Anabolic Cutting is an entirely new form of losing fat and getting shredded, but without losing a chunk of your hard-earned muscle.
Designed with bodybuilders and physique competitors in mind, Anabolic Cutting is a way of limiting lean mass loss while maintaining favourable mood levels and sleep quality – aspects that can be negatively impacted by such strict routines .
The proportion of lean mass that males lose when dieting for a competition (based on current case studies) ranges from 13 to 55% of total weight loss. Testosterone levels also plummet during these times of restricted calories [1,2,3,4].
Using the Anabolic Cutting method, lean mass loss was just 50 grams over 16 weeks – less than one per cent. My testosterone levels were 100 – 150% higher at the end of my cut than in the case studies – even though I am ten years older than the oldest male.
Here, I share the theory behind the Anabolic Cutting method, my body scans, the studies I used, and everything else to show why this is by far the best way of getting shredded.
A quick note on body fat percentages
Firstly I would like to address the issue surrounding body fat percentages.
I am currently working on an article and video dedicated to this matter, however, it is important to gain perspective.
The image above references my body fat percentage, as measured by DEXA. This particular machine has measured thousands of males and none have ever come out below 10%.
Having spoken to the pros who run these tests, stage-ready body fat using this machine is about 12-13%. This means I was only about 2% away from stage ready (bearing in mind I was 147 lbs at the end, this equates to just 3 – 4lbs or so of fat left to lose).
Using body fat callipers, my percentage was a crazy 3% – I was pinching only skin on my chest, and only a little bit of fat on my abdomen and legs using the 3-point method.
Using a tape measure, my body fat showed as 7.5% – probably the closest to what you’d expect when looking at those classic “what does x percentage body fat look like” pictures.
It’s also important to note how much lean mass a person is carrying. I am about 20 – 30 lbs away from my genetic potential – now imagine what I’d look like with all that extra muscle. So, how much would my body fat change? Well, if I were to add 20 lbs of muscle and keep the same amount of fat (22 lbs) I would still be 13% body fat! But I bet I would look much lower than I do now.
Anabolic Cutting Video
For those who’d prefer to watch a video than read an article, here is the video for your convenience.
Benefits of Anabolic Cutting
Before we jump into my results and the case study data, I will share the benefits of Anabolic Cutting.
Reduced metabolic adaptation
Metabolic adaptation is an issue we all face at some stage while dieting.
You start off losing weight quite easily, but after a couple of months, you plateau.
While studies show that this is partly due to us becoming more slack with our diet and exercise, evidence also suggests that our metabolism adapts to cope with a lower-calorie diet [5,6].
Unfortunately, this means we must cut calories further and increase cardiovascular exercise to continue a linear rate of weight loss.
The resting metabolic rate (RMR) in all case studies referenced reduced.
With the Anabolic Cutting method, I did not suffer from this. My maintenance calories remained steady – in fact, during the final eight weeks, it seems my maintenance intake was higher as I lost nearly 10 lbs while still consuming about 2,200 calories per day.
Reduced mood & sleep disturbance
According to current literature, competition preparation can lead to mood and sleep disturbances.
While using the Anabolic Cutting method, I did not suffer from any of these. In fact, I had been taking anti-depressants for a number of years and stopped taking them half-way through the cutting routine due to elevated mood and more peaceful sleep.
I did not weigh my foods and kept things simple with a small selection of meal options.
Superior lean mass retention
As already mentioned, I retained nearly all of my lean mass while using the Anabolic Cutting method.
One of the largest problems natural male bodybuilders face is the loss of hard-earned muscle while trying to get shredded for a competition. It is a certainty (or so it currently seems), so anything we can do to reduce the amount of muscle loss is critically important.
The combination of exercise selection, meal timing, macro breakdown, and food/supplement consumption in the Anabolic Cutting plan come together to form the perfect environment for retaining lean mass while super-lean and in a caloric deficit.
Limited hormone disruption
I hypothesized that my testosterone levels at the end would be significantly higher than those in the case studies.
I did not take a testosterone test at the start of my diet. At the time, I didn’t know home testing kits existed. However, I looked into it and found some highly-rated home testing kits and did one at the end.
My testosterone level at the end was 15.4 nmol/L. This figure is well within the normal range. Anything below 8.4 is considered low.
In comparison, levels in the other case studies ranged from 6 to 7.9 – all falling within the low range. My testosterone levels were more than twice that of those in the case studies – and even higher than the levels reported by Pardue et al. after three months of recovery .
