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Thread: Cutting: average 2lb loss/week or 2lb week max?

  1. #1
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    Cutting: average 2lb loss/week or 2lb week max?

    Here's my situation: I've been cutting for 5 weeks now and have been averaging about 2 pounds a week.

    Key word is "averaging." The first 3 weeks I lost about 2 pounds a week, right on target.

    The fourth week I lost half a pound, for a few reasons:

    1. I realized I was not drinking as much as I should (sore joints and retrospect), and increased my water intake. This could put a "lag" in my weight loss as the body adapts
    2. We hosted a football party with some delicious turtle cake. The woman who made it insisted we keep the leftovers... I did pretty well but I know that thing had tons of calories.
    3. Migraines ... affected my physical activity level. They are chronic but I've kept them pretty well managed.
    4. Emotionally loaded week. I'm normally not an emotional guy but it was the anniversary of a lifechanging event.

    The fifth week I lost about 3.5 pounds. I did maybe an extra hour of cardio total over the week above and beyond the proceeding weeks. Regular lifting schedule, hit my normal totals. I did add farmers' walks... but they are still fairly light and short. I certainly didn't starve myself or feel like I needed to eat more.

    So averaging it I lost 2lb/week but 3lbs+ over 4 to 5 days ... is this OK or do I need to put more calories in the tank?

    I don't strictly track macros. I do make sure I get 180+g protein per day (6'0" 195lb, 13-18%BF). I do favor fat over carbs. I basically started the diet by cutting portions in meals on the order of a few hundred calories/day and kept it there. Haven't needed to drop it further, may need to raise it (?)

    -philip

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    As long as your are still progressing toward your goal you dont need to make any changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fanelli View Post
    As long as your are still progressing toward your goal you dont need to make any changes.
    My concern is losing lean body mass. I guess as long as I am still hitting my lifts, that's the best indicator I have of retaining LBM.

    My goal is to get rid of a slab of body fat I've had over my gut for 10 years now, since entering college. I don't need abs, I don't need a certain BF%, just want that lagging hunk of fat gone, then I'll just watch my weight and slowly add lean mass over time. My body however seems to start at the ankles and wrists and melt in, my arms are very defined, veins visible and starting to pop, yet I've only lost 1-2" on the gut

    philip
    Last edited by everphilski; 02-07-2011 at 10:44 AM.

  4. #4
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    5 weeks is too brief to really tell anything.

    In general you're going to lose more weight the first couple weeks. You have to completely ignore any single weigh in, it means nothing and can vary up or down for a million reasons. Only when watching the trend do you know whether you're really losing weight or not and at what rate you are losing.

    I would suggest weighing every morning first thing in the morning. Post bathroom use but pre eating or drinking anything. Write down this weight everyday and over a few weeks you watch the trend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    I would suggest weighing every morning first thing in the morning. Post bathroom use but pre eating or drinking anything. Write down this weight everyday and over a few weeks you watch the trend.
    This is precisely what I am doing. I wake up, pee, drop boxers and weigh. I know day-to-day will fluctuate but it is the trend over the week, and the trend in week four was virutally flat with a very sharp drop week 5.

    Again, as long as I keep my strength, I presume I am keeping most my muscle (barring some magical improvement to lifting form is compensating), and I'm happy if this changes I'll add the cals back in.

    I'm doing 3x5 on lifts, essentially close to SS but with a few small tweaks, and I'm not doing the progression during the cut just lifting heaving.

    philip

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    Quote Originally Posted by everphilski View Post
    This is precisely what I am doing. I wake up, pee, drop boxers and weigh. I know day-to-day will fluctuate but it is the trend over the week, and the trend in week four was virutally flat with a very sharp drop week 5.

    Again, as long as I keep my strength, I presume I am keeping most my muscle (barring some magical improvement to lifting form is compensating), and I'm happy if this changes I'll add the cals back in.

    I'm doing 3x5 on lifts, essentially close to SS but with a few small tweaks, and I'm not doing the progression during the cut just lifting heaving.

    philip
    So when you "lose 3+ pounds over 4 to 5 days" that is not just a fluctuation in weight? It was my understanding you were just describing a dip in weight which should not merit "adding calories back in". If you're regularly experiencing dips of 3+ lbs that do not fluctuate back up, then yes you're losing too quick IMO. But if it's just a dip and you're monitoring daily then I see no reason for concern, it's all in the realm of normal fluctuation.
    accuflex - LOLZZZZ!!!11one1!! SOEM PPL WORK THRE ARMZ!!!!11!! LETS KILL THEM111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    So when you "lose 3+ pounds over 4 to 5 days" that is not just a fluctuation in weight? It was my understanding you were just describing a dip in weight which should not merit "adding calories back in". If you're regularly experiencing dips of 3+ lbs that do not fluctuate back up, then yes you're losing too quick IMO. But if it's just a dip and you're monitoring daily then I see no reason for concern, it's all in the realm of normal fluctuation.
    I lost 3 pounds last week. Sorry if my use of the word dip was ambiguous. My weight went down by 3 pounds. I was 198.4 the beginning of last week, yesterday I was 194.8, this morning 195.2 (4/10ths of a pound is "in the noise" of course).

    So I guess if this rate is ongoing, I should probably add some calories back in right?

    philip

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    Quote Originally Posted by everphilski View Post
    I lost 3 pounds last week. Sorry if my use of the word dip was ambiguous. My weight went down by 3 pounds. I was 198.4 the beginning of last week, yesterday I was 194.8, this morning 195.2 (4/10ths of a pound is "in the noise" of course).

