Cutting Advice – Don’t Worry About Some Strength Loss
Yes I know, strength loss isn’t a good thing and this sounds like terrible advice but hear me out.
This is a very important post. It will help a lot of you when cutting, particularly if you are like me and are constantly measuring strength progression and worrying about losses. It reveals a very important point you must remember when cutting that doesn’t get emphasised enough.
I’m going to challenge what most fitness gurus say when it comes to cutting, and say that strength loss is inevitable. Lots of guys say that if you’re “doing everything correctly” you won’t lose any strength. If you lose strength, any whatsoever, you’re just “doing it all wrong”.
This kind of advice will lead to a lot of frustrated, dis-heartened and demotivated individuals. It’s not fair on them. Trust me, if you are cutting and experience some strength loss after a while, don’t worry. It will come back.
To use myself as an example, in the past 11 weeks I have lost 6% bodyweight, and only 1% strength. That is a 5% net gain.
Until 2 weeks ago, I was in a calorie deficit and had been for about 2 months. I had lost a noticeable amount of strength, and during the final week of my cut I was down about 14% on my total (big 3). That is some serious strength loss. Shit.
However, it is just temporary.
Especially as I was already lean and trying to get leaner. My calories were very low as they had to be. They were at 1600 for the final week (at the start of the cut they were 2500).
After the cut ended, my calories increased to 2300. Having done the calculations, this is approximately the same calorie surplus that I was in prior to the cut. Due to my new bodyweight, my maintenance calories have dropped.
The results have been astonishing. My total is now 99% of where it was. That means I have recovered 13% of the 14% loss in 2 weeks!
So to sum everything up for you, in 11 weeks, my bodyweight has fallen by 11 pounds (-16 pounds during the cut and then +5 pounds (mainly glycogen) in the past 2 weeks). This is 6% reduction in bodyweight. As stated above, I have only lost 1% of my strength.
The main takeaway from all this is not to worry about strength loss when you’re in a calorie deficit, and have been in a deficit for longer than about a month. We know that we can achieve almost anything during the first month of a diet. But any losses you incur will be gained back very quickly.
This doesn’t involve gaining the fat back either. All it requires is more energy and about 5 pounds worth of glycogen storage. Obviously this will depend on your bodyweight.
I’m going to throw in some caveats though:
- If you’re a beginner and cutting (which I do NOT RECOMMEND), then you should not be losing strength. You should at least be gaining strength slowly.
- If you are very fat, yes diet should be 100% your main focus. If you are in the gym and trying to make progression, that’s fantastic. But because there is a lot of fat to lose, it’s easy for your body to do this. Losing strength could be a cause for concern.
Guys, those of you who aren’t beginners, don’t worry about some strength loss. Keep training hard and sticking to the plan and you will be fine!