Bearing in mind, I’m 37 years old and these males were all in their twenties (as young as 21 in the Pardue & Robinson studies), this is a significant result.
Below is an image of my testosterone results. This test was performed on the morning of my DEXA body scan on 20th November 2020.
Favourable Blood Lipid Levels
All markers in my lipid test results were either normal or optimal.
The only measure that could have been better was my overall cholesterol which was actually lower than the optimal range!
Below is an image showing the data from my blood results (taken on 20th November 2020, the same time as the testosterone test).
My previous cutting results
Before we jump into the science and data, we should first take a look at some of my other cutting results.
What better way of determining the effectiveness of a workout plan than by comparing like for like (in this case, the same person performing alternative routines).
I have tracked calories and workouts for seven years, so have plenty of data to work with, however, only the past four years data has DEXA scans to accompany and verify results.
Before DEXA body scans
I had my first DEXA body scan in March 2017. However, I was lifting and taking measurements for about four years before this.
I tried low-carb diets, low-fat diets, lifting heavy, lifting with higher volume, intermittent fasting – and more.
Every time I tried to get lean, I simply got smaller.
I’d bulk to add size, but while trying to lose the fat, I would lose all the muscle I had gained.
One thing I did discover during this time was that a low-fat diet was better for me than low-carb diets while cutting. This information was based on tape measure readings.
Cutting method 1 – the slow cut method (body recomposition no longer works)
The first cutting method I will share with you was the slow cut method. In theory, by cutting slowly, you should retain pretty much all of your lean mass and lose almost exclusively fat.
This is not how my results panned out! To be fair, I was still experimenting with body re-composition (I have proven this to work – twice – as can be seen in my body recomposition series on YouTube, and also in my body recomposition article).
I was lifting four times per week, and also took a fat burning supplement.
In the end, I actually lost lean mass and added fat. Let that sink in – I lost lean mass and put on fat. This was during a slow cut while taking fat burning supplements. I think that tells you all you need to know about those supplements!
So, I ruled out slow cutting with a regular lifting program – and also determined that body recomposition was not a long-term silver bullet.
Below is an image from my scan with the difference in lean and fat mass circled.
Cutting Method 2 – lifting heavy & frequently
The next method I tested was to lift six times per week, with heavy weights.
I had read that you should keep lifting heavy to preserve muscle mass and should not change up your routine.
I kept the same routine, cut my calories more aggressively and lost quite a bit of weight.
I started this cut at 75.6 kg and lost about .75 kg per week – a weight loss rate of about 1% per week.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the images below, about 42% of my total weight loss was from lean mass – a figure very similar to that seen in the case studies I reviewed.
Cutting Method 3 – the birth of Anabolic Cutting
When I completed my second body recomposition, I was still carrying more fat than I desired. I decided I wanted to get ripped and wanted to invent a program that minimised muscle loss.
After seven years of experimentation with popular diets and training plans, nothing had really worked to the level I would have liked.
This method was designed primarily for bodybuilders and physique competitors prepping for a competition. The idea was to lose as much fat as possible without compromising muscle gains.
With so much conflicting information around, I have tried it all. On this occasion, I spent considerable time studying elements regarding diet and exercise, with a primary focus on the diet element.
I decided that the first step was to ensure I minimised the negative effect that calorie-restricted diets have on testosterone.
The reason guys lose so much muscle is that their testosterone levels drop so much. This is why those using performance-enhancing drugs can cut down without worrying too much about losing muscle.
Get 20% off of the Anabolic Cutting program with the code ANABOLIC20. You’ll also get the Body Recomp guide and macro calculator. So that’s 2 plans worth £119.98 for just £47.99!
Current case studies
The following case studies look at four natural male bodybuilders on a similar journey to mine.
I used these case studies during my research and set the best one as my benchmark for whether Anabolic Cutting was a success.
Case study 1 – 26-year-old male; 26 weeks prep
Kistler et al. Natural Bodybuilding Contest Preparation
The first case study I researched was this one by Kistler et al. Here is an excerpt from the paper:
The contest preparation strategy used by this athlete led to highly linear weight loss (R2 = .9932). While this high amount of weight loss did lead to a reduction in lean mass (–8.8%), the athlete was successfully able to lose enough fat mass to reduce body fat percentage and get lean enough to win his natural pro card.
