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I'm 6"1 (187cm) at 194 pounds (88kg) targeting 187 pounds (85kg) and currently eating between 1800 kcal and 2200 kcal daily, with 50 % protein and fat & carbs more or less balanced. I've been doing this for 3 weeks and want to continue for another month. First muscle structures around the abdomen are slowing starting to show, so the way I'm doing things can't be completely wrong.

Now I however read that you should strongly cut your training when on a diet, e.g. train one muscle ground every 6 days in the 6-12 rep range or when doing pure strength excersises (1-3 reps) even take as much as a 10 day break.

Are these recommendation only valid for bodybuilders trying to increase muscle mass at max rate? I'm interested in maintaining 85kg (187kg) longterm as I do love roadbiking, but at the same time I want to increase my strength (less fat, more and stronger muscle).

Currenlty I'm running to the gym on a "schedule" similar to this one. I don't have problems performing max strength excersises in the gym, but I rarely manage more than 1-2 sets at full weight and mostly one manage on set in the 8-12 rep range before hitting the big weights. Even then, if I would fully feed managed 10 reps I only manage 8 when on diet.

Push:

  • Benchpress: 1x15x110 lbs, 1x8x198 lbs, 1x2x246 lbs
  • Low squats (only started 4 month ago): 1x10x88 lbs, 1x10x132 lbs, 1x10x176 lbs, 2x3x231 lbs
  • Standing military press: 2x5x88 lbs, 1x4x110 lbs
  • Dips: 2x10x26 lbs
  • Isolated triceps: 1x10 to finish off my arms

Pull:

  • Pullups: 1x10x0 lbs, 1x10x44 lbs, 2x6x88 lbs or 1x3x130 lbs pull down with one arm at machine
  • Deadlift (pain for some small back muscle, currently resting): 1x10x110 lbs, 1x10x180lbs, 1x10x220lbs
  • Rowing: 2 sets a 10 reps
  • Dumbbell curls standing: 1x5x50lbs
  • Shrugs
  • Shoulder rotators
  • Reverted butterfly thing: 1x10

Training:

  • Day 1: Push
  • Day 2: Pull
  • Day 3: Rest or roadbike (25- 45 mi)
  • Day 4: Push
  • Day 5: Pull
  • Day 6: Rest or roadbike (25- 45 mi)
  • Day 7: Push
  • Day 8: see Day 2

(Note due to weather some weeks have no road bike and most only one session)

Even though I'm dieting I'm still progressing in squats and pullups (obviously weight drop helps...), plus I can eat a bit more because of the workout. Should I really reduce my workout? I couldn't eat any less without feeling hungry, and the missing workout would make me feel board, thus leading to eating.

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What is the goal of your training? and also, what is the goal of your current 'diet'? –  BigHomie May 16 '13 at 18:07
    
@MDMoore313 long term training goal is to have better strength to weight ratio, e.g one arm pullups, 2x-3x bodyweight benchpress, squats and deadlifts. Shortterm I want to drop about 7 lbs of fat to look better for summer. –  Franz Kafka May 16 '13 at 18:15
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1 Answer

The answer to your question lies in how you feel. If you feel run down, unmotivated, and you have to drag yourself to train, you are probably doing a bit much. It's natural not to be 100% when you are cutting fat, but when motivation suffers it's a symptom of over-training. The lifting portion of the program looks pretty decent, and there are a couple tweaks you can do to balance the work you need and the results you want.

In order to improve your training result, you have to do the following:

  • Train--this is the stressor. It will cause fatigue, and continual training will increase the fatigue.
  • Over-reaching--this is the level of fatigue where you feel a bit "crispy". It's a normal and healthy part of training.
  • Rest and super-compensation--this is where you cut the work back and let your body recover. When it is done it will be a stronger version of itself.

Over-reaching is good, over-training is bad. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Weight feels heavier than normal: this is a sign of over-reaching, but it can also just be a bad day. If it continues for more than a couple weeks you'll have to start the rest protocol.
  • Mental sharpness: the more you over-reach, the more you will feel like you are in a mental fog. Again, if this feeling continues for more than a couple weeks, start the rest protocol.
  • Mood/motivation: the more stress you have the more this is negatively affected. If you are alway irritable, feel depressed, or you lack all motivation you have over-trained. Take some time off for a bit.
  • Loss of strength: while it's normal to not be able to be at your peak performance when you are cutting, when your strength keeps going backwards you are probably mildly over-trained. Again, rest protocol.

What to do about rest:

Since you really don't have rest days in your plan, you can either modify it so that you add a rest days built in; or you can use an active rest protocol. One example of programming with rest days would be:

  • Mon: Push
  • Tue: Rest
  • Wed: Pull
  • Thu: Rest
  • Fri: Roadbike
  • Sat: Rest
  • Sun: Rest

This has the advantage of keeping every week looking exactly the same. You can probably push yourself a bit harder with the lifting this way than what you originally set up. However, if you feel that your current plan is working well for you, you can consider an active rest policy.

Active rest still has you training per normal, but the work load and intensity is cut down tremendously.

Active Rest Push Day:

  • Squat: 1x5 @ 50%
  • Bench: 1x5 @ 50%
  • Overhead Press: 1x5 @ 50%

Active Rest Pull Day:

  • Deadlift: 1x5 @ 50%
  • Rows: 1x5 @ 50%
  • Curls/shoulder work--focus on high rep low weight to get blood flowing

Active Rest Roadbike Day:

  • 3-5 miles @ easy pace

Essentially you do the active rest protocol when you start feeling ground down, and keep it up for 1-2 weeks, or until you start perking back up. If you ignore the over-reaching feeling and allow yourself to go completely over-trained I would take time off for a mental and physical break until you really feel the desire to get back to it.

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