When you have been weight lifting and training consistently for months, there comes a time when you eventually want to see the muscle that you have built underneath. This is where cutting comes in.
It is time to shed the excess fat and let your muscles shine. Whether it is simply for aesthetics or you are preparing for a competition, cutting is an essential part of keeping your health and body in top shape.
In this article we have a full guide to aid in your cut. We explain what cutting is, how it can help you and why you should really reap the rewards of hours spent in the gym.
Are you ready to learn more? Keep reading!
What Is Cutting?
Before we provide you with a full guide to cutting, it is important to understand what cutting is and what it can mean for your body.
Women, in terms of weight, function differently from men, women typically hold onto their fat more.
Meaning that the typical woman will often run into issues when it comes to fat loss. This can be due to a range of reasons, the main one being genetics and hormones.
Cutting is simply another word for fat loss. Bodybuilders are the main users of the “cutting” word, but it is equally widely used and understood in all other weightlifting sports.
A woman who embarks on a cut deliberately does so with the goal of displaying the lean muscle she developed throughout her bulking phase (see also ‘A Guide To Cutting And Bulking For Women‘).
Many sports require cutting such as powerlifting, boxing, UFC, and of course bodybuilding. This is often done in an attempt to meet a particular weight class.
When To Enter A Cut?
Fewer women inquire about when to cut yet many are eager to learn how. This is significant because women who have been actively bulking for at least 12 weeks—longer for total beginners—can only trim.
Typically, the cutting phase of the cycle is the most alluring for women. However, you must realize that if you’re brand-new to lifting and you’re treating this seriously, you shouldn’t even think about a cut until you’ve been doing it for at least six months.
It is important to remember that cutting only comes after a bulking phase. A bulking phase is when you specifically gain calculated weight in order to grow muscle. You cannot cut without doing a bulking phase beforehand.
If you are competing, you should evaluate your competition date and the amount of fat you need to lose. Then, simply determine how many weeks you must be in a cut for in order to reach your goal by counting backwards from the competition date.
When cutting, it is important to do it in a healthy way. The average person should lose 1-3 pounds of fat per week. So, if you are cutting in preparation for a competition then you will want to give yourself enough time to lose at a rate of 1 pound per week.
Cutting Vs Dieting
Unless you are actively training and doing your research on building muscle, you will often think that cutting is the same as dieting. This is not the case.
Typically, “weight loss” includes a loss of muscle, fat, and water. The method you choose has a significant impact on how much of each you lose. The most muscle loss typically occurs when FAD and/or severely restrictive diets are paired with intense cardio.
Essentially a weightlifter’s worst nightmare coming true.
Whereas a cut involves a more strategy and is a purposeful move in your health journey to shed excess fat and show off your muscle.
Dieting is the goal of losing weight, cutting is the goal of losing fat while maintaining muscle.
Continue reading to find out how to go through a successful cut!
A Guide To Cutting As A Woman
Get used to being uncomfortable right away because cutting is a process, after all. Until they realize how much work it actually requires, everyone wants to do it.
The following are some things to think about before you even begin:
Define Your Goals
If you are considering entering a cut then you already know your main goal is to lose fat. However, you should be more precise and know just exactly how much fat you want to lose.
Putting a number to your goal will give you something to focus on and keep you motivated. Especially when times get tough and you want to quit.
However, it is important to remember that you will not be aware of exactly how much fat you are carrying in pounds. So, select a range between 20-30 pounds to lose over the course of 12 weeks.
To find your own goal, simply count back the weeks once you’ve determined your “number” with a weekly weight loss goal of 1 lb.
Also keep in mind that 3500 calories are contained in 1 pound of fat. Therefore, in general, a deficit of about 500 calories per day would result in a loss of 1 pound in a week.
Even while it could be tempting, it’s generally not a good idea to strive for more than 1lb per week.
In the end, you can do whatever you want, although losing more than 2 pounds each week during this procedure is regarded as aggressive fat loss and is best left to experts.
Get The Right Mindset
With your goals now defined in your mind and in any other form that will help keep you motivated, it is time to change your mindset.
This process can be grueling and seem never ending, it is crucial to have the right mindset going in before you begin cutting calories. This is a long term process that takes time and dedication
Plan Your Meals
Similarly to dieting, knowing exactly what you are going to eat will make the process all the more easier. No guessing or random trips to the grocery store, everything is easily accessible in your fridge. Limiting times for overeating.
You or a qualified coach or friend should create your food plan, and you should check in with them frequently to make the necessary adjustments.
Don’t force yourself to eat something you detest since you will ruin the experience for yourself. You know what you want to eat.
Keep your meals exciting and tasty so you don’t get bored and become tempted to stray from your plan.
Once you or your coach have determined the best calorie intake for you, you can begin planning your meals and making a plan for your success.
Your calorie intake may change over the course of your cut, make sure to check in regularly and make any changes to keep you on the path for success!
Learn To Cook
The best way to be successful on your cut is knowing what exactly is going into your body. This means cooking your own meals.
If you don’t know how to cook, now is the perfect time to learn. Just because you are cutting does not mean you can only enjoy chicken, rice, and broccoli. Many athletes cut whilst enjoying their favorite meals. So, why can’t you?
Utilize your creativity in the kitchen and real, whole foods. Keep everything that has been prepared or packaged already in the grocery store.
Plan Your Social Events
Even though work and social gatherings have the ability to ruin your whole plan, you are smart enough to avoid that thanks to this manual. Right now, you will choose how you will handle these circumstances.
