A cut doesn't not only consist of adding more cardio to your workout routine. Obviously cardio exercises will be added to your routine, but your nutrition will be the one that will mainly change and your training routine will be revised. Since getting lean seems very complex for certain people, we will simplify the process for you.
Definition Of A Cut
- Bulking: It means increasing your caloric intake (caloric surplus), in order to build muscle.
- Cutting: It's when you want to lose the fat you accumulated during your bulk, so you do a caloric deficit during a certain period of time.
"What's the difference between a fat loss and a cut?" In fact, none. Cut is simply the term used by fitness lovers just after a bulk. But it also emphasizes the fact that you've built muscle before and now you're burning fat while adding definition to your muscles.
A Cut Is Not Always Necessary
It's very common to hear people who want to cut, simply because they have a little bit of fat in the belly or in the arms. Obviously, we all want to lose fat in order to obtain a better looking physique. However, it's probably not the right time to do it.
I emphasize this for the men who gained a small amount of fat and wants to show their abs during the summer. A cut is designed for people who have a decent amount of muscle and want to shred the fat. Some fitness models started a cut after 2-3 years of training. Simply because it makes no sense to make a cut if your muscle foundation is not already built. Focus on building this body, then when you attain your desired size you will be able to shred the fat.
Plus, keep in mind that the if you exercise and eat healthy; you will boost your metabolism, which will lead you to burn more calories on the long run. So if you have a little amount of fat, don't worry you will burn it without the need to do a cut.
However, if you're overweight and don't have a good amount of muscle, I recommend you to check our weight loss guide.
The Length Of A Cut
It depends on how much fat you want to lose and your body composition. Keep in mind that you want to avoid muscle loss, which means that you don't want to rush things.
Here are some common timelines you can follow for your cut:
- 5 pounds or less: 4-6 weeks of cut
- 10 pounds or less: 6-12 weeks of cut
- 20 pounds or more: 20-24 weeks of cut
There is a general cutting guideline that people follow in order to achieve your goals; lose body fat at a pace of 1 pound per week.
Nutrition While Cutting
As mentioned above, your goal will be to lose averagely 1 pound weekly. In order to achieve this goal, you will have to be in a caloric deficit; burn more calories than you eat.
A caloric deficit can either be achieved by reducing your caloric intake or simply adding exercises (often cardio trainings). You can also do both; but first you need to understand how many calories you need to consume in order to be in caloric maintenance (maintain your weight). Calculate your caloric maintenace!
This number is averagely what you need to eat in order to maintain your weight. When you got that, you can find examples of nutrition plans on these following links:
From that point, you can adjust these nutrition plans, according to your body type.
Then, you will need to decrease your caloric intake on a weekly basis. Which means that you want to track your progress every week with the help of a scale.
How To Preserve Muscle While Cutting
Preserving muscle while cutting means reducing progressively your caloric intake every week. The number you want to reduce can vary between 200 to 500 calories.
Here is an example of how to track your progress every week:
- Jack wants to cut 5 lbs of fat. He planed his cut on 6 weeks, he wants to averagely lose 1 pound every week. His caloric maintenance is: 2700 calories (it's an example). Let's say he wants to decrease by 300 calories this week in order to lose fat; so now he aims for 2400 calories every day. At the end of the week, he will weigh himself and if he lost 1.2 pound, he will keep going with this caloric intake (2400 calories). One week after he will probably lose 0.5 pound, so he will decrease his caloric intake of 200-300 calories, then repeat the process.
The cutting phase is different for everybody. Some people will need to simply decrease 200 calories to see changes, others will have to decrease of 500 calories. At the end of the day, it's trial and errors.