How to Cut
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.”
I know you're not inviting discussion here, but just one little nitpick:
Unless you're drinking chocolate milk, there are no processed sugars in milk. That makes it sound like they add cane sugar or corn syrup to milk. There are simple sugars in milk: lactose.
hey i was reading about the glutamine part: if im cutting weight for say..wrestling, and want to dropp about 10 pounds(im 160, and bodyfat test said i could only go to about 158, im dropping to 152) you think by taking in some glutamine i will prevent catabolism?:confused:
IMO glutimine is not going to be the best thing to slow the catabolic effects of severely restricting cals. your better off sipping on a BCAA drink through the day to get the anti-catabolic effect.
the reason being (and this is a highly debated topic also), glutimine has very shitty bioavailability, and thus doesnt uptake into your system very well.
that being said, I use scivation Xtend, it is a mix of BCAA's, Glutimine, and citruline malate. I sip on it through the day, and it not only is very anti-catabolic, but it helps to keep me less hungry.
X, I see you left out a pre workout shake, should i be avioding that while cutting? I always assumed I'd be burning off the dextrose (less then 20g) I use in the first 30min of lifting anyway... your thoughts.
There is another mechanism whereby BCAAs might prevent fatigue. We mentioned that BCAAs are used for fuel during exercise. As these amino acids become depleted, the ratio of tryptophan to BCAAs in the plasma rises. It turns out that tryptophan and BCAAs compete for the same amino acid transporter into the brain. The excess tryptophan in the brain is converted to serotonin, which induces a feeling of lethargy and fatigue. (6)
6. Blomstrand E, Celsing F, Newsholme EA. Changes in plasma concentrations of aromatic and branched-chain amino acids during sustained exercise in man and their possible role in fatigue. Acta Physiol Scand 1988 May;133(1):115-21
Delivery of amino acids has been shown to be significantly greater during the exercise bout when consumed pre-workout than after exercise. There is also a significant difference in amino acid delivery in the 1st hour after exercise, with the pre-exercise protein drink providing a significant advantage. Net amino acid uptake across the muscle is twice as high with a pre-workout protein drink as compared to consuming it after. Phenylalanine disappearance rate, an indicator of muscle protein synthesis from blood amino acids, was significantly higher when amino acids were taken pre-workout.
This makes sense to me 0311, and with the small amount of Dextrose I use in my preworkout shake, i cant imagine it would hold me back fatloss wise. I will give it a go for a few weeks having the dextrose in my pwo shake only and see how that goes.
I also use xtend before, durring, and after my workout so i have the bcaa's covered.
oh and i forgot to mention this for eric before, I know X said that milk has processed sugar, and you mentioned that it doesnt. Another reason to stay away from milk is that the lactose causes insulin spikes, and can leave blood sugar levels unstable. I would suggest lactose free milk for pwo (because the milk still has sugar processed or not) and water for the pre workout shake.
The lactose has to be acted on by the lactase enzyme before it can enter the bloodstream. It contains one molecule of glucose and one of galactose, so it's actually a disaccharide. Once it is broken down by enzymes into glucose and galactose, the two sugars have about the same rate of absorption.
Whole milk has a gycemic rating of around 27, skim milk of around 32. See how it goes up when you take away the fat? Even standard chocolate milk only goes up a couple of points. Milk is considered to have a slow effect on blood sugar levels, not a fast rise, or a corresponding insulin spike. Everybody seems to forget that you have to consider the glycemic impact of the food as a whole, not just the type of sugar that food contains. It's certainly not just a matter of monosaccharide vs. polysaccharide. Starches are polysaccharides, or complex carbs, but potatoes and white breads have a significant and quick effect on insulin levels, even more than a slice of cake minus the frosting in most cases, even though all that simple sugar is added to the cake. Again, the context (And please, everyone, I am not saying to eat a bunch of cake).
If you were to actually add processed sugar to milk, like the corn syrup I mentioned, then I am sure you would be raising the glycemic impact (although I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't all that much). I'm not preaching drink milk, however, if it doesn't fit into your diet. Still a lot of extra calories, and extra fat if you drink whole, even worse. But look at the ratio of macronutrients in say, 2% milk (given, the high % of sat. fat) and take into account the actual glycemic imact of it, and it looks a little better. It's a complex issue, for sure.
I'm also not saying that the glycemic index is something you can always hang your hat on. I mentioned that milk has a slow effect on blood sugar levels, but I don't know if it's a steady effect. Perhaps, as you mention, it could leave levels unstable, although I've never come across any data to support the idea. I personally think that there is no reason to stay away from milk because you think it is going to shut down fatty metabolism due to an insulin spike. Obvisouly, people may have other reasons to stay away from it.
I wouldn't recommend milk at all for pwo for the same reasons I've mentioned above. I would only use water. Milk is going to slow down absorption of your pwo shake just when you want to get the carbs and protein to your muscles as quickly as possible. As far as preworkout, I really don't know.
Lactose free milk has the lacase enzyme added to it. So, while it is lactose free, it's not sugar free. Theoretically, the glucose and galctose is still there. But it's not the sugar I'm talking about in terms of pwo, and I don't even think fat-free is good. I only ever use water to mix my shake post-workout.
Sorry, Hrdgain, to write such a long response to such a short comment. I just want to be as clear as possible in what I'm saying. :)
*Edit* Milk and Insulin Spikes - http://www.bodybuilding.net/nutritio...on-1442-1.html
There is also something I want to be clear about here eric, I have done no research to support what I have posted. I am simply repeating what others have told me in refrence to this topic (others who i respect, and know to be very knowledgable).
I didnt mean my comments to be the do all end all gospel by any means. And i'm glad you posted that, up till this point i wasnt sure how all these things came together, now it is much clearer.
I'll keep the milk for my breakfast shake from now on, and water for the pre and post.
Hrdgain we are definitely on the same page here. I know that a lot of people have said exactly the things you did. I am certainly not trying to imply that they are not extremely knowledgable people. Everybody can be wrong sometimes, though.
I know a few things but not half as much as the big guns around here. But if I have something I am fairly clear on, you can bet I'm gonna speak up. Believe me, I took your post in the spirit it was intended, and only wanted to clear up my position on the subject, so I hope we are cool :) .
By the way, I think I was editing that as you were reading it. I always read back over later, and some of the things I said I think were not one hundred percent correct, or at least cloudy, so I changed some minor points.
By the way, if any of those people come back with some concrete and convincing evidence on how milk causes insulin spikes, then I will gladly and wholeheartedly, retract my statement to the contrary :) .
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