- Rate of weight loss (of total body weight, per week): 0.65%
- Calorie intake at the start: 2,700
- Calorie intake at the end: 2,100
- RMR at the start: not reported
- RMR at the end: not reported
- % Decrease in RMR: not reported
- LBM % of total weight loss: 43%
- % Decrease in LBM: 8.8%
- Testosterone levels at the end (ng/dL): not reported
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) per week at the start: 80
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) at the end: 240
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the start: as required
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the end: 60
- A high level of metabolic adaptation is apparent. While RMR was not reported, it is clear by the large volume of HIIT exercise and reduction in daily calories that this individuals metabolism was adapting to some degree.
- The percentage of lean mass lost here was the highest of any of the case studies at 8.8%.
- The proportion of LBM loss was also high.
The high level of HIIT training looks to be a contributing aspect to the higher percentage of lean mass loss in this study.
Any program that reduces the rate of metabolic adaptation, and therefore the level of cardio required to continue a linear rate of weight loss, is welcome.
Case study 2 – 21-year-old male; 32-weeks prep.
Pardue et al. Unfavorable But Transient Physiological Changes During Contest Preparation in a Drug-Free Male Bodybuilder
The second case study tracked a 21-year old natural bodybuilder who spent 32 weeks prepping for a competition.
Here is an excerpt from the paper:
Extreme body composition demands of competitive bodybuilding have been associated with unfavorable physiological changes, including alterations in metabolic rate and endocrine profile. The current case study evaluated the effects of contest preparation (8 months), followed by recovery (5 months), on a competitive drug-free male bodybuilder over 13 months (M1-M13).
- Rate of weight loss (per week): 0.3%
- Calorie intake at the start: 3,860
- Calorie intake at the end: 1,782
- RMR at the start: 2275
- RMR at the end: 1910
- % Decrease in RMR: 16%
- LBM % of total weight loss: 13.4% (DEXA), 54.9% (BodPod)
- % Decrease in LBM: 1.7% (DEXA) 6.8% (BodPod)
- Testosterone levels at the end (ng/dL): 173
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) per week at the start: N/A
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) at the end: 40
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the start: N/A
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the end: 120
- Testosterone levels at the end of the dieting period were low – the lowest of all case studies which reported testosterone levels.
- Resting metabolic rate decreased (as would be expected), and the final daily caloric intake was far lower than at baseline.
- Cardio was minimal, in comparison with other studies.
This study used two measures for body fat percentage – BodPod and DEXA – both of which are regarded as being very accurate.
The issue with this study is that the final measurements were very different.
The BodPod data was in line with the other case studies.
The total weight loss was comparable with mine, however, it was at a slower rate and over a more extended period – 32 weeks vs. 16.
Case study 3 – 27-year-old male; 24 weeks prep.
Rossow et al. Natural Bodybuilding Competition Preparation and Recovery: A 12-Month Case Study
This third case study produced the most favourable results (when excluding the DEXA measurements from Pardue et al.). Also, it provided the broadest range of useful data (so far as researching for the Anabolic Cutting method was concerned).
My target, with Anabolic Cutting, was to produce results more favourable than these – something which I achieved, and by a noticeable amount, too.
- Rate of weight loss (of total body weight, per week): 0.5%
- Calorie intake at the start: 2,750
- Calorie intake at the end: 2,500
- RMR at the start: 2,400
- RMR at the end: 1,300
- % Decrease in RMR: 54%
- LBM % of total weight loss: 20%
- % Decrease in LBM: 3.2%
- Testosterone levels at the end (ng/dL): 227
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) per week at the start: 40
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) at the end: 40
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the start: 30
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the end: 30
- A high level of metabolic adaptation is apparent. Resting metabolic rate decreased by more than 50%.
- The percentage of lean mass lost here is better than all of the other case studies at just 3.2%.
- The proportion of LBM loss was lower than in other studies at 20%.
- Testosterone levels dropped significantly and were in the “low” range at the end of the competition preparation period.
The individual in this study undertook a slower rate of weight loss than in most of the other papers.
While testosterone levels dropped significantly, the rate of LBM loss was lower than the other papers. Multiple factors are at play here, but the slower pace of weight loss is definitely the one which stands out.
The level of cardiovascular exercise is lower than in other case studies. This volume is more comparable with the cardio I performed for the Anabolic Cutting routine. This data further suggests that too much cardio might be detrimental when seeking to lose fat and preserve muscle mass.
