Muscle for life

MFL Podcast 55: Q&A Part 7: How TDEE changes when cutting & health effects of bulk/cut approach

MFL Podcast 55: Q&A Part 7: How TDEE changes when cutting & health effects of bulk/cut approach

In this podcast I take two questions from readers and dive into how energy expenditure changes when you’re cutting and what you need to do to keep the scale moving down and the health implications of cutting and bulking for long periods of time.


Why Rapid Weight Loss Is Superior to “Slow Cutting” (And How to Do It Right)

Why and How I Use Fasted Cardio to Lose Fat as Quickly as Possible

The Definitive Guide to Reverse Dieting

How to Accurately Measure Body Fat Percentage

4 Strategies for Losing Stubborn Fat for Good

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Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Debbye S. Sparks

    Good info as always! I wish I was one of those people who can get really lean without counting macros though. They’re so lucky. I’m 23.5% and I can’t just find a way to reduce my calorie intake to lose more fat without finding myself starving at the end of the day! I feel like I’m eating too little, even though I’m making baby gains at the gym lol, I feel I could do something to feel/do better, I eat about 1,800 – 2,000 cal a day, I’m 5’6″, about 147.5 lb, I eat about 160g prot 150 carb 40-50 fat, most of my carbs before my workouts -in the morning, about 7am- but then when I get home from work at like 11pm I just crave carbs! Any suggestions? May be I’m one of those people who need to eat more carbs since I’m really active, I workout in the AM, I’m a PT so I’m on my feet all morning and then I’m a server at night -no break during my shift!- may be I need to give my body more carbs so I can start losing fat, what do you think?
    Fasted training just doesn’t work for me btw, specially being a woman.
    Thanks Mike!
    BTW your hair looks good like that lol and the tan!!

    • jpcscs

      Eat more fruits and fibers veggies. Mix in some lean protein and a tinny bit of fat. This will help you feel more full.

    • Thanks Debbye! 🙂

      Haha don’t we all wish that?

      It sounds like we should look at the foods you’re eating. What does your average meal plan look like?

      And yes I’ve found that fasted training can be particularly tough for women.

  • Melanie Ellis

    I absolutely love this podcast! I am new to weight lifting (past 2 months) and looking to make some noticible gains in muscle size and strength. I have listened to Dr Norton’s interview several times. The info is legit. (Im a neonatal nurse practitioner so I calculate and interpret blood gases and manipulate molecules in IV nutrition everyday- both you and Dr Norton are on point with facts/info)
    Thank you so much! Great stuff!
    Melanie Ellis

    • Happy to hear it. 🙂

      I look forward to seeing your results from the weight lifting!

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Andres

    Great podcast Mike,

    We exchanged an e-mail regarding supplementing on collagen type 2 and you found a study that it shows some promise for ligaments/tendons. You stated that you were planning to release a bone/tendon/ligament supplement; any updates on that?

    And another note what effects tendon, ligament strength? Is there a type of activity/exercise that helps with with strengthening this tissue type?

    Final thought off topic somewhat; what are your thoughts on rebounding and the
    “Nasa study” which i yet to find the full study for. I have only been able to find statements stating that that the Nasa study supposedly found. This is as close as i could get to find a study on this:

    Supposedly benefits:


    You think this is more of a fad, gimmick, possible or fact.

    • Thanks!

      Yup the joint product is called Fortify and it’s about 1.5 to 2 months away.

      I’ve heard of this trampoline thing and ironically my mother in law has one but I haven’t looked into their claims to be honest. Not sure what to think.

  • Donald

    When is Phoenix back in stock?

    • It’ll be available in 2-4 weeks. Sorry for the wait!

      • Donald

        Any recommendation on what products to use during the meantime?

        • Unfortunately, there really aren’t any decent fat-burners out there…

          I recommend getting caffeine, green tea extract, yomhimbine and synephrine individually. Those will make a better fat-burner than anything you could pick up while waiting for Phoenix! 🙂

  • Dominic

    Hi Mike,

    Great podcast (as always), got more of rhetorical question. Using the fat burner such as yours, claiming it raises your metabolic rate by 150 calories, so burns 150 calories more per day.

    Therotically then if you used a maintenance diet, nothing changed in your diet, but just use your fat burner, over time would you reach fat loss that one would do with 25% cut? Obviously it would take muchhhhh longer, but theotically, possible? Right?

    • Steve Crook

      3600 calories is roughly 1lb of fat. At a deficit of 150 calories a day and assuming that your body doesn’t compensate etc. etc. you’re looking at ~20 days to lose 1lb.

      In a calorie deficit I managed to lose ~2lb a week (no fat burning supplements except coffee) and 35lb overall. Or roughly 2 years at 150 calories a day 🙂

    • Thanks for help Steve. 🙂

      Theoretically, it would be true for several weeks or even months, but like any stimulant, you can become less sensitive to Phoenix. So, you should take a 1 week break from it every 6-8 weeks.