    So I guess if this rate is ongoing, I should probably add some calories back in right?

    philip

    ...losing 3lbs in the matter of a week is all in the realm of fluctuation. 3 weights mean nothing.
    accuflex - LOLZZZZ!!!11one1!! SOEM PPL WORK THRE ARMZ!!!!11!! LETS KILL THEM111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    ...losing 3lbs in the matter of a week is all in the realm of fluctuation. 3 weights mean nothing.
    ... as long as it isn't 3 pounds this week, and the week after, correct?

    Kind of what I'm trying to get at... once it's OK but if it's 3lbs next week then I should up my calories, right?

    philip

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    Quote Originally Posted by everphilski View Post
    ... as long as it isn't 3 pounds this week, and the week after, correct?

    Kind of what I'm trying to get at... once it's OK but if it's 3lbs next week then I should up my calories, right?

    philip
    That's basically what I'm saying yes.

    How many calories are you currently eating by the way?
    accuflex - LOLZZZZ!!!11one1!! SOEM PPL WORK THRE ARMZ!!!!11!! LETS KILL THEM111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    That's basically what I'm saying yes.

    How many calories are you currently eating by the way?
    Roughly 2200 calories, I don't measure everything but I have a good idea of what I eat and what my wife cooks. I keep protein above 180g/day, the other macros, I get what I get but I do my best to bias torwards fat given the choice.

    philip

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    What are your goals? How much weight are you going to lose? Are you going to maintain this weight once reached or are you going to "bulk up" again (or whatever)?

    Reason I ask is, if you are "freaked out" about losing muscle, why not just get AN ACCURATE bodyfat test as soon as you can and then when you finish. Then you will have accurate body composition readings at the start and finish. If you lose "too much" LBM, it can probably be added back when you start lifting heavier and eating a bit more.

    This will only be meaningful if the bodyfat test is accurate (bod pod; hydrostatic; etc). Most other methods will test your LBM very high when you are fat, so when you lose weight, it will always look like you lost tons of muscle.

    I've lost 30+lbs. on more than one occasion while having my LBM staying basically the same. I test with the bod pod.

    Now one word of "caution" with the bod pod. Compared to other testing methods (tape measure, calipers (well this really depends on the person doing the skin-folds), elecro, etc, the bod pod will test your LBM / muscle gain very low (meaning accurately) from the very start. The last test I did in November, my LBM was ~12lbs. lower on the bod pod than using a tape measure and a bodyfat calculator. To get a similar bodyfat measurement with the tape measures system, I had to stand slouched over, pressing my gut out, and hold the tape as loose as possible......basically just dangling.

    Anyway, I started at 250lbs on Nov. 11 and weighed in at 217lbs. today. Basically 33lbs. lost in 12 weeks or just under 3lbs. / week. This is misleading in a way because I lost 15lbs. almost right away. From then it has been roughly 2lbs. / week.

    Just stop reading so much nonsense. Unless you are doing extreme dieting, it is going to be pretty hard to lose "too much weight too quickly". You are eating 2200 calories, so you aren't doing anything too extreme. As such, let your body lose weight the way it wants to. My guess is your rate of loss will start to slow down soon and you will soon be having the opposite problems and concerns.

    But seriously, get a body comp test. Then you will know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by r2473 View Post
    What are your goals? How much weight are you going to lose? Are you going to maintain this weight once reached or are you going to "bulk up" again (or whatever)?
    The goal is to lose the bellyfat I've had since a freshman in college. It's a cold, hard lump of fat on my gut. I don't care about abs/adonis belt/etc, I am rarely topless except around the wife, but I don't like having a fat fanny-back on my tummy

    Quote Originally Posted by r2473 View Post
    Reason I ask is, if you are "freaked out" about losing muscle, why not just get AN ACCURATE bodyfat test as soon as you can and then when you finish. Then you will have accurate body composition readings at the start and finish. If you lose "too much" LBM, it can probably be added back when you start lifting heavier and eating a bit more.
    Not "freaked out"; I just want to minimize losses. I only have a year of lifting under my belt. I'd like to get rid of that fat deposit then just work on slow recomp. I don't want to bulk/cut/bulk/cut. I don't want to be a skinny bastard either (I was 150lb 6'0" in high school) I want to put myself in a healthy position bodyfat-wise and build from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by r2473 View Post
    Just stop reading so much nonsense. Unless you are doing extreme dieting, it is going to be pretty hard to lose "too much weight too quickly". You are eating 2200 calories, so you aren't doing anything too extreme. As such, let your body lose weight the way it wants to. My guess is your rate of loss will start to slow down soon and you will soon be having the opposite problems and concerns
    I figure as much; again my goal is health not doing this quickly. I didn't think the "2lbs a week" rule was nonsense, it seems to be a pretty commonly quoted figure here and elsewhere. Thanks for your input.

    philip

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    2lbs. / week definitely isn't nonsense, but it doesn't apply to any and every given week. If you are really fat (like I was.....27% bodyfat), you can drop "a lot" quickly and safely.

    After this initial burst, the "real" weight loss begins. In this period, I would say 2lbs. / week would be a high average loss. Again, it won't be linear. You need to judge this over a longer time period.

    As you get down to lower bodyfat percentages, you might be luck to lose 1lb. in a given week. It gets hard, but I'm sure know all of this.

    If you really want to assess your weightloss success / failure, taking body composition tests is the best way.

    Anyway, good luck!!

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