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HOW TO CUTFAST

Cutting is the process of consuming fewer calories to kick start fat loss and reduce body fat percentage.

In bodybuilding circles, cutting is very popular with competitors who have recently undergone a bulking phase and are now looking to shed excess fat. This allows them to get as lean as possible, cutting fat while maintaining muscle mass.

Here’s how to start a cut:

Cutting is the process of consuming fewer calories to kick start fat loss and reduce body fat percentage.

In bodybuilding circles, cutting is very popular with competitors who have recently undergone a bulking phase and are now looking to shed excess fat.

This allows them to get as lean as possible, cutting fat while maintaining muscle mass.

Here’s how to start a cut:

SHOULD YOU BULK OR CUT FIRST?

If you’re new to building muscle and starting off at a healthy body weight, you should start off with a bulk. As a newbie at lifting weights, you won’t typically start off with a huge amount of muscle mass to get lean with during a cut.

Unless you’ve got weight to lose first, bulking is an important phase to gain large amounts of muscle and strength through a combination of diet, training and supplementation.

Once you’ve gained some muscle mass, cutting body fat is far easier since you’ll have plenty of gains to cut with, compared to if you dived into a cut first. As a guide, if you’re around 15 to 20% body fat, you should bulk first. If you’re above his percentage, you should likely start with a cut.

For the aim of this guide, next, we’re going to dive into working out how to start your cut and how long for.

If you’re new to building muscle and starting off at a healthy body weight, you should start off with a bulk.

As a newbie at lifting weights, you won’t typically start off with a huge amount of muscle mass to get lean with during a cut.

Unless you’ve got weight to lose first, bulking is an important phase to gain large amounts of muscle and strength through a combination of diet, training and supplementation.

Once you’ve gained some muscle mass, cutting body fat is far easier since you’ll have plenty of gains to cut with, compared to if you dived into a cut first.

As a guide, if you’re around 15 to 20% body fat, you should bulk first. If you’re above his percentage, you should likely start with a cut.

For the aim of this guide, next, we’re going to dive into working out how to start your cut and for how long.

Further reading:

CALCULATING YOUR CUTTING CALORIES

Like all areas of fitness, results don’t occur overnight. Whether you’re trying to smash your personal best, lose five pounds or double up on your biceps, consistency is key. The same applies to your cutting phase. In order to cut fat and maintain your muscle mass, you need to consistently stick to your calorie deficit.

Typically, bodybuilders aim to lose between a pound and a pound in a half each week. A pound of fat equates to around 3500 calories, meaning you’ll need to reduce your daily calorie intake by between 500 to 750 calories.

As well as consistency, you need to allow yourself enough to cut successfully. If you try to lose fat too fast, you’re likely to also lose muscle mass. In a bid to cut fat quickly, you run the risk of entering dangerously low-calorie levels, which can impact your metabolism permanently. Be sure to consider any holidays, events or social occasions which may disrupt your cut. To allow for these minor setbacks, we’d recommend adding one or two weeks to your total cutting time.

Like all areas of fitness, results don’t occur overnight.

Whether you’re trying to smash your personal best, lose five pounds or double up on your biceps, consistency is key.

The same applies to your cutting phase. In order to cut fat and maintain your muscle mass, you need to consistently stick to your calorie deficit.

Typically, bodybuilders aim to lose between a pound and a pound in a half each week.

A pound of fat equates to around 3500 calories, meaning you’ll need to reduce your daily calorie intake by between 500 to 750 calories.

As well as consistency, you need to allow yourself enough to cut successfully.

If you try to lose fat too fast, you’re likely to also lose muscle mass.

In a bid to cut fat quickly, you run the risk of entering dangerously low-calorie levels, which can impact your metabolism permanently.

Be sure to consider any holidays, events or social occasions which may disrupt your cut.

To allow for these minor setbacks, we’d recommend adding one or two weeks to your total cutting time.

Further reading:

HOW TO STAY SANE DURING A CUT

In order to maximize your cutting phase, you need to remain consistent. If you give up too soon, it’ll have little impact on your fat loss.

If you cut for too long, you’re going to end up miserable, while hitting a ceiling in how much fat you lose. This is why a cutting phase typically lasts around 8 to 12 weeks. This period allows some significant changes to your body composition, without losing your sanity.

A common strategy during a cut involves adding cheat meals and/or refeed days into your cutting phase.

