It’s about time we had a decent full length post on cutting…
Let’s get a few things straight…
1. All of the insights I’m about to provide are not person-specific. What that means is that it is a general guideline, not a bible.
2. I truly do believe that bodybuilding is 80% diet. You can lift your ass off daily, and still look horrible if you aren’t eating right.
3. You are what you eat. It’s just that simple.
1.Postworkout Nutrition- I’m a firm believer that PWO nutrition is hands down the most important aspect of dieting. It is within the 15 minutes after a workout that your body is in dire need of nutrients. It is a completely anabolic state, and what you take in can be optimized to ensure maximum results. A general rule of thumb is 40-60 grams whey protein, and double the amount of whey in carbohydrates (50% dextrose/50% maltodextrin).
2. Carbs- You are **** right, carbs. In a strict cutting diet the majority of your carbs should come in the form of PWO nutrition, and the remainder in breakfast. Fibrous veggies are a staple, but keep in mind that they don’t count towards intake, as they have negligible impacts on blood sugar levels. (Exceptions: Carrots, Peas) All high glycemic carbs outside of PWO should be avoided. The best sources of low GI carbs can be found in oatmeal and brown rice, as well as yams.
3. Protein- You need tons. 1.5-2.0 grams per pound of lean bodyweight is a good general rule of thumb. You should take in a good portion of your protein in the source of real meals, avoid intaking too many shakes, as real food comes to a better benefit. The list foods with high protein bioavailability is extensive, and I will only cover a few, (Egg whites, Lean steak, Chicken breast, the list goes on forever….).
4. Fats- Guess what? You need fat to lose fat. We are talking about the granddaddy of fats, the EFA (Essential Fatty Acid). Good sources of fat are ( Flax Oil, Nuts, Salmon, Olive Oil).
5. The separation of Carbs and Fats- This is a hotly debated issue, but again, in my opinion, an important aspect nonetheless. Remember that it is often when you eat items and with what you eat them that is more important than what you are eating. A mouthful, I know, but stay with me. Remember that when you take in certain carbs, you can spike your insulin levels. If you are taking in fats when your insulin has been spiked, you are allowing the basic laws of physiology to act out, and you allow for a higher propensity for fat storage. Separation is key. The sample diet will give a good example of how to separate them.
Glutamine: Helps prevent catabolism when cutting. Best used in dosages of 10grams daily, 5 grams before cardio, 5 grams at another interval, but not after workout as it fights for absorption with the glutamine peptides in whey.
ALA/R-ALA- Gets my supplement of the day award. R-ALA is effective in lowering the spike of insulin when certain carbs are consumed. I could give you a dissertation on the stereoentisomeric properties of the R, but all you need to know is that it has been found to shuttle carbohydrates away from adipose and into myocytes. Translation: Away from fat cells, into muscle cells. It’s a supplement, however, not a miracle worker. It’s not a crutch, and won’t do anything about fat intake. ALA and R-ALA can also aid in the expedition of the ketogenic state. Remember that if you buy R-ALA that you supplement it with Biotin. Glucorell-R is prepackaged with it. If you can afford it, go for it. As far as dosage, with the R, you are looking at 1-2 pills of Glucorell R for each 30-40grams of carb intake.
Protein and Carb Shakes: I’m not going to cover protein, because even if you can’t afford it, you should sell a kidney to get some. Carb drinks are rather convenient, and companies offer pre mixed dosages, Dextrose and Maltodextrin can be bought from most supplement stores or online.
7. Cheating- Cheating is essential. Why? Remember, the body runs on homeostasis, it likes to keep balance. After eating so well after a week, your body begins to adjust, and fat loss over time will not be as rapid. The other extremely important aspect is mental sanity. So many diets crash and fail because people don’t give themselves a chance to breath. Remember, cheating is not an opportunity for you to pillage the entire mall food court. Shoot for a cheat meal, not an all out binge. A fast food value meal can be 2,000 calories. Eat that 3 times on one day, and you’ve consumed 6,000 calories. And that’s not good in any case.
8. Cardio- Cardio and cutting usually go hand in hand. I won't go into specifics about length, other than cardio shouldn't be excessive. 20 to 30 minutes daily should be sufficient, and should be performed on an empty stomach.
Note: This is a sample diet for a 200 pound gentleman who is wishing to cut. We can assume his BF to be around 15%. This diet will NOT work for you if those criteria don’t apply to you; however it is easy to customize the below diet to take in account your own statistics. It is the principles that are applicable.. I am not going to post the total amount of calories, only the carb, protein and fat macros for the whole day.
Lean Protein, 1/2 cup oatmeal
Protein shake/Lean Protein (2 tbsp flax
Veggies, Lean Protein
Veggies, Lean Protein, 1/2 cup rice or oatmeal.
Shake with Flax
That turns into approximately 300 grams protein, 130 grams Carbs, and 50 grams of fat.
*Reminder: This is a PRIMER. It’s not mean to be comprehensive.
Here comes the fun part: Question and Answer….
Q: What about dairy?
A: If you don’t mind a soft look, fat free cottage cheese is an excellent caseinate source, but as for milks- way too much sugar. NO.
Q: What about cycling carb intake?
A: Obviously on non workout days you will be without a shake, so you will be auto-cycling. It works well that way.
Q: Is sodium an issue?
A: Outside of the bloating issue, or if you have high cholesterol, no.
Q. How do I make my meals not taste like cardboard?
A. Be creative. Mix in some sugar free jam or splenda in your oats, some hot sauce or soy sauce on your meats, or pick up some sugar free ketchup.
Q. I don’t like old fashioned oats. Can I eat the pre mixed oats with fruit?
A. No. Be a man. Those mixes have ridiculous amounts of sugar.
Q. What about fruit?
A: Fruit replenishes glycogen stores in the liver, and in my opinion, is not to be a staple of a strict cutting diet, with a few exceptions.
Q: Can I eat steak while cutting?
A: Definitely. Make sure it’s a leaner cut.
And with this post I take a sabbatical. I’d like to thank thank all of you who may have indirectly annoyed me enough to result in this elongated post. Best of luck, and remember…
“Obsessed is a word that lazy people use for dedicated.”