What is cutting?
Also referred to sometimes as a shredding diet, the two key objectives of a cutting diet are:
- Cut down on body fat
- Maximise lean mass.
Catered towards all levels of experience, the cutting plan in this article will help you reduce body fat – but you’ll need to use a little bit of common sense, as all bodies are different.
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. The amount of calories you need to cut back on varies from person to person and involves your height, weight and activity levels which determine your metabolic rate. Because of this variation, only you can decide how many total calories you’ll need each day.
However, the diet for cutting prepared in this article is a great example of the types of food you should be eating to promote weight loss and healthy muscle development. While no plan can really encapsulate everything you’ll eat in the timeframe, we’ve provided a range of mix and match options to help you build your own plan that suits your calorie deficit.
However, to start with you’ll need some guidelines on nutrition that any cutting athlete will need.
The only drinks you should consume within a cutting diet are water, green tea and if you must, black coffee. Other drinks either contain extra calories or have artificial sweeteners and other things that can detract from your cut.
Water is calorie free, keeps you hydrated and is basically all you need to drink. If you’re one of those people who claims they don’t enjoy the taste, just keep drinking it and you’ll quickly grow used to it.
One of the best ways to cut is to opt for low GI (Glycemic index) foods. Loosely, GI relates to a food’s sugar content and how fast it releases glucose in the body. If you haven’t worked out and eat high GI foods, they are stored as fat.
With that in mind, you should cut out sugary, high GI food such as white rice, white bread and pasta and replace them with low GI carbs such as brown basmati rice, wholegrains and fruit such as apples and berries.
There are good and bad fats, but in a cutting diet you want to try and taper down all kinds, since fats are an inefficient energy source compared to carbs and are responsible for the physical appearance of body fat. With that in mind, aim for 20% or less of your calorie intake from good fats.
When you’re eating at a calorie deficit, you’ll lose body fat. Doing more cardiovascular exercise will increase the rate at which you burn calories, so you’ll be able to drop body fat faster if you stick to your deficit whilst training hard. This also means that if you add heavy cardio in, you can treat yourself to a more carb-heavy meal on that day.
The 4 Week Cutting Diet
Our diet for cutting is adjustable depending on how many calories your deficit allows you to eat. With that in mind, we’ve listed options and approximate calories from each part of the day.
As mentioned previously, you’ll need to manually work out your calorie deficit which can bear done with an online calculator. You’ll want to maintain macronutrient ratios of around 30-50% calories from carbs, 30-40% from protein and 20% from good fats.
Breakfast options – select one from the following list each day
- 50g wholegrain porridge, handful of blueberries and a protein shake (approx. 340 cals)
- 4 scrambled egg whites, 2 slices wholemeal toast (approx. 410 cals) Ham, mushroom and spinach frittata (approx. 230 cals)
- Asparagus soldiers with soft boiled egg (approx. 186 cals)
- Breakfast smoothie with banana, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, water + honey (approx. 130 cals)
- Whey protein pancakes (approx. 111 cals per pancake)
Morning snack options
- Banana (approx. 100 cals)
- Any single piece of fruit or handful of berries (cals vary)
- 1 cup edamame beans (approx. 250 cals)
- Handful of nuts (approx. 160 cals)
- Promax Lean Bar (approx. 206 cals)
- Chicken, brown rice and broccoli (approx. 300 cals)
- Extra lean ground beef, cauliflower and brown rice (approx. 300 cals)
- Grilled courgette, kale, pepper and humous wrap (approx. 332 cals)
- Chicken wrap with tomatoes, cucumber, olives and hummus (approx. 243 cals)
- Chilli with quorn mince (approx. 275 cals)
Post-workout snack options
- Apple and almond butter (approx. 270 cals)
- Almonds (approx. 160 calories per 22 almonds)
- Promax Lean shake (approx. 240 calories for a 2 scoop serving)
- Greek yoghurt (approx. 59 calories)
- Tuna steak, two sweet potatoes, broccoli and asparagus (approx. 350 calories)
- Chicken burger with wholewheat bread + fried egg (approx. 500 cals)
- Chicken stew with quinoa and beans (approx. 330 cals)
- Beef stir-fry with brown rice (approx. 400 cals)
- Low calorie chicken korma, replacing cream with yoghurt (approx. 376 cals)
- Singapore noodles (approx. 415 cals)
By taking the meals above and mixing them up, you can create variation every single day, for the four weeks of your cutting diet. An example day might look like this:
50g wholegrain porridge, handful of blueberries and a protein shake (approx. 340 cals)
Banana (approx. 100 cals)
Chicken, brown rice and broccoli (approx. 300 cals)
Promax lean shake (approx. 240 cals)
Singapore noodles (approx. 415 cals)
Obviously, depending on your calorie deficit you can either include more food or snacks in your day, or cut down. The key to a healthy cut is variation and determination – so set your 4 week goal and get your calorie intake down!