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MINI CUT SET UP - Lockdown series

So if you have been following me on social media, you'll know that I have initiated a mini cut phase during quarantine. 

With the uncertainty encompassing the reopening of gyms & shows going ahead in the latter ends of 2020, I was still indecisive about whether to commit to a full prep or accept what is and transition into an official push up phase. I have come to a decision to enter a mini cut now, which then will put me in two prime positions which is either a prime position to drop the hammer and push for the show I had in mind, or it puts me in a primed position to push body weight up again. 

With all that said, this segment is going to be covering the 4 week's mini cut phase, covering every aspect included so you can see what I do with my mini cut, including starting point and 4 weeks progress pictures. 

Delving straight into thing's let's discuss my initial nutrition (calories & macro) set point, how I got to these numbers & why. 

Nutrition

My initial calories for this mini cut will be,

239g carbs

55g fats

250g protein

2,451kcals

This will see a 890kcal reduction, the number may seem slightly arbitrary but how I come to these macros and this net caloric reduction is via removing certain foods I deemed unnecessary during this current phase, that being 2 bagels & 2 Go ahead bars. My Pre/Post workout meals remain unchanged. This is a standard action I never change until absolutely necessary, for myself and even my clients. The workout perimeter is never touched to ensure optimal performance & recovery for as long as possible. During this mini cut which is going to be a maximum of 5 week's in duration, I won't see any significant determents to either of those aspects but still something I will always do regardless. So by removing those food sources this will see a reduction in caloric intake by 890kcals. Personally I advise any between 750 to a 1000kcal deficit straight out the gate when entering a mini cut phase. 

As to why I have brought my calories down excessively is simple because a mini cut is pretty self explanatory, the goal is to get in and out of the phase as quick as possible, it's not called a long cut! This aggressive drop in caloric intake isn't recommend nor something I apply to any of my clients outside of this scenario, as it is not sustainable for long period or time, it will inevitably lead to a considerable diminish in performance, thus a potential loss in skeletal muscle mass (muscle).

 

Cardio

With the excess reduction in calories, I won't need to add on top endless hours of cardio immediately, this will just ultimately equate to me burning out too quickly, plus again see a diminish in performance, thus recovery capabilities, thus a potential loss in skeletal muscle mass so with that said cardio remains at nothing for the time being

 

Steps

As for steps, my current target is for

Training day: 8k

Rest day: 10k

 

Plain and simple, this will help with manipulating energy balance, a subject i'm going to delve into in the next lockdown-series topic. Obviously the initial reduction in calories will see me in a deficit in and of itself, but the steps accrual will also contribute to that deficit to hopefully see me attain my target rate of loss which is 2/3% of body weight per week, approximately 2/4lbs per week. Accumulating these steps will be less neurally impacting in comparison to doing any form of cardio, which will ensure that I'm not taking away from my recovery capabilities across the micro (week). It will most likely remain unchanged throughout due to the current circumstances and with my severe asthma, I do want to limit my exposure to the outside world. So if I need to make further adjustments to further manipulate my energy balance it will be done via calories or implementing cardio. 

 

Drugs

I've currently been running a 400mg of test, which hasn't changed during this mini cut. The plan of action will be come the end of the mini cut, if I go into prep I will keep test dose where it is, then add in the other compounds ill be running for my prep, conversely I will run a TRT dose of testosterone, get blood work done then transition into my push up "improvement season" after receiving my health markers results. 

 

As always if you have any questions, please feel free to fire them over. 

 

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Day 4 into the mini cut, so far thing's are going well. It still very early stages to report any significant changes within any variable. 

As for weight, initially I weighed in at 218.8lbs on Monday. This morning on Thursday the 7th May I weighed in at 212lbs on the dot. That sees a 6.8lb total reduction in scale weight. Surprisingly, this was a lot more than I expected or predicted by this point. My prediction was about a 2% reduction in body weight (average of 2-4lbs), so to see 6lbs off with 3 days's still to go of week one, it has caught me by surprise. Nonetheless I am not concerned or going to introduce any kind of refeed, nor panic over the perception of skeletal muscle atrophy. Firstly the whole point and focus of a mini cut, is to drastically reduce body weight in a short period, secondly I am using anabolic which is there to ensure that I preserver muscle. 