When you’re eating your way through a zip-lock bag of chopped carrots and broccoli, people will undoubtedly have something to say.
But don’t be scared to bring your food around with you. But which do you value more: the views of others or your long-term objectives?
You don’t owe anyone an explanation, so don’t be scared to say no. You are free to choose to stay at home and weigh chicken breasts while everyone else is at the bar.
If you know where you are going to be and when, you can easily prepare your meals and snacks to keep you on track.
Length Of Your Cut
Much like a bulk, cutting can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on your goals and aspirations.
According to the advice given above, you should plan to stay in your cut for at least 12 weeks if you think you need to drop 12 pounds of fat.
Unlike when dieting, cheat meals are a big no no. During your cut no cheat meals should be consumed in order to ensure you remain on track and can keep your goals.
In order to see proper results that you can then maintain, your cut should last at least 6 weeks. This will allow you to lose at least 6 pounds and begin to see some muscle definition coming through.
If you need to drop a lot of weight, you should think about cutting to a halfway point and then returning to maintenance for a bit. This will encourage long-lasting results and keep you sane.
Tips For During Your Cut
For a lot of people starting a cut is the hard part, then they make it 2 weeks in and realize that starting was the easy part. Now, you have to stay on track, refrain from eating anything outside of your plan and somehow not go insane.
However, we have compiled a few tips and tricks to make the process just a tad easier:
Drink Enough Water
This goes for anyone looking to better their health, drinking water is extremely important. Cutting down on caffeine and soda, you can aid your body in being the best it can be.
Drinking enough water throughout the day will not only keep you hydrated, it can also keep you feeling full and curb those nasty cravings.
You should also stay away from calorie-free beverages. And if you’re planning to sip on calorie-free beverages, reconsider. These can make you crave sugar, so you should steer clear of them in particular while you’re trying to lose weight.
Please keep in mind that just because something has “zero calories” or “zero sugar” doesn’t imply it’s healthy for you. Consider the chemicals in your foods and drinks to ensure you are only consuming the best products.
If you feel that you cannot make it through the day without a much needed dose of caffeine then black coffee is the best option. Leaf teas are also great for curbing hungry and cravings.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
When losing weight or gaining muscle, a lot of focus is placed on increasing your protein and veggie intake. However, protein is rather difficult for the body to digest and process.
This means you may experience constipation and other stomach issues as your protein intake increases.
A way to avoid experiencing stomach problems when dieting, bulking, or cutting is to increase your fiber intake.
Vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are low calorie and are great for keeping up your fiber intake. Berries, apples, pears, and kiwis are also low sugar fruits that will help keep things moving regularly and allow you to see progress.
Pay Attention To Your Body
Because everyone is unique, you shouldn’t compare your own responses to those of others; instead, treat yourself as an individual and keep an eye on them as you go.
You should pay attention to how you feel in addition to keeping an eye on your body fat percentage.
In a cut, you are going to feel hungry and this can greatly impact other aspects of your life. You should pay close attention to how you are sleeping, your mood, and energy levels.
Keep in mind that this is just a passing circumstance. Putting aside professional athletes and female fitness models, your cutting phase doesn’t have to revolve around reaching a low body fat percentage.
Spend some time in the maintenance calorie range and be kind to yourself.
If your symptoms become aggressive, lessen your cut to a maintenance range or simply stop your cut until you are feeling better.
Consistency Over Perfection
Consistency over Perfection is a saying you will hear more often than not during your health journey. Meaning it is more important to show up everyday and do something rather than give it your all and fail.
Accept it if you make a mistake when cutting, veer off course, go on an epic run, or engage in total self-sabotage. and proceed.
You are only human. You may eat that packet of Skittles or enjoy a regular coke rather than a diet one, but it is important that you remember your goal and don’t give up just because of one mistake.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Stop seeking for someone else to direct your actions and diet. Your long-term success depends on your ability to educate yourself. You are the only one who can make this happen for yourself; no one else can.
Seek advice from individuals with more expertise than you, by all means, but keep in mind that you should only use it as a starting point.
Because everyone reacts differently, just because something worked for one person doesn’t automatically mean that it will work for someone else.
This is why you have to accept an experimental phase without fail. You will always have a resource to turn to in order to go forward with better educated cutting selections, provided you are keeping track.
Eat Your Veggies
As you begin to progress into your cut, being hungry will become a rather natural state for you. A way to rectify this is not by adding more snacks or increasing your carbs. The best option is fill your plate up with low calorie veggies to keep you full.
Green beans, carrots, broccoli and corn are all great low calorie, high volume vegetables that you can load your plate with to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Avoid starchy carbs like pasta and rice throughout the cutting phase and attempt to nibble on tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, broccoli, peppers, baby marrows, mushrooms, spinach, and lettuce. It’s a fantastic method to feel satisfied without consuming many calories.
An increase in vegetables and water will aid in curbing those inevitable cravings. Especially when you are cutting for longer than six weeks.
Fueling your body with fresh, clean ingredients will give you the best results from your cut.
Cutting is no easy take, no matter your gender. However, as a woman it can feel a hundred times harder.
Above a simple guide to make your cutting phase just a little bit easier. From planning your meals in advance to loading up on low calorie, high volume veggies. There are ways to make this less than pleasant experience, a little less intense.
Remember, if you are feeling extremely hungry or are noticing more extreme symptoms, listen to your body and take a break.
Consistency Over Perfection. You are only human and mistakes will happen, remain strong and power through to see some incredible results!