In bodybuilding, it’s onlyafter a dry that we can really appreciate the muscle mass gained during mass gain. It rids you of bulky fat and reveals the muscles that lie underneath. However, this cut is not done just anyhow. As for mass gain, you have to take your time and you have to control your diet. Here are the keys to dry well and succeed, that is, get rid of as much fat as possible while retaining as much muscle as possible.
A low calorie diet
This is the basis of cutting: a diet that brings you a quantity of calories slightly below your daily needs. It therefore forces your body to draw on its reserves to meet its energy needs. However, you have to know how to manage your nutrient intake, because some must remain a priority.
These nutrients are used, among other things, by the body to build and maintain muscles. What happens if you don’t consume enough? Your body draws on its reserves… The other muscles! During a cut, you should therefore avoid reducing the amount of protein you consume. Maintain about 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This will make your body less likely to shed muscle. You will thus preserve your muscular capital.
One of the very common big mistakes is to reduce fat intake to a minimum. However, lipids are essential to the body. They serve, for example, as a basis for the production of hormones. If you deprive yourself of it, it is obvious that your body will no longer function at its best and that your performance will suffer. You too. So keep about 30% of your calorie intake as fat.
It is therefore rather on this kind of nutrients that you will act. By gradually lowering carbohydrate intake, you will force your body to tap into its fat stores. However, maintain sufficient intake around and during your workout. Otherwise, you risk feeling weak and not recovering properly. However, if you are less good at training, your muscles will be less useful and they will melt away.
The reduction of carbohydrates must therefore be done over the rest of the day.
Note that you should favor foods with a low Glycemic Index because those with a high GI promote the storage of fat.
They are essential for health because they provide vitamins and minerals. They also contribute to the body’s acid-base balance, which can prevent muscle wasting and long-term health problems.
Another interest, by eating vegetables during a meal, you lower the GI of this meal. However, as we have seen above, it is necessary to favor a low GI. In addition, vegetables are low in calories, so you can consume them at will.
How much to lose and how to go about it?
Now that you know how to compose your meal plan, you need to figure out how many calories you need. The first step is therefore to estimate these needs with a calorie calculator. If you were gaining weight, you can also simply gradually lower your caloric intake from week to week, until your weight stagnates. You will then have reached the intake that corresponds to your daily energy needs.
From this base, you will lower your calorie intake approximately 250 kcal. This should kick start your fat loss. If this is not enough, you can drop another 100 kcal, and so on. Your goal should be a loss of around 500 grams per week.
As long as you lose at this rate, keep your diet that way. If the loss slows down over several weeks, then you can again lower your intake a little by adjusting the carbohydrates, or even the lipids, slightly.
Watch your belly circumference!
This is an interesting indicator for your dryer. Indeed, your goal is that your belly circumference decreases as much as possible vis-à-vis your weight loss. More clearly: if you lose 1 cm in waist circumference for 300 grams lost, your cut is going very well, you lose a lot of fat and little muscle. But, if you lose little belly and your weight decreases quickly, it is probably that your muscles are melting and that you are not getting rid of your fat enough.
You can also use other measurements, especially the arms. These measurements are bound to drop, but your goal is for them to drop as little as possible as your veins become more and more visible. This will mean that your muscle volume has been well preserved and that the fat has disappeared.
Don’t change training!
One of the most common mistakes of bodybuilders during their cut is to modify their training. Their workouts usually consist of exercises with heavy weights and medium reps and they usually switch to high reps with light weights. The stated objective is often to burn more calories to lose more fat. However, by modifying the solicitation of your muscles, you send them a different message, that you are no longer aiming for muscular hypertrophy, but rather endurance. Results, you risk losing volume and muscle, which is the opposite of your cutting goal.
You must therefore maintain an “anabolic” training with heavy weights and short to medium reps, as you probably did before. The intensity must be present, even if you feel that you are more tired. Obviously, your performance may drop a little, it’s normal since you eat less.
In summary, you should not reduce your loads during the cut; the long and light series do not help to dry out! If you have to reduce something because you can’t hold it anymore, reduce your volume of work (exercises and sets) and/or increase your break times between sets.
Also avoid add sessions under the pretext of burning calories, you simply risk exhausting your body. Your body needs rest to recover, and this is even more true in the dry, where it may take longer.
The place of cardio in the cut
Should you add cardio during a cutting phase? This is a question that comes up often. It’s not an obligation.
Cardio will allow you to burn more calories. It therefore increases your daily caloric needs. But, if you have already lowered your intake enough and it works well, there is not much point in adding more cardio. On the other hand, if your weight is stagnating or you are not lean enough, this can be a way to start fat loss again, instead of reducing your calorie intake even further. Be aware, however, that cardio tends to accentuate muscle loss.
If you have to do it, you can opt for low-intensity cardio sessions in order to maintain your muscle mass as much as possible.
For example, one-hour walking sessions on a treadmill will do the trick. We can do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) at the start of the cut when the reserves and energy are still there, then switch to low-intensity cardio afterwards.
Siliana Gaspard. Before: 58 kg, 30% fat. After: 7% fat (in competition).
Examples of cutting meals
After all these explanations, here are concrete examples of menus for the cut. These menus are to be adapted according to your lifestyle (physical activities, work, availability, etc.), your eating habits and your tastes.
And the supplements for the cut?
Some recommend using supplements during the cutting period. They are supposed to help you get better results. But are these products effective for make you dry faster?
Yes. If you want to lose fat while maintaining your muscle mass, fat burners are supplements that can actually help you burn fat faster. They are not essential to dry out because food does 90% of the job, but a fat burning supplement can help you anyway. To name just one: caffeine! It is the most effective supplement for drying because it oxidizes lipids and increases your energy expenditure. So choose a fat burner supplement that contains a good amount of it.