I predict by Sunday to weigh in at 211lbs, potentially just under like 210.7lbs. There will be an update on here Sunday with progress pictures, so I will update you on scale weight and see how well I understand my body.

 

Nutrition

For the remaining of this week, my macronutrients will remain unchanged. I will asses thing's from biofeedback, analysing variables and visually assessing before making my decision on next manipulations, if any at all.

As for my actual meals at the moment for those who love knowing that information, my current meals are:

Meal 1

300g skyr

200g berries

30g Velosiwhey (from stromsports)

 

Meal 2

110g oats

30g Velosiwhey (from stromsports)

200g berries

30g dark cocoa chocolate

 

Meal 3

300g cooked white rice

200g cooked chicken breast

veggies

 

Meal 4

200g cooked white rice

170g uncooked salmon

veggies

 

Meal 5

200g tuna

veggies

 

Training

Training at the moment, I'm following a Push, Pull, Legs, Arm split, with a 2 day on 1 day off split. This was explained on one of my posts on instragram. The rationale behind this current set up is to provide more ample time to focus on other aspects externally from training, that mainly being my clients. More than ever I need to be there for my clients, mentally, psychologically and emotionally while remaining within my scope of practice, as I am not a psychiatrist. As we can understand though with everything going on, a lot of my clients require that extra support and accountability. The other reason which I adopted this split and dedicated an entire day to arms is to make things more time efficient, A lot of the set ups require some time and patiences may I add. So to shave off say 30 minutes I have an entire day now dedicated to just arms. 

As for everything else, that remains the same so read the previous log for that information. Over then that, there isn't much else to report so I will leave it here. 

Sunday I will check in again with those pictures, until then stay safe guys and if you have any questions please fire them over.

 

Day 7 into the mini cut.

that's the initial week wrapped up.

To give a summary of the week, overall it was essentially a breeze in all fairness. No drastic, over complicating manipulations other than a reduction in calories. All other variables saw nothing over complex which made the initial week pretty straight forward. In the last update I made on Thursday I mentioned about my prediction of scale weight coming into Sunday (today). My prediction was 211/210.7lbs and my official weigh in this morning was 211.4lbs, so not far off from my prediction. 

That sees a total of 6.10lbs reduction. As far as progress pictures go, they manifest a completely different story in terms of composition which is why people shouldn't also allude to just the bodyweight metrics. Yes it's a 6lbs reduction for myself but the same changes in composition or from a visual perspective can be equated from just a 1 or 2lb reduction, It fundamentally comes down to genetics & pre set point body composition. As for other areas to cover I would say that yesterday was the first day where I struggled slightly, I would put it mostly down to some sun stroke as I went out for 1.5hr walk and the weather was extremely nice and hot so by the time I was home, I knew I was dehydrated, I was struck with a slight headache and was just feeling exhausted, Otherwise the whole week was a success and relatively easy. 

 

Going into the week commencing, I will not be making any changes, not until I see a plateau in scale weight. When that moment arises I will most likely allude to manipulating calories further over manipulating energy expenditure further. This decision will be predicated on a logical decision due to the current nation & global circumstances, we're only aloud out for one bout of exercise and I want to continue to abide by those rules to be doing my part, so increasing my expenditure will result in even longer walks then what I'm currently doing or it will see my having to go out multiple times in one day. So by manipulating my macros I can continue to progress of an average rate of loss of 2% per week while not having to go against the government algorithms. 

Training doesn't seem to be experiencing any diminish in performance, still snatching some PBs and progressions here and there with reps predominantly but some load increments as well. Which is a reassuring indication that training isn't being impeded, while under the same breath I can say that it's indicative that I'm persevering muscle tissue nicely.

 

So for a recap

Nutrition is: 239g carbs - 55g fats - 250g protein

Steps is: TD:8k & RD:10k

Cardio: None

Training: Push, Pull, Legs, Arms & repeat

Drugs: 400mg test E

 

As for pictures here the end of week one, Sundays check in pictures, 

If you have any questions please let me know and fire them over.

 

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Day 16 into the mini cut.

Hey guy's, so last week I didn't update the log on Thursday or Sunday as was dealing with some personal matters plus there wasn't really much to check in. It is now day 16 week 2 of the mini cut and here is the most recent update on all aspects thus far.