The prep time was shorter in this example, suggesting that a shorter preparation time at a slower rate of weight loss might be preferable.
Case study 4 – 21-year-old; 14 weeks prep
Robinson et al. A nutrition and conditioning intervention for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: case study
Over a 14-week period, the Athlete was provided with a scientifically designed nutrition and conditioning plan that encouraged him to (i) consume a variety of foods; (ii) not neglect any macronutrient groups; (iii) exercise regularly but not excessively and; (iv) incorporate rest days into his conditioning regime.
Of all the studies I examined, this one produced the least favourable results.
- Rate of weight loss (of total body weight, per week): 1%
- Calorie intake at the start: 2,340
- Calorie intake at the end: 1,550
- RMR at the start: 1993
- RMR at the end: 1814
- % Decrease in RMR: 9%
- LBM % of total weight loss: 43%
- % Decrease in LBM: 6.7%
- Testosterone levels at the end (ng/dL): Not Reported.
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) per week at the start: 0
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) at the end: 10
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the start: 30
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the end: 200
- Resting metabolic rate did not decline as severely as in other studies – perhaps due to the shorter length of the intervention.
- Calories reduced by around 800 per day by the end of the intervention to ensure a steady rate of weight loss.
- The rate of weight loss was within the range (0.5 – 1%) commonly accepted as adequate for this type of training goal .
The rate of weight loss was 1% per week – exactly the same level as one of my cutting experiments. Interestingly, the level of lean mass lost was almost identical as well (42.7% in the case study vs 41.9%).
Cardio formed a smaller part of the training routine, adding more weight to the rate of weight loss being the most detrimental factor when trying to retain lean body mass.
The macro breakdown was not as I expected. The diet was low-carb and high fat – contrary to what is currently suggested as optimal . Protein intake was, however, adequate. Based on this data, the diet element was likely a detrimental factor, too.
The Anabolic Fasting method
The Anabolic Fasting method is a new form of intermittent fasting. When I designed this method, I had several goals in mind:
- Keep calories in check.
- Concentrate my calorie intake within the 24-hours following a workout (where protein synthesis is highest).
- Optimise hormone regulation and minimise hormone disruption.
- Create an environment whereby my metabolic rate adapts more slowly.
How Anabolic Fasting works
Anabolic fasting means you will fast for 24 hours, workout in the evening, and then eat two days worth of calories during the 24 hours following training.
I theorised that the exact 24-hour fast and 24-hour feeding windows would significantly impact my circadian clock.
The circadian clock (also referred to as the circadian oscillator) runs on a 24-hour cycle. If I could implement two opposing clocks – (one anabolic and one catabolic), then I would be anabolic and catabolic at the same time while my body changed between both states in a new 48-hour cycle.
I am not a scientist – let’s get that clear. This might just seem crazy, however, I did think about this a lot and it just made sense to me. My other theory was that I would not suffer severely from metabolic adaptation because my body’s internal processes would see no need to adapt due to the vast calorie intake during the 24 hours I was allowed to eat.
Is this not the same as alternate day fasting?
Anabolic Fasting is not the same as alternate day fasting; however, alternate day fasting is the closest variation to Anabolic Fasting.
With alternate day fasting (ADF) you eat for one day, fast the next.
The Anabolic Fasting method is different because it is not based on a typical 24-hour day. The 24-hour fast can start at whatever time of the day you choose, however, working out in the evening so you can eat your meal before bed is preferable.
Alternate day fasting appears on the surface like a 24-hour fast; however, it allows for the consumption of 25% of your daily calories on fast days which means it’s unlikely you’ll ever fast for 24-hours – the chances are, you’ll be too hungry and will likely break your fast in the middle of the day. This means you will be eating during each 24-hour circadian cycle.
Fasting vs regular meals
There will always be debates regarding which is best – fasting or eating regular meals.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting was better for maintaining lean mass. In the papers I studied, 90% of the weight lost by the fasting group was fat and only 10% lean mass. This was compared with 25% LBM lost in the people who followed a simple calorie-restricted diet .
There are two main issues with these studies. Firstly, they only measured data over a short period of time (less than 16 weeks), and DEXA scans were not used to measure the results.
This is what makes my results more interesting. I did this for a longer period and also measured my results using DEXA, which showed 99% weight loss coming from fat.