This helps to kickstart your metabolism after an extended calorie deficit while keeping you motivated with an occasional indulgence of carbs.

Don’t be afraid of gaining a little weight after a cheat meal/refeed day, as this is usually water weight that can be lost quickly after a couple of days.

In order to maximize your cutting phase, you need to remain consistent. If you give up too soon, it’ll have little impact on your fat loss.

If you cut for too long, you’re going to end up miserable, while hitting a ceiling in how much fat you lose. This is why a cutting phase typically lasts around 8 to 12 weeks. This period allows some significant changes to your body composition, without losing your sanity.

A common strategy during a cut involves adding cheat meals and/or refeed days into your cutting phase.

This helps to kickstart your metabolism after an extended calorie deficit while keeping you motivated with an occasional indulgence of carbs.

Don’t be afraid of gaining a little weight after a cheat meal/refeed day, as this is usually water weight that can be lost quickly after a couple of days.

Further reading:

DOES MEAL TIMING MATTER DURING A CUT?

Meal timing has been known to be a key factor in muscle growth, performance and fat loss. While this strategy may benefit competitive athletes, it isn’t quite so important for cutting fat. Research has shown that meal timing and carb intake can aid post-workout recovery in endurance athletes. With this in mind, this type of strategy isn’t required for a cutting phase.

Instead of focusing on when you eat, pay attention to the type of foods you consume and hitting your macro goals. To fight off hunger during a cut, opt for a high-calorie breakfast and fiber-rich foods that’ll help you feel fuller for longer. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), you should space out your protein intake across 3 to 4 intervals daily, within 2 hours of working out.

Meal timing has been known to be a key factor in muscle growth, performance and fat loss.

While this strategy may benefit competitive athletes, it isn’t quite so important for cutting fat.

Research has shown that meal timing and carb intake can aid post-workout recovery in endurance athletes.

With this in mind, this type of strategy isn’t required for a cutting phase.

Instead of focusing on when you eat, pay attention to the type of foods you consume and hitting your macro goals.

To fight off hunger during a cut, opt for a high-calorie breakfast and fibre-rich foods that’ll help you feel fuller for longer.

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), you should space out your protein intake across 3 to 4 intervals daily, within 2 hours of working out.

Further reading:

HOW TO TRAIN DURING A CUTTING DIET

Unlike a simple weight loss plan, strength training during a calorie deficit is crucial for maintaining as much lean muscle mass as you can while cutting fat. The more muscle mass you can keep, the lower your body fat percentage becomes. Alongside this, the more muscle you maintain, the more calories your body will burn at rest. This means you can then increase your food intake since your body will naturally burn more.

Although your recovery time may be slower than during a bulk, since your body is under the stress of a calorie deficit, you can still complete strenuous compound movements during a cut. These are usually the pillars of any strength training program, with the same strategy working to help you cut fat and retain muscle mass.

Remember, while you can definitely train hard during a cut, your body may not be able to reach the same level of intensity while in a calorie deficit. Opt for moderate-intensity instead.

Unlike a simple weight loss plan, strength training during a calorie deficit is crucial for maintaining as much lean muscle mass as you can while cutting fat.

The more muscle mass you can keep, the lower your body fat percentage becomes. Alongside this, the more muscle you maintain, the more calories your body will burn at rest.

This means you can then increase your food intake since your body will naturally burn more.

Although your recovery time may be slower than during a bulk, since your body is under the stress of a calorie deficit, you can still complete strenuous compound movements during a cut.

These are usually the pillars of any strength training program, with the same strategy working to help you cut fat and retain muscle mass.

Remember, while you can definitely train hard during a cut, your body may not be able to reach the same level of intensity while in a calorie deficit. Opt for moderate-intensity instead.

Further reading:

ADDITIONAL TIPS TO HELP YOU DURING YOUR CUT

Here are some extra tips to keeping on track with your cutting phase:
Here are some extra tips to keeping on track with your cutting phase:

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CUTTING FAQs

Cutting is a fat-loss phase that bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts use to get as lean as possible. As long as you don't cut calories too harshly you can enjoy safe weight loss and maintain as much muscle as possible.

It depends on your current body fat percentage. If you are a hard gainer who struggles to pack on muscle then a bulk is the perfect way to pack on some size. If you are overweight then a cut might be more appropriate first before going on a bulk. 

It depends on your mindset. Bulking involves eating when you're not hungry, which can be challenging. However, cutting is all about self-restraint, which can be equally as challenging.