Current weight is 208.4lbs which sees a 3lb lost since day 7 (end of week 1), a total of 9.10lbs reduction in scale weight. Overall things are going ok, strength seems to be maintaining with certain exercises. I now also have a squat rack so have reintroduce squats into the programme for leg days, initially I will focus on standardising the form with the squats before making irrational increments in load, I need to ensure that I have the movement, ROM, tempo all nailed to prevent any compromise to my structure & joints, thus potentially leading to a niggle or unnecessary accumulation of stress. Im now just waiting on a bench so I can begin pressing again but at the moment with some new dumbbells purchased I can incline press with an improvised incline set up and press from the floor which will suffice. 

Everything else in terms of training remains unchanged.

As for nutrition, I have made one small adjustment to macronutrients.

Nutrition is: 226g carbs - 53g fats - 250g protein

Essentially all I have done is pulled 50g of rice from my post workout meal, which sees a reduction of 70kcals across one day, which equates to 490kcals across the week. The reason being for this small adjustment is because I could see the rate of loss reducing gradually across 3 days so I wanted to induce the ROL with this small adjustment, I technically didn't need to Make any adjustment but instead of making a bigger manipulation when I completely plateau, this minute adjustment will see a continued drop in weight, I won't notice the change nor will it impede my performance or recovery. 

I'm predicting that by this time next week I will need to make another adjustment, which will most likely see a further reduction in caloric intake as I don't want to increase step target as mentioned in the previous Log. That final push should be the last one need to see my goal weight achieved which is 200lbs. If I need to extend the mini cut I will do for maximum of 1 additional week, equating to a 5 week mini cut which is essentially the maximum duration to spend in this phase. 

So this Sunday I will check in with progress pictures with any updates, until then enjoy your day and keep safe during these unprecedented times.

 

 

Steps is: TD:8k & RD:10k

Cardio: None

Training: Push, Pull, Legs, Arms & repeat

Drugs: 400mg test E

 

If you have any questions please let me know and fire them over.

Day 21 into the mini cut.

So what is up guy's and girls, I hope everyone is still holding in there during these extremely difficult times however I've seen a lot of people adapting & building their own gyms in the garden or gauge which is awesome to see, keep it up. 

Anyway moving on to the juice gossip, this weeks check in. So this wraps up week 3 of the mini cut phase.

Weigh in this Am was 207.6lbs, which is just under a 1lb reduction from last week, however my lowest weigh in point was on Wednesday morning where I weighed in at 205.5lbs. As I mentioned on my instagram post since last Sunday I have reintroduced back squats into my programme seeing as I now have a squat rack. I couldn't not use it plus quad variations are finite with what equipment I have. So potentially I'm holding a bit more inflammation this week with that additional compound programming in, I was defiantly noticing the fatigue in the quads today when taking my progress pictures, it was a struggle to contract the quads without them cramping up. Fortunately today is a rest day so hopefully body weight metrics will go back to 205.5lbs upon waking tomorrow. nonetheless I have decided to make some calorie adjustments going for the week commencing. 

My goal weight was 200lbs, I believe that will be a good weight to finish up on, which will bring about some decent condition. From there it will be a transitional phase to a push up as I don't think we will be seeing gyms opening & shows going ahead this year. So I will jump back into a pushing phase. With that said, if I don't hit 200lbs by the end of this week, I will extend the mini cut by an extra week but will stop as soon as I hit 200lbs if that means I finish midday through week 5. I will not go any further than 5 weeks as it is then defeating the objective of a mini cut phase.

Lets get into the calorie adjustments anyway as I know that's all you guys care about.

 

Nutrition is now: 190g carbs - 54g fats - 250g protein

That sees a 144kcal reduction per day (1,008kcals per week)

current meal plan is:

Meal 1

Porridge oats 110g

cocoa chocolate 30g

Velosiwhey 30g

berries 200g

 

Meal 2

Basmati white rice 200g

Chicken breast 200g

Veggies

 

Meal 3

Basmati white rice 150g

Beef mince or salmon (beef:145g - salmon:170g)

veggies

 

Meal 4

Tuna chunks 200g

veggies

 

Meal 5 

Skyr 300g

Velosiwhey 30g

Berries 200g

 

Steps remain the same at TD:8k - RD:10K

No need to change as I've made manipulations to my macros, as personally I only like to adjust one variable at a time. 

 

Lastly training remains the same & Drug cycle hasn't changed, I will most likely run a cruise phase was this mini cut is done and use food as my anabolic tool to drive up performance & muscle tissue. I will go into more detail with that at a later date. 

