As mentioned before, when it comes to achieving your dream body composition, there are usually 3 phases of training you have to go through: bulking, cutting and finally, maintenance.
We’ve shared the nutrition behind bulking, and so today it’s time for the cut.
The primary goal of the cutting phases is to reduce your overall body fat to reveal the gains made during your bulk.
Done right, and a cut can leave you looking shredded. Done wrong, a cut can mean losing all the gains you worked hard for and struggling to perform in the gym.
To prevent the latter, here are our top tips for mastering the nutrition that goes into a cut.
You need to be in a calorie deficit (but that doesn’t mean restricting your body of things it needs)
In order to cut successfully, you need to be burning more calories than you are putting in your body.
This will help you to lean out and reduce any of the excess fat gained during your bulk.
However, cutting your calories has the potential to impact your lean muscle mass as well as your fat mass, if not done in a controlled and sustainable manner.
To lose weight at a healthier pace, you want to be decreasing your daily maintenance calories by between 250-500 calories a day, depending on your activity levels and goals.
However, keep in mind that your daily calorie intake has to be compromised of the macronutrients your body needs to not throw away the process made on the bulk.
Get your macros right
Your protein intake is just as vital in a cut as it was back in your bulk.
This is because not only is protein needed to grow muscle; it is also crucial in the preservation of it. Not to mention, protein is known for helping you feel fuller for longer, which means you’re more likely to stay within your calorie limit.
During your bulk, we recommended about 2g of protein for every kg of body weight. On a cut, you want to maintain this, if not even increase it!
Some research has suggested up to 2.5g per kg of body weight.
Do the maths based on your own goals and current body weight and then decide what works best based on your dietary preferences.
You might want to lose fat, but that doesn’t mean not eating it.
In fact, as you’re cutting your calories, fat becomes all the more important to maintain hormonal balance.
You still want to be aiming for around 1g of fat per kg of body weight.
Remember that you need to remain in a calorie deficit while doing this AND still have room for a reasonable amount of carbohydrates, so be mindful of your own weight and how your body is feeling on the cut.
Whatever you have left when you have worked out your protein and fats based upon these rules should go to carbohydrates.
You want to still try and be getting at least 2g per kg of body weight to fuel your workouts. We would not recommend neglecting them – all your macronutrients are important!
Now you have mastered the basics of a cut in terms of nutrition; it is time to think about what these changes mean for you in the gym.
Stay tuned for part two of our Ultimate Guide to Cutting as we look at how to apply the principles of a cut to your training programme.
Let us know in the comments below the one food that gets you through your cut! What is your go-to cutting snack?
Images from Balance Meals. Check them out here for more meal inspiration to help you on your cut.