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I recently had Dexa scans three months apart (the first in the middle of a cut, another three months later). I was still strength training 3 days a week, still eating a lot of protein, kept cardio light, and I was deliberately on a slow cut (<1 lb a week) to avoid losing too much lean mass -- and yet according to the scans, I lost a little more muscle (5 lbs) than fat (4 lbs).

I was pretty surprised, since most people seem to think muscle loss is overrated, and I was also deliberately trying to structure things to minimize it. (And I don't think it's just water loss, as I was already two months into a cut at the first scan, and I've been steadily losing weight at the rate I've been expecting according to my calorie intake.)

What are some things I should try to avoid losing more muscle? Even if the jury is still out on whether a technique is proven to be effective, I'm willing to try it anyways as long as it probably doesn't hurt. (For example, I think people have differing opinions on the effectiveness of taking BCAAs throughout the day or during workouts, but as long as they're unlikely to hurt, I'll probably try taking them.)

More details:

  • Male, 25yo.
  • First Dexa scan was at 19% body fat. Next one was at 18% body fat.
  • Lost 9 lbs over 12 weeks (5 lbs muscle, 4 lbs fat).
  • Heavy barbell training 3 days a week (lifts have actually increased slightly), martial arts or light cardio 3 days a week.
  • Maintenance calories over TDEE on strength days, -650 calories on non-strength days.
  • At least 1g/lb of protein every day.
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