 

If you guy's have any questions please send them over

 

 

 

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Day 28 of the mini cut (week 4) 

So today marks the end of the 4th week of the mini cut phase during lockdown, straight out the gate I will discuss my weight and plans going froward. Unfortunately I didn't hit my goal weight of 200lbs, however I wasn't that far off, weighing in at 204.4lbs this morning fasted. 

I had a Push session scheduled in for the morning as iv've currently been training first thing, the only rationale behind doing this as typically I prefer training after I've consumed at least 2 meals, but due to the current weather conditions we're experiencing, to be training at midday in my mothers garden which is fully exposed to the sun would be illogical and just extremely unpleasant to do so, So I i've been getting up, getting in my pre workout meal then going to train which is about 8:30am. Not the way I would love to do things, however it's been working for me the last two weeks. After that I got my check in pictures, I have been doing this since day one so although I've always had at least 1 meal & some fluids the progress pictures have all been consistent in terms of that procedure followed. Yes people will argue that it's not. true reflection of my progress in my body composition, I am well aware of this. It is just practical for me, plus when in the garden after I've finished I personally just want to get the shots done and over with. 

Besides the slight disappointment with not hitting my goal weight, I have decided that I will string out one more week of the mini cut phase, essentially because why not? Plus I can afford to push one more week, as I've said that the maximum time to spend in a mini cut is approximately 5 weeks. I'm in a really good spot in terms of training performance, recovery capabilities, calories, satiety levels and mainly mindset so that is why I will push one more week. I'm not overly happy with the picture, in my defence the lighting was awful today but unfortunately I couldn't escape it as like I said there were no shady spots at all, regardless of that me personally just wasn't content with the look at 204.4lbs. So I will push one more week and I think if I can get to 200, potentially 199lbs I will be a lot happier with that look. I have a resource that I have implemented yet which I will utilise in this final week to attain those extra 4/5lbs, which ill discuss now.

 

So in terms of nutrition aspects, I will essentially be keeping everything as it is with no changes.

Macros: 190g carbs - 54g fats - 250g protein

 

As for NEAT/steps, I'm still hitting 8k on training day's & 10k on rest day's, with some of the guidelines and rules being less strict from the government, we now have the ability to go out more frequently and for relatively longer durations as far as I'm aware and what I've interpret from the announcements, so I could potentially increase my steps by an extra 500 steps per rest & training days. However the main resource that I have sitting in reserve was cardio, which I will be implementing as of tomorrow so most likely will not need to increase steps. 

With cardio I'm just going to add in 20 minutes of cardio AM, this will not be included with steps as that will defeat the object. it will be on top of my existing step accrual. This should see the additional energy expenditure I need to elicit the few pounds to hit my target.

 

Training has been adjusted slightly since a Wednesday of last week, I have removed the arm day now as I've factored them in across the week in my other sessions. My split now is 

Pull

Push

Legs 

Repeat

I am currently following a 3 on, 1 of 3 on 1 of split now also as my ability to recover between sessions with this higher frequency is efficient. Volume is at almost rock bottom but I've mastered the ability to exert a lot of intensity into those set's that I do have which permits the ability to keep the volume low, but then training those body parts more frequently.

 

That is pretty much it for this week's check in, I haven't been posting mid week as to be honest there are no changes thus nothing to update you guy's with. I want to ensure each time I post on the log, I'm bringing something new to discuss and also value each time. 

 

If you have any questions, send them over.

 

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Week 5 - Wrap up of the mini cut phase

 

So today marks the end of the mini cut, overall I'm pleased with how it went, the intention wasn't to be absolutely peeled but to strip off some excess weight I was holding onto from the previous push up phase. Was slightly disappointed with the final week in terms of the body weight metrics as my final weigh in was 204.4lbs, which actually didn't see a change at all in the scales. Nonetheless I still feel as if I noticed some visual changes, in particular around the mid-section which tightened up bit. 

I'm not one for making excuses either but in my opinion pictures don't always do my physique justice, I was more content with what I was seeing in the mirror comparative to what I was seeing with the check in pictures. All that is irrelevant though so moving on to the final adjustments that was made and the transitional phase going forward.

