thats 179 – 232g of protein.

    That sounds like impossible to achieve in real life. If i would eat one of the purest proteins – skinless turkey breasts (30g protein per 100g cooked, roasted) id have to eat more than 1/2 kilo of breasts every day (232/30=7.7) – 700 grams of turkey every single day !!!!

    Even when i choose artificial protein – 80% whey protein powder (80g protein per 100g) id have to drink 3x a day 100g of powder (80 * 3 = 240g protein – thats like 25 scoops every day) – thats a litlle mountain of protein powder every day. With a 2.2kg tub of powder id have to buy 1 tub every week (2200g / 300 = 7.33). Thats 70 USD every week in protein powder.

    Even if i would want to split between real food and supplments id have to drink 2 x 100g (16 scoops – 8 scoops per shake) of powder (160g of protein) and still would have to buy 250g of turkey breast (75g of protein) EVERY SINGLE DAY. THATS INSANE.

    Further when i count kcal intake of breasts and shakes (which contain also some little fat and carbs) aim getting 780kcal for 2 shakes + 340kcal for 250g turkey = 1120kcal

    My cutting budget is 1790kcal (179lbs x 10kcal) minus protein requirements = 670 kcal left for carbs and fat.

    I guess my math is pretty sound, but i just cant imagine eating and drinking so much turkey breasts and protein powder every day. The cost for protein powder would be astronomical. The 0.7 KG of turkey breats EVERY DAY isnt cheap either.

    My protein suplement manufacturer’s recomended dosage is 25g of powder 2-3 times a day – thats 75g of powder – your figures would require 200g of powder (+ turkey breasts) that sounds like total overkill compared to suplement manufacturer’s recommendation.

    And last but not least – i read somewhere the protein digestion is limited to 30g in couple hours – which would corespond to manufacturer’s sugestion 25g x 3 a day – but how am i supposed to spread 200g of powder throughout the day – i would have to be taking shake shots every 1-2 hours to spread 200g of powder throughout the day + still need to eat 250g of turkey.

    It just doesnt make sense in real life.

    • Radu Antoniu on October 5, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      I know that feeling. And yes your math is solid – that’s the reality.

      However, you’re missing the fact that you get protein from your carb sources as well. If you eat potatoes, bread, veggies (any type of carbs really) you get some trace protein as well. Usually it adds up to about 40-60 grams a day. Then, you could eat something like this: 3-4 eggs, 200g of chicken breast, 100g of cheese, one or two scoops of protein powder and you reached your target.

      • RV on October 8, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        Well suprisngly i dont have much time now to prepare any meals before work and the stuff you get in restaurants and fastfood around my workplace (city center) is aimed at TASTE not kcal and Protein/Fat/Carb pecentage. So to cut story short i opted to go with the “little mountain” of protein powder every day for couple weeks to get from 16%bf to 10%bf – to get 190g of protein (176lbs * 1.1 g/lbs) every day into my body during cut i prepare two 600ml protein shakes. For each shake its 100g of protein powder (4-5 HEAPED spoons of powder) = 100g * 80% protein = 80g protein in each 600ml shake. Times 2 shakes = 190g of protein ready for the entire day in my bag. I drink 1/3 of the shake every 1-2 hours (this gives me 6 shots of protein a day each, shot little over 30g protein – easier to digest and absorb, i guess). The powder has a benefit of being super clean (minimum fat and carbs) so even with a “little mountain” of powder every day it “only” makes 930 kcal and i still have 500-700 kcal to spend on carbs and fat every day – YEAY. One downside is that i use high quality UK suplement manufacturer (wont mention brand but its leading UK based brand) and 2200g tub costs 70USD – and id need aprox. 3 tubs a month (2200 / 200 = 11 days) – thats 210 USD a month for protein powder. I know there are cheaper brands but i dont want any dubious sources – this is my future body iam building here from this protein, why stint 🙂

        well i dont know if this is long-term sustainable practice (200g of protein powder every day) but for now its the most convenient one and give me time to design my fitness plan and meal plan that i can fit with inner-city job – after 4 days drinking 200g of powder i feel energised, with no hunger issues, no digestive issues – lets see in 30 days…

        any comments Radu ? iam obviously aware that real food (turkey, eggs, cottage cheese) has so many benefits opposed to powder, but i can choose between becoming obsesed and frustrated with calories in food from day one or cheat a little with powder and make my journey a little easier and less cumbersome to start with 🙂

  41. Aaron McDaniel on October 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Radu,

    I’ve been watching a lot of your material along with Greg’s, and it’s fantastic. I’ve been following the Greek god program for a little over 3 months now. I’m 5’8″ and I started at 165lbs, which doesn’t sound like much, but I was around 22% body fat (with a waist measurement of 33.5″). I’ve reduced that body fat to around 148 lbs and 12-12.5% body fat now (with a waist measurement of 32.2″). However, I would like to get to around 9-10% body fat. I work a desk job and workout 4 times a week(the Greek god program plus a leg day). If I cut based on the caloric deficit in this article, I would need to only eat 1406 calories a day (148*9.5). Would this really be the correct caloric deficit for me to cut that 3-3.5% body fat?

    • Radu Antoniu on October 8, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Hey Aaron!

      I think 1400 calories may be too low. I would start with 1600 calories. That should be enough of a deficit to produce fast fat loss. However, if that is not enough (not losing about 0.5-1 lb a week), do a bit more walking every week. If you walk and extra hour or two per week more you can burn 500-700 calories which will increase your deficit.

      • Aaron McDaniel on October 11, 2016 at 4:11 am

        Thanks Radu! I’ll give that a shot. Thank you for the feedback!

  42. Utkarsh on December 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I think you have great information bro. I knew most of it but the way you convey it and the way you relate is amazing. Great work. Also, I wanted to know if I can have that kind of protein intake without any supplements or anything?

  43. Prashanth on January 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Hi Radu,

    Awesome article. Currently I am following the Warrior Shredding Program. However in workout B I am currently unable to do even on Pistol Squat. The variations given by Greg is Reverse lunge and Bulgarian Split squats. When I did these, I notice both of these hit more hard on glutes more than the quads. Is it ok to include Barbell Squats until I can build the strength to squat my body weight and then try pistols. Kindly let me know if any other variations can be done too to progress.

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