After the Winter Bulk Up Finale ended those many months ago, we talked of an impending summer cut down and promised info on how to pull off a successful cut. I may be a little late coming through but I am here to deliver everything I can as your personal guinea pig.
However, before we get into the meat of the post I do believe I owe an explanation to all you as to why this post comes so late in the summer after we were so pumped for it in the spring. All I can really say is that cutting down and having a full on 6-pack fell pretty far down on my priorities list this summer. There have been way to many parties, weddings, bachelor parties, days on the lake jet skiing and drinking, family gatherings with drinking, patio specials with drinking, porch specials with drinking, Sunday fundays, etc… I was on the program on weekdays, would get down to good body fat levels, and then party it all away. Two steps forward, two steps back. What I have been doing is legit, though, enough to keep me fairly cut despite my questionable decision making. If I had followed the path of moderation a little better who knows how cut I’d be now.
Side Note: We have discussed this before but you can party and stay lean. I just haven’t cared to follow my own advice- too much beer and afties and strip clubs and whatever.
To recap, I began the winter bulk up around Thanksgiving at 182. We’ll say I was at a decent 10% body fat level that I achieved mostly through intermittent fasting–
Although I had reached a level of lean-ness I hadn’t known since being a scrawny mofo in high school, I always thought I could get bigger and thus the winter bulk up was born. VK and I lifted our asses off with high rep hypertrophy-bodybuilder style programs, ate a shit load of mostly clean food, and watched as the scale readings grew larger and larger. By the end of the two or so months of the bulk I had gained just over 20 pounds of muscle and quite a good deal of fat-
From there I began my cut down, but like I said earlier it was pretty half-assed. I dicked around with German volume training for a month, which I enjoyed if nothing else because it was novel and got you pumped. After those experiments with bodybuilding style programs, though, I decided that while they were fun and seemed to work, I missed lifting heavy shit. I refocused back onto powerlifting and thus cutting weight and trying to look aesthetic took somewhat of a back seat. This me now at 194-
Once again I’m hovering around 10% like I was last Thanksgiving, but with around ten more pounds of pure muscle which ain’t too shabby considering I’m years past newbie gains.
Despite the all too frequent partying this spring and summer I’m still keeping it pretty lean. And for that I can almost wholly credit Jamie Lewis of Chaos and Pain and his Apex Predator Diet (more specifically, the Third Stage).
You’ll have to read the whole series starting with the first post to get all the details. I will merely summarize:
- Pounds of preferably bone in meat nearly every day
- Lots of protein shakes
- A massive “Rampage” cheat meal once a week
The goal is to reach or get close to body weight x2g in protein every day along with lots of fat for energy. The only carbs I had during the week before “Rampage” day was from my veggie juices. Seeing as I am huge on eating meat anyway, it took nearly zero effort and has been very enjoyable.
Sometimes I would play with calorie totals and go low for a day while keeping protein at bodyweight x 1.5g to prevent any muscle loss. Sometimes I would gorge on meat and go crazy. Every now and then on a Sunday I would mix in some IF and fast pretty hard to correct for the weekend. You really can’t go wrong.
For example, a typical day starts with a 40g protein shake in the morning, 1/2 lb of meat such as pork ribs for lunch (~60 g protein), 40g protein in the afternoon if I wanted to, train, 40g protein shake post-training, and then finish out the night with 1.5-2lbs of meat (~180-240g protein) and a veggie juice, for a grand total of at least ~350g protein a day, sometimes more. Calories generally ended up in the 2500-3500 range depending on the exact configuration. This all combined to help me cut while continuing to put on muscle- a winning combination.
The Rampage meal is a short window of time once a week when you get naughty on a ton a shitty food, replenishing glucose stores for the upcoming week. It is required and it is amazing. My favorite Rampage involved two Little Caesar’s large pizzas, breadsticks, and chicken wings.
I recommend the Apex Predator Diet to everyone in real life, and those that have took it up have also experienced fat loss while gaining muscle. It’s not some bullshit chicken-broccoli cut and I did exactly zero cardio. You lift your ass off and you eat tons of protein and fat. What’s not to like?
UPDATE: After some on and offline questions and a re-read of this post, it turns out I that maybe I wasn’t very clear and that’s my bad. This was absolutely a cut, not just a diet recommendation. Though it is a “slow cut”. Hell, I dropped ten pounds in a few months while barely trying. That’s the best part. The Apex Predator Diet is a ketogenic (low-low carb diet where you use fats almost exclusively for energy) and a protein sparing diet (you consume tons of protein so that you don’t even come close to losing muscle and in fact gain more muscle while losing body fat). I know some Intermittent Fasting fans would take issue with the necessity of the protein sparing part, but my lifts have improved much more rapidly on the APD than they ever did on IF so take that how you will.
For some tweaking of APD to speed up body fat loss, get a ballpark figure on your daily maintenance calorie levels (the amount you need to stay even weight-wise) and subtract 500. There is your daily calorie goal. You don’t need to be exact by any means because that’s a pain in the ass and who the hell wants to count calories, just make sure you are *at least* getting bodyweight x 1.5g grams protein and eating fatty, preferably bone-in meats. Read the links to Chaos and Pain, it’s all there in every detail you will need to know.
To add on to my vague meal suggestion above and be more exact, one of my favorite meal “schedules” was this (keeping in mind I have a ~3,200 cal baseline and protein and calorie counts for meat vary widely from source to source)-
- Morning protein shake- 40g protein, 240 cal
- Lunch- 1/2 lb bone-in pork chops, ~60g protein, ~500 cal
- Late afternoon- 40g protein, 240 cal
- Post-lift meal- 1.5 lb bone-in pork chops, ~180g protein, ~1500 cal
- Bedtime shake- 40g protein, 240 cal
- TOTAL: 360g protein (1.9g/lb bodyweight) and 2,720 cals (almost exactly 500 less than maintenance calories)
Like I said earlier, sometimes I eat well above this because I feel like it. Another half pound of meat puts me at maintenance cals, big deal, but it also put me over the holy grail of 2g protein/lb bodyweight. Sometimes I would go heavy on shakes and light on food, bringing my calories even lower on the day while keeping my protein above 1.5g/ lb bodyweight. From my experience you can do this a day or two out of the week if you really want to chop calories and still have energy as well as muscles gains. A pound of fat is 3500 calories, so you do the math there. 500 here, 700 there, 200 here and before you know it you’re a few pounds down. Just to reiterate for effect: a ketogenic, protein sparing diet like APD makes sure the only pounds your body goes after is fat.
And finally, a disclaimer: None of this is endorsed by Jamie Lewis whatsoever. There is a solid 99.999% chance he has no idea who the fuck I am. I am merely sharing my experiences with it so far as I think it is an awesome diet. Read his posts on the Apex Predator Diet for the full, in depth picture ya dinguses. P.S.- Chaos and Pain is not safe for work, but that’s what makes it great.