 

ADJUSTMENTS

So by Wednesday I weighed in at 206lbs, an increment which was most likely a combination of diet induced fatigue & training induced fatigue, resulting in some inflammation. I noticed as well within my energy levels that I was physically tired, my metabolic rate also had adapted to the changes in terms of energy expenditure as nutrition remained unchanged by I added in cardio at 30 minutes per day (fasted). I could've potentially dropped calories more but that would have just added to the diet induced fatigue, therefore making that manipulation counter intuitive. So the decision was just to run till Saturday then end it there. Fortunately my weight came back down to 204.4lbs but that was the final weight. That saw a total of 19lbs drop in 5 weeks which I'm content with.

so to summarise everything

Nutrition at end sits at: 190g carbs - 50g fats - 250g protein 

Cardio at end sits at: 30mins stationary bike x 6

Neat at end sits at: TD:8k - RD:10k

Training at end sits at: Pull, Push, Legs, Repeat

Drugs: test E: 400mg

 

TRANSTIONAL PHASE

So seeing as there is still the uncertainty of when gyms will reopen, I will not be going into an official contest prep phase, I want to ensure I have the proper facility and equipment going into a contest prep. Therefore I will now be transiting into a push up aka improvement season until further notice. As for the adjustments going forward....

Nutrition

I will push calories back up to my perceived maintenance calories which at the moment will be

Training day: 250g carbs - 50g fats - 250g protein (2,450kcals).

Rest day: 200g carbs - 60g fats - 250g protein (2,340kcals)

I will hold onto these calories for a week and see how it reflects within scale weight, as well as keeping an eye on the visual, then adjustments accordingly

 

Cardio

cardio will remain in for the cardiovascular health benefits, including a multitude of other benefits, but obviously will reduce the frequency and duration to help bring me back to maintenance. So going forward I will be doing

4 x 20 minutes per week

 

Neat

Similar to cardio, I will bring my step accrual targets down slightly which will be going forward,

TD:6k

RD:8k

I will again to keep an eye on things in terms of body weight metrics and pictures, adjusting thing's accordingly.

 

Training

So going into this new push up phase, I am in fact making changes to my training split. I have been running the Push, Pull, Leg split pretty much since I finished my last competition in 2017, I saw some of my best progress going forward but I now think it is time for a change. The rationale behind this change is I want to start training with a 2 on 1 off split and also train more frequently but with a lot less volume per session as I personally feel I'm in a position where I have the experience and ability to put the intensity into my sets I have, therefore rendering the lower volume & higher frequency approach to be more favourable for me. My volume hasn't changed much at all from the previous MESO cycle, other than a set here and there. Unfortunately a lot of people inadvertently increase volume as they increase frequency which could have detrimental impacts on your ability to progress & recovery efficiently. I'm essentially just bringing my sessions down to like 2 sets per exercise but ensuring that each set is taking to a close proximity of failure. Obviously this is a novel set up so I don't exactly know how it will pan out but I have done my homework and know my capabilities, so I have mapped up a meticulous set up that should be conducive for me.

Volume going forward will be

Back: 11 (1 set up)

Chest: 10 (unchanged)

Tricep: 6 (unchanged)

Bicep: 6 (unchanged)

Anterior delt: 4 (unchanged)

Medial delt: 5 (down 2 sets)

Posterior delts: 4 (unchanged)

Quads: 10 (3 sets added)

Hamstrings: 9 (2 sets added)

Calves: 4 (unchanged)

Traps: 5 (1 set up)

My training split will have 3 rotations, a majority of the exercises have remained in as there is still room to progress those lifts, I have added in 1 or 2 novel variations to provide a novelty stimulus going forward. So in essence pretty much everything has remained the same in terms of exercise selection and volume, I have just adjusted the frequency of hitting these body parts, especially during lockdown and the load being finite I have the ability to stimulate these body parts more frequently. 

 

Drugs

As for my cycle, I'm going to be coming down to a TRT dose of test E as I've blasted now for 16 weeks at 400mg. I will try to predominantly use food as my anabolic tool during this push up, but my health markers need a break. I will run this TRT for approximately 8-10 weeks and then get blood work done to see where thing's are and hopefully by that point we will be either already or gradually returning to gym's.

 

That is pretty much it for me in terms of the updates & summary of the mini cut phase, I will finish off with the pictures and I will continue to keep you guy's update on what's going on with myself both on here and on instragram: @trainedbywarrior92

 

 

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