In simple terms, I fasted for 24 hours starting at 10-11 pm and finishing at 10-11 pm the following day.
I would work out for an hour or so in the gym, then eat my first meal.
Following this, I would fast again for 16 hours – so my next meal would be at about 1-2 pm.
Then I would fast for another 8 hours or so and have my final meal at about 9-10 pm and continue the process.
I kept this up consistently for 24 weeks, only ever breaking my fast early by an hour or two, and often extending it to 26 or 27 hours.
The below image shows how this fasting and training method looks over one week.
Anabolic Cutting diet plan – Macros & meal splits
My macro breakdown was very different from the one I used during body recomposition.
While cutting down, I was keen to keep carbs higher and opted for a low-fat approach. This is the opposite of the macro split for body recomposition whereby fats are much higher (40% or so of total calories vs. around 20% of total calories). It is also the method advocated in a recent paper: Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation .
Macros were calculated per day, and then combined and divided into three even meals.
I was aiming for about 2,100 calories per day. Here is how I split it out:
- Calorie target: 2,100 per day
- 48-hour calorie target: 4,200
- Divided into three even meals: 4,200 / 3 = 1,400
First meal at 9/10 pm; second meal at about 1/2 pm on rest days; final meal at 9/10 pm on rest days.
The way the meals panned out means I was actually eating 1,400 calories on workout days, and 2,800 calories on rest days.
An alternative way of looking at it was that my caloric intake was 4,200 in the space of a day (when looking at a day as 10 pm – 10 pm).
My actual calorie intake ended up averaging 2,180 per day.
Protein was calculated using the Fitness Savvy protein intake calculator.
However, I opted for a slightly higher protein intake as a buffer.
This meant that if I got leaner than anticipated, my protein intake was already well-placed.
I consumed 165 grams of protein per day, on average.
My aim was for 20 – 25 % of calories from fat.
I tried to keep this on the lower end of the scale and looking at my data, my average fat intake was 23 % of total calories.
My fat intake primarily came from butter and oil used for cooking, with some fats coming from eggs and other foods.
In total, my average daily fat intake was 55 grams.
I did not cycle carbs as others suggest doing while cutting down. My carb intake was simply worked out by what was left over after protein and fats had been accounted for.
The remaining calories from carbs worked out at around 250 grams of carbs per day.
Remember, I ate all my calories during a 24-hour eating window. This means that I was actually consuming about 330 grams of protein; 500 grams of carbs; and 110 grams of fat for the 24-hour period following my workout.
This meal timing was a huge factor in helping my body remain anabolic when required so that I could continue to build muscle in an effort to counter any I would lose while in a deficit on fasted days.
Unlike the case studies, I did not need to cut macros in order to maintain the same rate of weight loss, so they remained the same from start to finish.
Anabolic Cutting workout routine
You may have read that you shouldn’t change up your routine when you cut.
This doesn’t make any sense; think about it – when you’re cutting, you have a totally different goal in mind to when you’re bulking or re-compositioning.
That goal is usually to shed as much fat while retaining as much muscle as possible.
For this to work, your diet, workout routine, exercise selection, rep ranges – everything – should change.
As with body recomposition, I adopted a simple upper/lower split.
This enabled me to hit each muscle group once to twice per week (1.75 times per week, to be exact).
Using this split allows enough time to recover between sessions and meant that there was no chance for overtraining.
For this routine, I worked out every other day – that equates to 3.5 times per week.
This workout frequency was also dictated by the fasting method I designed.
To fast for 24 hours and still maximise protein synthesis (for the 24 hours after working out), lifting weights every other day made the most sense.
I continued to perform core compound lifts such as the bench press, squat, and deadlift, however, these were done in a higher rep range than I would normally do. I operated in the 8 – 10 rep range for these exercises.
I also included many more supersets than usual. The idea here was to maximise muscle hypertrophy and to burn more calories during the sessions.
The routine includes more isolation work than the body re-composition plan I designed, which was also a tactic to get more muscle definition in these areas.
I performed some HIIT sprints for the first couple of weeks; however, I developed shin splints and decided to ditch this form of cardio in exchange for walking.
Walking is my preferred choice, and I would trek for about four hours per week which I estimated at 1,200 calories.
It is important to keep consistent with your estimates for the calories you burn with cardio. Estimates are just that and are likely to be wrong; however, if you remain consistent, tracking will be far easier.
