It’s may and Winter isn’t coming just yet, but Summer is. You’re looking to lose the blubber you have stored and reveal the diamond abs you know are there somewhere but you’ve got all these questions in your mind. How do you go about cutting? How many calories should you eat? How much protein? Carbs? Fats? Let’s take a look, and get you prepared for your cut. How do I figure out my cutting diet? Be brave, it is a tough road ahead, but when you are turning heads it will all be worth it.
1. Have a Bodyfat Goal
So first of all you need to have a body fat goal. This might be difficult if you don’t want to have your body fat professionally measured, but using some cheap calipers you can get a rough idea. In any case, before you start your cut you MUST have a goal. Either a percentage, or a number of inches you are hoping to lose. This will give you motivation, and something to constantly strive towards. Write these goals down everyday, hang them up on your wall, tattoo them on your forehead! These are the numbers that are going to push you to action everyday.
2. Time Frame Goal
Have a time frame! Having a vague goal like, “I want to lose some fat” will get you no where. You need to be specific. We have discussed that you need a percentage or measurement goal, but this isn’t enough. “I want to lose 10% body fat” is easier to say than “I want to lose 10% in 6 months”. The second makes the goal real, it cements it in time, and will be vital to your success in achieving this goal.
How many calories? Ah the eternal question asked by weight loss enthusiasts. The answer is that there is no single answer. The amount of calories that you need will depend on your size, activity and goals. But what is definitely true is that you need to create a caloric deficit. You need to eat less calories than you expend. To check the exact amount of calories you need go here and fill out your details.
One thing you should know is that the number of calories you need may decrease. If you are cutting for a long time, there will come a time whereby your progress will begin to stall. One of the ways to overcome this fat loss plateau is to further reduce your calories. Think of calories as the building blocks of your body, the less you feed yourself, the fewer blocks your body has to add fat. This illustration has limits of course, since if you reduce your calories too much, you will lose muscle. So get that balance, and STICK TO YOUR CALORIE LIMIT!
4. How Much Protein?
Let’s talk macros! Firstly let’s do the easy part. Protein and Fats. This doesn’t require too much brainpower. Protein is the most important macro nutrient in your diet. Eat 2 grams per kilo of body weight. Some people might claim that you require less, but this simple formula works for everyone. Make sure that you prioritize protein in all your meals. General recommendations say to aim for a meal every 3 hours. Recent research has claimed that his may not be totally necessary, but for a short term cut it can be a great way to stave off cravings and preserve muscle. With fats in your diet, you will be eating a little more than usual. However, since fat is very calorically dense you need to keep it in check. Keep to healthy fats such as fish oil, Coconut oil, Avocado etc. Keep them within your daily calorie allowance and you will be fine on your cutting diet.
5. What About Carbs?
The dreaded C-word has reared it’s ugly head. We all know that carbs are vital for the human body to function optimally, and we also know that too many of them give you a soggy midsection. Carbs are easily stored as fat, since the body uses them as an easy energy source. To avoid this, you will want to be careful with the carb. To optimize the use of carbs, it is recommended that you eat them around your training session, and going for a lighter carb day when you aren’t training. Using them around your workout will ensure that you hoover them up into your muscles, and don’t let them hide your abs.
So to sum up, a good split for your macros can be shown below:
- 40-50% protein
- 10-30% carb
- 30-40% fats
These ratios can change if you begin to stall in your progress. Dropping your carbs a little usually helps to overcome instances where you slow in your progress. Every body is different, so play around with a high protein lower carb split first, and see where it takes you. If you need to change it later, then do so, but as a rule, higher protein, lower carbs and a caloric deficit will get you losing fat quickly.
6. Your Training
This isn’t a training article, but it goes without saying that for a successful cut you are going to have to keep training your ass off. Don’t take the rationale that you can ease off in your training, keep doing what you are doing. If you haven’t been training for long, then stick with big compound movements. Another good bit of adivce would be to hit some HIIT sessions a couple times a week, and do some fasted cardio.
A warning! Do not start by doing fasted cardio, HIIT and two weight sessions per day. Add these things to your arsenal one by one. When you start stalling, add fasted cardio, when you start stalling again, add another HIIT session. This will ensure that your body doesn’t adapt too quickly to all the fat loss tools that you have at your disposal. Keep your body guessing and your fat dropping!
7) Cheat Meals & Progress
Cheat meals have been accompanied with much jargon about refuelling leptin levels, helping to give the body a shock into dropping more fat. The science is conflicted, but what is not in doubt is that it can give a little mental rest. However, think of it this way. The less you cheat, the quicker you will make progress. That bucket of fried chicken isn’t going to help you get closer to your goals physically, but it may help mentally. If you feel that cheat meals really help you continue your diet long term, then go for it.
Alternatively, you could just program in to your macro tracker that you are going to eat something a little bad every now and then. Going way over your calorie limit regularly will only slow your progress. So in short, cheat less, progress more and remember, keep tracking your progress, have definite goals, and keep training like a beast. Watch out beach goers, we have a new cat in town.