Tips To Help You Improve Your Cutting Program
For bodybuilders and gym users, the cutting phase is a natural follow-up to your bulk. After packing on muscle mass, you’ll then try to cut to lose body fat and get shredded. However, there are lots of potential tips that can help optimise your cutting program and help you drop weight fast.
This list of tips takes some inspiration from the professionals. Cutting weight is a fact of life for any athlete who has to weigh in for events. From martial artists and wrestlers to boxers and powerlifters, anybody involved in competitive cutting has learned a thing or two about effective weight cutting. Fortunately, you have a lot longer to cut – whether you do a 4 or 8-week cycle, compared to a martial artist’s week-long cut. Here are the tips you should use…
Heavily cut carbs, use them for fuel only
Carbohydrates enter the body and are converted into glucose to replenish glycogen stores. Any excess carbs are turned into body fat. For an effective cut, proper carb management is essential.
You should consume a small portion of complex carbohydrates in one meal pre-training, to fuel your workout, and a small portion of refined carbohydrates post-training, to replenish your body’s energy. The fewer carbohydrates you eat the more body fat you’ll lose. However, if you feel too sluggish or tired add in more complex carbohydrates pre-training.
Do not cut carbs entirely. This causes the body to enter ketosis which can be dangerous if you do it improperly.
Avoid refined sugar entirely
Aside from fruit, you should cut sugar completely from your diet. Soft drinks and sugary treats are completely off the menu, as all of them quickly spike your insulin levels and cause excess glucose which is generally stored as fat. When you’re craving something sweet, snack on fruit, as fructose is lower in GI than refined sugars.
Aim for fiber-rich fruit such as dates, as dietary fiber helps keep you feeling full by absorbing water. It also lowers insulin levels to avoid excess being stored as fat.
Drink a lot more water
For fighters and performance athletes, water is a key part of their weight loss. They’ll load up on water for weeks and then rapidly cut it out so they enter flushing mode. They’ll then dehydrate so they’re as light as possible for a weigh-in.
Obviously, this is not a healthy way for a bodybuilder to cut. However, manipulating water is a key part of cutting weight. By increasing your water consumption you’ll be able to stay hydrated at all times and you therefore need it most. When you’re cutting calories, drinking lots of water will make you feel fuller, calorie-free.
You can also use green tea or black coffee, both basically calorie free which lets you add some taste to your liquid intake, if you’re sick of water.
Use HIIT rather than steady state cardio
If you’re trying to burn through body fat in a cutting program, you’ll generally have 4-8 weeks to get rid of as much fat as possible. A HIIT program in your week of lifting can really help cut down fat in as fast a time as possible.
High intensity cardio exercise causes greater fat loss due to the increase in oxidative capacity, meaning you’ll continue burning calories after you’ve finished – whereas steady state cardio only burns calories at the moment you’re exercising. HIIT can also suppress your appetite, while steady state cardio can actually stimulate it.
Utilise healthy fats
Shedding body fat might be your goal, but cutting out fats can actually be counterintuitive. Consuming healthy fat will aid your cut, as the essential acids in healthy fats take much longer to break down in your stomach compared to other food types.
For healthy fats, consume fatty fish, nuts and seeds and olives. Don’t go overboard, but get around 20% of your macronutrients through good fats.
Ultimately, your cutting success depends upon what caloric deficit you set and how well you can stick to it. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. The tips above will all help – but the success of your cut depends on your own determination. Hence, only through dedication will you see a ripped, toned physique take shape.