Anabolic Cutting results
Here I have broken down the key stats from my Anabolic Cutting experiment and compared them with each other and the case studies.
I had a DEXA body scan at the start of my cut on 4th June 2020, and every eight weeks thereafter until my final scan on 20th November 2020.
I can understand that some people might look at the 14.9% body fat and say that this is nowhere near stage-ready body fat levels.
The place I get my scans has never measured anyone below 10%. This is after more than 6,000 scans of males – most of whom are interested in fitness and achieving great results. The way their machine is calibrated, 12 – 13% is what stage-ready individuals measured at. At my final weight, I was only around 3 – 4 lbs of fat away from stage-ready leanness (another three weeks or so of cutting) which you can tell by looking at the pictures.
Using body fat callipers, my body fat percentage at the end was just 3%! Using a tape measure, my body fat percentage was 7.5% (waist measurement was 74 cm, down from 85 cm when I started the cut).
The total duration was 16 weeks (24 weeks if you include the middle portion, which was a write-off, as explained in a minute).
Here is an overview of my results, addressing the same elements as the other studies.
- Rate of weight loss: 0.7% (.95 lbs/0.43 kg per week)
- Calorie intake at the start: 2,200
- Calorie intake at the end: 2,200
- RMR at the start: Unknown
- RMR at the end: Unknown
- % Decrease in RMR: Unknown
- Testosterone at the end (ng/dL): 444
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) per week at the start: 0
- HIIT Cardio (minutes) at the end: 0
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the start: 240
- Steady-state Cardio (minutes) at the end: 240
Rate of weight loss
The first thing to say is that I aimed for about 0.75 lbs of weight loss per week; or about 0.5 – 0.6% of total body weight.
The evidence suggests that slower weight loss is more favourable, so that’s why I set this target.
To achieve this rate of weight loss, I set my calorie intake at 2,100 per day. My maintenance was 2,450, so this equated to a 350 calorie per day reduction (or 2,450 per week).
I would also aim to walk a few times per week to keep things in check – especially if I went slightly over my calorie target for any reason.
In the end, my weight loss was greater than expected. This could have been due to inaccurate estimates of cardio calories, for example.
Weeks 1 – 8
During the first eight weeks, I actually added lean mass while cutting fat! I added 821 grams of lean mass (about 1.75 lbs) while losing 3 kg of fat (about 6.5 lbs of fat)
In total, my body fat percentage reduced by 3.5 per cent.
This is incredible because I was not new to lifting, and I was already pretty lean. Looking at current literature, body recomposition in males under these conditions is unheard of.
Upon seeing these results, I knew Anabolic Cutting was something special.
Below is an image of my scan and the data regarding lean mass gained and fat mass lost.
Weeks 9 – 16
I changed things up here to test some other theories.
The benefit of this was that I could revert back to the original method for the final 8 weeks and would therefore have even more data to play with.
If the new changes were favourable, then I would continue with this method; alternatively, I would swap back to the way which seemed to work.
Although my calorie intake was roughly the same, I only lost about 3 lbs in weight. The majority of this weight was lean mass.
I pinched a nerve in my neck at week 3. The pain was terrible and I missed over a week of training because I was unable to lift without being in pain.
I returned to the gym. However, I knew my results would suffer so I did not have the motivation to train at 100%. A combination of the minor injury and the changes I made to the routine meant that I could not really utilise these results.
My body fat percentage actually remained the same at 19.2 per cent, so I was able to continue where I left off at the end of weeks 1-8.
But what did I do differently?
Although we are not utilising these results, here is what I changed in the routine. I believe these changes also contributed to the negative results during this period.
- I decided to eliminate the 16-hour fast. The original plan was to fast for 24 hours, then 16 hours, then 8 hours. I thought perhaps if I ate regular meals during the 24-hours I was allowed to eat, the slow and steady protein stream would help build more muscle. This was a reasonable theory to test.
- In conjunction with the above, I began taking casein protein before bed. This worked well during body recomposition; therefore, it might help me add even more mass while in a deficit.
- I drank alcohol. I did not drink during the first or third part of my cut. During the second part, it was summer, and I had mojitos and Pimms once or twice per week after my injury.
- Because I was drinking casein protein, I consumed less of the all-in-one protein shake I previously took which contained creatine, glutamine, and many other muscle-building vitamins and minerals.
