To help us better understand the finer points of cutting, we have enlist the help of Maximuscle Ambassador Sean Lerwill. With years of experience within the fitness industry Sean has a wealth of knowledge and shares his views and opinions on the best way to cut for the Ibiza Challenge.
The biggest mistake I see with cutting is that people chastise or blame one food type, macro type, time of day to eat or something else and avoid it. The reason they do this is largely unknown by them. Heard it here or there, or so and so is doing it. The actual reason is to cut calories, which is the most important thing to do. Far more important than cutting this or that. Stick to the calories you need to cut and that will lead to results.
There are some other things that can help with a cut though. Some specific foods or food types that may help the journey or make it a healthier one.
The majority of people don’t drink enough. For many, this does little more than give them a bit of a headache from dehydration and perhaps makes some bodily functions run a little less smoothly. If you are on a cut, drinking water is imperative. Every function in the human body requires water. Give your body what it needs and it will function better - 1 litre per 20 kg of bodyweight is a good start.
2. Green tea
People are always looking for THE fat burner. The thing that will provide the perfect physique without any work. Well, that doesn’t exist. Not safely or legally anyway. Most fat burners on the market mobilise fat at best, but if you aren’t exercising to burn it off, it’ll just be stored again!
So, calorie deficit and exercise first, above all else. Green tea contains the antioxidants catechin and caffeine which may provide support whilst cutting. Either way, it’s a good way to ingest extra water and is by no means bad for you.
Like green tea, there is caffeine in coffee my suggestion would be to drink coffee black and therefore avoiding adding milk/sugar it remains calorie free. Meaning one cup won’t do any harm. In fact, it will aid concentration and alertness, assisting you in making every moment in the gym count whist on a calorie restriction. A top tip if you don’t like black coffee: allow it to cool a little then add it to a shaker with vanilla Promax to make a high protein sweet Vanilla coffee. This was always my go to when cutting for a shoot.
Any food you eat requires energy to digest. Protein requires more energy than fat or carbohydrates to digest. Therefore, eating a diet high in protein not only helps retain muscle tissue it can also help burn more calories because it takes 20-30% of the energy to digests it. An added bonus to eating more protein.
5. Vitamins and minerals - Fruits
Many processes in the human body require enzymes to function correctly. Without those enzymes some processes can’t function at all. Some diseases only occur because of a lack of vitamins and minerals. It is therefore really important to ensure you ingest all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function correctly and at a high-level. This is even more important when cutting because your body will be in a calorific deficit, which puts certain functions under more stress.
Far too many people become scared of carbohydrate and therefore limit the amount of fruit they eat which can lead to deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals which in turn hamper many bodily functions or lead to other more serious problems. Eating fruits and vegetables daily is so important, perhaps even more so when cutting and in a calorie deficit. A top tip is to eat fruit post workout when the body has used some of its stored carbohydrate. I also advise fruit within a protein shake in the morning after sleep.
Phytochemicals are micronutrients found in vegetables. Many are thought to be vitally important for the smooth running of certain functions in the human body. Much like vitamins and minerals mentioned above it is vitally important that when cutting that all bodily processes are running correctly. Therefore it is imperative to ingest enough good vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower etc. If you are not a fan of these types of food either try to change your palate, flavour them with paprika or other spices (not sugar) or blend them with your protein powders in vegetable smoothies. The addition of a protein powder can change the flavour completely.
7. Good fats
Certain fats, such as those found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines or those found in olive oil and coconut oil (amongst others) have been shown to have numerous physiological benefits. Omega-3 or essential fatty acid (EFA) found in supplements offer a dietary alternative for a much needed nutrient for health. Supplements are often easier to manage the amount dietary Omega-3 without lots of food changes being made.