Are you ready to cut some body fat while maintaining muscle mass? Well, if that’s the case, this cutting diet plan is perfect for your needs.
When you think of losing fat, you imagine yourself on a treadmill or spending hours at the gym. The truth is that exercise isn’t the only way to lose weight.
As a bodybuilder, you can get rid of body fat through spring cleaning by cutting your diet. Spring cleaning is flushing out the bad parts of your diet or eating habits and strengthening the excellent characteristics. For instance, you can cut out processed or junk food in your diet plan and add more fruits and vegetables to get lean.
However, in this article, we’ll focus on how to spring clean by strictly cutting your diet.
What Is Cutting Diet
A cutting diet is a weight loss strategy that helps cut body fat or reduce body weight without sacrificing muscles to get lean.
It’s not long-term, but it’s usually taken by those who want to lose a few extra pounds before an important event or by bodybuilders and athletes preparing for bodybuilding, boxing, or mixed martial arts competitions.
A typical cutting diet plan consists of a high-protein, moderate-fat and low-carbohydrate ratio that helps you preserve muscle or achieve desired goals like weight loss, building muscles, increasing endurance, or gaining strength. In addition, these diets usually have lower calories.
However, it is not a good idea to follow a cutting plan diet for the long term. Why? Because your body needs carbohydrates to provide energy, it may also need some amount of fat to produce or absorb specific vitamins.
When to Start Cutting Diet
There are a lot of factors determining at what point you should start cutting your diet. Your muscles’ condition, current weight, and activity level all play into when you should begin cutting calories and what kinds of foods to eat.
Trying to lose fat when you’re already in a calorie deficit is usually a recipe for failure. That’s why most bodybuilders go through the bulking phase before cutting on a diet.
You should perform the bulking phase whenever you are in a calorie surplus. Typically, this would be consuming 500-1000 calories above maintenance level, but it can differ depending on goals, age, metabolism, and training history.
Bulking involves consuming many calories, a protein-rich diet, and heavier weight lifting to gain lean muscle while cutting body fat.
During the bulking phase, it is vital to eat more calories than your body needs to maintain its muscle and use the excess calories to build new muscle and preserve the already existing lean mass.
This phase can be broken down into three distinct goals:
- Eat more calories daily to put on weight
- Use this excess stored energy (from carbs and fat) to build new muscle
- Create metabolic debt by lifting heavy weights
After your bulking phase, you cut down on calories and increase the intensity of your workouts to lose the fat you gained while bulking.
The main difference between cutting and bulking is that you aim to gain weight and muscle mass during the bulk, while during a cut, you are trying to lose fat and preserve your lean mass.
Best Tips for Maintaining Strength During Diet Cut
Toning up without losing mass is one of the most challenging aspects of cutting your body fat. However, with a few clever tweaks to your workout regimen, you no longer have to choose between getting lean and maintaining your strength — with a few strategic changes to your training program anymore, you can keep your muscle and shed fat simultaneously. Here’s how:
Set Your Goal
Figure out what you want to achieve. It will determine what kind of foods you need to be eating on your diet plan. If your goal is to build muscle while losing fat, then you’ll need a different diet plan than someone trying to lose fat alone.
For instance, during cutting meal plans, athletes take proteins and carbohydrates in almost equal quantities not to reduce their muscle mass also try to eat natural foods like lean meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. This way, they can satisfy their hunger without taking so many calories.
It’s crucial you decide your goal before starting any diet or nutrition plan to know what results you’re working towards and build a meal plan with those results in mind.
Determine Your Caloric Intake
Your caloric intake is one of the essential parts of any meal plan because it determines what weight loss or weight gain results you’ll get and how quickly those results will show.
When losing weight, you use more energy than you have. Therefore, you should determine your caloric intake by knowing how many calories you need daily based on your gender, size, and age.
Also, during the cutting period, your body mass decreases and metabolism adapts. Therefore, you will have to adjust the number of calories you take to account for these changes.
The table below shows nutritional suggestions you can use for cutting meals. The recommendations are based on a 2014 study examining how people prepare for bodybuilding competitions.
Nutritional Recommendation in Cutting Diet
|Carbohydrate||55-60%(of the total calories or the remaining calories after calculating your protein and fat requirement )|
|Proteins||2.3 to 3.1% grams/ kilogram|
|Weight loss per week||.5 to 1%/week|
According to research, meal periodicity should be balanced for bodybuilding, with 3–6 meals a day, each with approximately 20 grams of protein.
For any other person, you should consume proteins at an interval of 3–4 hours throughout the day and inside 2 hours of exercise, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)Trusted Source.