These changes were not major, by any means. I was still fasting for 24-hours at a time, I was still consuming the same amount of protein and carbs, and I was still taking a multi-vitamin and having some of the all-in-one protein shake I was used to.
My training routine did not change aside from the week or so I was away from the gym and the sub-par effort for the second four weeks.
Weeks 17 – 24
The final eight weeks saw the largest drop in overall weight – a massive 10 lbs.
It also saw an incredible reduction in body fat percentage – 4.3% in just 8 weeks!
Again, my calorie intake was steady; however, this level of weight reduction suggests my metabolic rate had improved, and that my maintenance calories were now higher.
In total, I lost about 850 grams of lean body mass (about 1.9 lbs) – still less than the 20% observed in Rossow et al, and also only slightly greater than the lean mass I added during the first eight weeks.
This lean mass loss might have been negated by slowing down the weight loss. If this was the case, the results of the Anabolic Cutting experiment might have actually shown body re-composition!
DEXA Image Scan Comparison
Here is the before and after scan images. You can clearly see the reduction in fat!
My hormone results
Systemic levels of testosterone are important for lean body mass maintenance  and reductions in body fat deposition.
I was not aware I could test my testosterone levels at home when I started my cut; however, I did find a company called Thriva, who offer a simple home test.
I tested my testosterone levels, and will again after three months so I can compare it to a baseline level.
The results were impressive.
Below is a table comparing my testosterone levels with the levels reported in the case studies I reviewed.
As you can see, my testosterone level was far higher than the others. I believe this is because of the new fasting methods I adopted.
After the age of 30, men’s testosterone declines at about 0.4 – 2% per year [10,11,12]. Using this calculation, my testosterone levels at baseline should be almost 3 – 15% lower than those in the studies. This would also suggest a lower final testosterone level which is far from what happened.
We can therefore conclude that the Anabolic Cutting method was highly successful in reducing the negative impact on testosterone levels, which in turn may have significantly contributed to the much lower levels of lean mass lost.
Power and strength
Over the course of the Anabolic Cutting program, I progressively overloaded and added to all my lifts.
I did not perform any 1-rep max tests or any heavy work, as such; however, I set new rep maxes in the 10 – 20 rep ranges consistently.
I would suggest the Anabolic Cutting routine is perfect for those who are concerned about losing strength throughout a period of cutting.
Comparison to case studies
We’ve looked at the case studies and I have shared my results.
Now it is time to compare my results with those of the case studies.
Firstly, we have a chart looking at lean body mass as a percentage of total weight lost.
For the Pardue et al. study, I have included both the BodPod and DEXA results for comparison.
One of the only other factors I can think of when looking at why my results might be so much better is the level of LBM I was carrying.
I am not near my genetic potential, so perhaps those who are carrying more lean mass at the start stand to lose more while cutting down.
I will test this theory once I have added at least another 10 – 20 lbs of lean mass. It will be very interesting to find out!
Secondly, here is a chart looking at the percentage reduction in lean mass.
Anabolic Cutting overview
Using the data I have collected, I can suggest the following as an optimal way of losing fat without compromising lean body mass.
- Cut weight at a slower pace – 0.5 – 0.7% of total bodyweight per week appears to be most optimal.
- Adopt a shorter prep period – 16-24 weeks appears to be ideal, however, if you can reach your desired body fat percentage in a shorter period (without exceeding the rate of weight loss discussed in point 1) then this would be preferable.
- Don’t do too much cardio – the results of the Anabolic Cutting experiment and those reported by Rossow et al. suggest that minimising cardiovascular exercise is a better approach.
- Calculate your daily caloric requirements for dieting. Multiply them by 2 to get your 48-hour requirements and split into three equal meals.
- Fast for 24 hours, followed by a 16-hour fast and then an 8-hour fast. You will eat three times every 48 hours.
- Working out in higher rep ranges appears to be ideal for burning more calories and enabling progressive overload – supporting anecdotal evidence in the bodybuilding community. The primary focus during this time is muscle hypertrophy – not muscular strength. Priorities should change to include more supersets but should not exclude core compound moves such as the squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press – these moves should simply be done in an 8 – 10 rep range rather than traditionally lower ranges of 1 – 6.
- Protein intake at 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is adequate for maintaining muscle mass – even at low body fat percentages, however, adding a 10% buffer is a great way of ensuring you’re in the safe zone. If you’re unsure, simply use the Fitness Savvy protein intake calculator to find out your requirements.
