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Last updated: 14th December, 2017
Cutting is a term used in the bodybuilding community to consume less than what their body burns, a calorie deficit as it’s commonly known. Cutting is a period of dieting leading up to a day of competition or even summer that aims to lower body fat and retain as much muscle mass as possible.
There are many techniques and tricks bodybuilders use to achieve that tight ribbon look.
First, increase the number of times you do cardio. During this period of cutting, you must drink more water to suppress your hunger needs and give you the energy you need to workout on top of your meals. Drinking coffee in moderation also helps the process for it can boost your metabolic rate and increase fat burning. It can also suppress your appetite. The coffee you drink doesn’t even have to be the expensive kind that a hippy barrister brews up in a cosy corner shop, cheap instant coffee will do wonders.
Like bulking, cutting is not a short-term goal and sudden weight loss in a short period of time is a dangerous road. A cut usually spans over a number of months. Most bodybuilders aim to start their cutting period 3 or 4 months’ prior to a competition. To cut over a long period of time, you must find out what your maintenance level of calorie consumption is and lower it by 200. Once you hit a plateau, lower it another 200 and so on.
On a cut, you are aiming to get leaner muscles. Therefore, to achieve this, you have to aim for a combination of low and high interval training where you combine cardio training such as HIIT and resistance training, such as compound workouts in high repetition and/or sets. To reiterate, you must perform higher repetitions of weights lighter than what you would use for bulking and combine more cardio into your workouts. By following a set workout and meal you can get an appreciable gain in fat loss and an appreciable gain in muscle mass that will make you look physically more aesthetic.
Compared to bulking, where there is a dirty bulk and a clean bulk, your end result would rely on 90% of your diet. Although there have been studies shown where you can eat chocolate bars all day and lose weight, you aren’t getting the nutrients required to gain muscle mass. Meal prep and consuming healthy foods is key to a successful cut.
Depending on how serious you are about your cut, you can decide on how often you allow your self a cheat day and whether you want to put oils or seasoning in your food.
Why oil and seasoning? Oils, although it provides you with energy, it’s often high in trans- fats, which is unsaturated fatty acids. Seasoning, especially salt because it stores water, so when you compete you look bloated and compared to the others who have that ribbon shredded look because they avoided salt. Remember when cutting, oils and salt equal no medal.
Therefore, you must maintain your protein and fibre intake in moderate amounts. The transition from a bulk to a cut is difficult because a majority of people prefer to stay in the bulking stage because hunger is usually stronger than will. A good rule of thumb is to eat what you normally eat during a clean bulk, minus salt and oils and eat below your maintenance level.
No bullshit, if you are:
You are doing your cut incorrectly. If you feel any of the above, you should scale back your workout and check if you are eating correctly. Of course the more body fat you lose, the more weight you lose but you will feel weaker.
If you’re looking on how to bulk, you can read our article on The Ultimate Guide in the Art of Bulking.
If you are looking to compete or achieve a similar physique to a bodybuilder, there are supplements that you can take that will speed up the process. These include fat burners and your standard whey to give you the protein you require that you may not be getting through your diet. These include fat burners and your standard whey protein and pre-workout. Below are some supplements that we have chosen that would suit a cutting period. Keep in consideration that a supplement should not replace your meals for they won’t provide the nutrients that real food will. Food outweighs the benefits of protein supplements.