You can use online pp such as Lose It! MyFitnessPal or Macro calculator to help you with an IIFY plan that can guide you in planning your nutrition and automatically keep track of everything that goes into your mouth.
Stick to High Protein Foods
Make sure you eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. It will help make your muscles not break down while cutting fat. Protein helps build lean muscle mass, which raises your metabolism even while you’re at rest so that you can burn more calories throughout the day. It’s also simple to digest, so you won’t feel stuffed immediately, which can help keep your hunger pangs away.
Don’t Cut Weight Too Fast
Going too fast when cutting weight is the worst you can do. This might seem counterintuitive, especially if you’re struggling to shed those last five pounds before a competition or photo shoot, but going too fast will only make it harder on yourself.
When you cut weight too quickly, your body enters into “starvation mode,” and it will begin to hold onto every last calorie it gets to survive. That implies that even if you eat healthy, nutritious foods, your body will turn them into fat instead of muscle.
It is essential to drink enough water before, during, and after your workout routine. Drink at least 1 gallon (4 litres) of water each day when cutting calories and losing weight.
Water helps us digest food, transport nutrients around our bodies, make hormones, and flush toxins from our bodies. When we don’t drink enough water, it slows down all these functions which can cause us to feel tired and lethargic.
Avoid caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate your body. Also, try adding fresh fruits like strawberries and oranges instead of drinking fruit juices.
Treat Yourself to Cheat Meals
You don’t have to be perfect while bulking, especially since you’re trying to maintain strength while adding muscle mass. Schedule one cheat meal per week — anything goes at this meal except junk food — and allow yourself this treat so you can stay focused on eating clean the rest of the time.
Take Protein Supplements
Protein supplements can help keep your gains coming. To build muscle fast, your body needs lots of protein in addition to healthy fats and carbohydrates, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Protein shakes make it easy to get the right amount of protein without having to figure out the right amount of calories or prepare protein-rich meals every day.
Stick to Your Technique
Keep doing what you usually do. Maintaining your regularly scheduled strength program is a great way to objectively measure your cut’s progress.
If you stick to it and find that you are keeping the old strength numbers while losing weight, that means you are getting stronger. This also allows you to make balanced strength gains while maintaining good technique and joint health.
Trying to emulate others’ programs can be disastrous for your shredding because your body responds uniquely to training stimuli, and what works for someone else might not work for you.
Meal Ideas for Cutting Phase
It is important to consume protein-rich foods, fiber and nutrient content while at the same time staying away from the “bad” carbs and fats that can cause weight gain. The following are some foods that you should include in your cutting Phase:
- Lean poultry (Chicken breast) – 57.7 grams of protein per 100-gram serving
- Fish – tuna, salmon and other fish high in protein (100 grams’ equals about 3 ounces of fish)
- Eggs –both whole and white eggs are one of the most incredible foods in existence. They contain all nine essential amino acids, vitamins A, B6, B12, D and E, while one whole egg contains 78 calories, 5 grams of protein
- High fiber cereal – Grape-Nuts with skim milk provides 23.5 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving
- Vegetables – Broccoli, asparagus, spinach and other leafy green vegetables are rich in nutrients with few calories
What Supplements Should You Take During a Cut
When we cut, our bodies need more protein and carbs. Meaning you should consume them in higher quantities than expected, depending on your weight. If you are trying to cut fat while keeping muscle mass, the following supplements can help:
Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine is very effective at increasing muscle mass. It allows you to train harder and longer, which will cause more muscle growth.
Whey protein – Whey protein helps build muscle mass and burn body fat. It is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements on the market today because it is inexpensive, healthy, and easy to consume. Whey protein is available as a powder; you can mix it with water or milk to make shakes and smoothies (recommended for better taste).
Glutamine: Glutamine is an essential amino acid necessary for muscle repair, growth, and recovery after workouts. This supplement will reduce soreness, improve muscle recovery and help prevent catabolism. It has glutamine has been shown to prevent muscle loss when cutting calories for those individuals who aren’t exercising as much.
Sunifiram: Sunifiram is a nootropic that improves memory formation and recalls by increasing choline levels. It also increases dopamine levels and enhances mood by decreasing anxiety and depression.
Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola Rosea helps increase energy levels in the mind and body to aid in workouts. It also helps control stress levels during a cut by boosting serotonin levels in the brain (the happy chemical).
This plan is the perfect way to cut weight healthily and sustainably. Adopting these rules will allow you to go to the gym with a clear goal, fix your mind on your desired transformation, and stick to it for good. It’s flexible enough to adapt it every week if you can’t follow it 100%.