- Fat intake should make up 20 to 30% of total calories, as was used in both the successful Rossow et al case study and Anabolic Cutting experiment.
- Remaining calories should come from carbs.
- Using the Anabolic Cutting fasting method (24-hours; 16-hours; 8-hours) hormone regulation should be optimal and resting metabolic rate should remain stable which also means no need to restrict essential nutrients or add unnecessary levels of cardio – both of which are detrimental to LBM retention.
Get the Anabolic Cutting Program
I’ve tried to share as much info as I can in this article and my video, however, I’ve included more data in my Anabolic Cutting Program Including:
✔️ Detailed workout plan including the EXACT exercises I did on each day so you can replicate what I did.
✔️ How to progressively overload.
✔️ Detailed diet and macro data including examples of the meals I ate (including micronutrient breakdowns) so you can easily design your own meal plans.
✔️ The 10-minute abs workout plan I designed and how this fits into the plan.
✔️ + More
Get 20% off of the Anabolic Cutting program with the code ANABOLIC20. You’ll also get the Body Recomp guide and macro calculator. So that’s 2 plans worth £119.98 for just £47.99!
After seven years of in-depth research, experimentation, measuring, monitoring, and adapting, I have finally achieved a result I am happy with – a super-lean physique without the need to starve myself, take performance-enhancing drugs, or workout seven days per week.
I am sharing this cutting method with the world and look forward to seeing the results others achieve when adopting this regime. If I can achieve these kinds of results at 37 years old, I believe younger resistance-trained males could potentially add lean mass with Anabolic Cutting which would be revolutionary.
Watch this space, because I am busy working on my Hibernation Bodybuilding method. This new method aims to reduce the risk of injury, increase resting metabolic rate, and provide conditions suitable for packing on size faster than current methods available.
The first results should be in by April 2021.
- Rossow LM, Fukuda DH, Fahs CA, Loenneke JP, Stout JR. Natural bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery: a 12-month case study. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2013 Sep;8(5):582-92. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.8.5.582. Epub 2013 Feb 14. PMID: 23412685.
- Kistler BM, Fitschen PJ, Ranadive SM, Fernhall B, Wilund KR. Case study: Natural bodybuilding contest preparation. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014 Dec;24(6):694-700. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0016. Epub 2014 Jun 5. PMID: 24901578.
- Pardue A, Trexler ET, Sprod LK. Case Study: Unfavorable But Transient Physiological Changes During Contest Preparation in a Drug-Free Male Bodybuilder. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2017 Dec;27(6):550-559. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0064. Epub 2017 Aug 3. PMID: 28770669.
- Robinson, S.L., Lambeth-Mansell, A., Gillibrand, G. et al. A nutrition and conditioning intervention for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: case study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12, 20 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0083-x
- Johannsen DL, Knuth ND, Huizenga R, Rood JC, Ravussin E, Hall KD. Metabolic slowing with massive weight loss despite preservation of fat-free mass. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul;97(7):2489-96. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1444. Epub 2012 Apr 24. Erratum in: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 May;101(5):2266. PMID: 22535969; PMCID: PMC3387402.
- Camps SG, Verhoef SP, Westerterp KR. Weight loss, weight maintenance, and adaptive thermogenesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):990-4. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.050310. Epub 2013 Mar 27. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Nov;100(5):1405. PMID: 23535105.
- Helms, E.R., Aragon, A.A. & Fitschen, P.J. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 11, 20 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20.
- Varady, K.A. (2011), Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?. Obesity Reviews, 12: e593-e601. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00873.x
- Griggs, R.C., Halliday, D., Kingston, W. and Moxley, R.T., III (1986), Effect of testosterone on muscle protein synthesis in myotonic dystrophy. Ann Neurol., 20: 590-596. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.410200506
- Harman, S., Metter, E., Tobin, J., Pearson, J., Blackman, M. (2001) Longitudinal effects of ageing on serum total and free testosterone levels in healthy men. Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 86: 724–731.
- Kaufman, J., Vermeulen, A. (2005) The decline of androgen levels in elderly men and its clinical and therapeutic implications. Endocr Rev 26: 833–876.
- Wu, F., Tajar, A., Pye, S., Silman, A., Finn, J., O’Neill, T.. (2008) Hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis disruptions in older men are differentially linked to age and modifiable risk factors: the European Male Aging Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 93: 2737–2745.