  • Adel-Alexander

    Mike, can you make an article on bodybuilder acne? Would be totally cool to get some insight

    • Temirlan Nugmanov

      Hey Adel-Alexander,

      Last spring/summer I had crazy severe acne on my face and back. After reading the book the ” Clear Skin Diet” by Alan C. Logan, I found out that a lot of people have acne due to overconsumption of dairy goods and sugar. Although I didn’t read most of the book, I realized that while I was bulking on BLS, I had Whey (dairy protein) mixed with milk, at least one cup of greek yogurt, and at least one slice of cheese everyday for 3 months. I was loading up on dairy and my skin responded respectively in the long term.

      The miracle solution to my acne was a drug called Accutane. Although the initial reaction was even more acne, after around 6 months of intake, all acne was permanently gone!! I affixed my clear skin with egg protein and soy milk (both chocolate flavors actually taste not that bad – no comparison to milk whey though). Since then I had absolutely clear skin!! Although Accutane is very pricey (unless you have insurance) and has some uncomfortable side effects (mostly dryness and joint pain), it was absolutely worth it in the long term!

      Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions as I have been through this.

      • Thanks for chiming in!

      • Adel-Alexander

        Thing is, I’m on accutane too. But I’m still nervous because I break out whenever I eat something my gut can’t handle. Even on accutane! I just found out and It’s been 6 weeks with clear skin.

        It’s just that, I’m nervous how the hormonal changes by digesting whey and casein will affect my skin, despite being on accutane :S

    • As Temirian said, I know there are confirmed “trigger” foods like dairy and sugar but I haven’t looked into it much, to be honest. Would make for a good article actually.

  • Bob healy

    Hi mike interesting podcast. I’m wanting to reduce my body fat down to 10% from 14% now and start after I finish the latest phase in BLS. Do you still incorporate a deload/rest week in your cutting? And I’ve done intermittent fasting before but did the 16/8 fasting cycle and broke fast after my workout but you recommend after 6 hours when your in your fasted state.does it matter how long you fast for?
    Cheers bob

  • Will

    Could you go into adjusting calories after you
    finish a cut to go into a bulk? Would you use bulking calories at the weight you are at the end of the cut? Do you need to eat maintenance for a week first? And if so, are all these calculations using the new weight you are at after your cut?

  • RADRaze2KX

    Hi Michael,

  • Chris

    Listened to this podcast twice thinking how great it was. I then realised the first question was mine! Thanks Mike 🙂
    Chris from UK

  • Hi Mike, I just listened to the podcast. Thanks so helpful! My concern is this… I just got a custom plan from you guys , and was put on pretty low calorie to start (1262). So obviously, not much room to drop if I hit a plateau fat loss wise. I probably have about 3-5 percent to drop. Thoughts?

    • Thanks Mandy!

      Given your picture it looks like you’re starting out fairly lean so yeah that means you don’t have much room for cutting cals.

      Fortunately that also means you probably won’t have to. Or if you do, it will be late in your diet and won’t be a large reduction.

      Check this out:


      • Thanks for answering as always! Almost a full week into my cut per your plan and holding strong. Feeling some differences already 🙂

        • Happy to do it!

          Awesome you’re rolling on the cut and noticing results already. 🙂

          Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

        • Happy to do it!

          Awesome you’re rolling on the cut and noticing results already. 🙂

          Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Paul

    Hi Mike,

    I am nearing the end of my bulk and had a couple of questions for you before I began my cut. Last time I did my cut, I did my training first thing in the morning (as I always do) but fasted with legion. By the end of the cut I had lost quite a bit of strength, for ex, my squats went from 225lb down to 185. I never lost more than 1-2 lbs of body weight per week and followed everything laid out in BLS. Another thing I would like to add is that I’ve found my body typically burns a lot more than my “calculated” BMR. So with that, I have the following questions:

    1.) Should I try starting cut with higher calories? I believe last time based on BMR and TDEE, I had started cutting at 1700 cals since TDEE calculated to be at 2100 cals, however bulk ended at 3300 cals. I’ll be ending bulk close to that number again, should I start cut at say 2700 cals?

    2.) Should I try cutting without fasted training in the morning to preserve strength throughout cut this time? In one of your recent podcasts you mentioned some don’t do well on fasted in terms of preserving strength, maybe that includes me??

    • Hey Paul! Hmm. That’s a big loss in strength. That shouldn’t be happening. Let’s make sure you’re losing fat and not muscle when cutting:


      1. Your intake seemed fine since you were losing 1-2 lbs a week which is what I recommend.

      2. It is possible that you don’t do well with fasted training. You can try cutting without the fasted training and see how you do.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Luiz Botelho

    wow, nice to hang out with you anytime! you rock @michael_matthews:disqus !

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