1 – Keep Lifting Heavy
Just because you are on a cut doesn’t mean you should stop lifting heavy. Look, when you are on a cut you are probably not going to have the same level of energy as you did when bulking. Typically that means your big lifts won’t be increasing any more and might even drop a bit. However, by continuing to train heavy you can minimize the amount of strength and muscle loss that occurs.
Remember that your muscles respond to the amount of stress they are subjected to. When you lift heavy weights, your muscles respond by getting bigger so that they can handle the stress. However, if you all of a sudden start lifting lighter weights, your muscles will respond by getting smaller – after all, why carry around all that muscle mass if it isn’t needed? By continuing to lift heavy you will signal to your body that it still needs to keep all that muscle. Also, lifting heavy will increase testosterone production and fire up the metabolism – which means more calories burned throughout the day.
2 – Forget about “Toning”
For some reason when guys get off a bulk they think they need to change their training style to “toning”. This means that they do more isolation exercises for higher reps. This type of training does not actually make you lose weight faster – in fact, all it does is make you lose muscle faster. Isolation exercises can be helpful when on a bulk or cut in order to round out lagging muscle groups, but you shouldn’t do more of them just because you are on a cut. Continue to do the same compound exercises you were doing when on your bulk with a few isolation exercises sprinkled in here and there.
3 – Have the Occasional Cheat Meal
Cheat meals serve two main purposes when on a cut. First of all, it signals to your body that more calories will be coming which results in a nice boost to metabolism. Second, it acts as a reward for all your hard work. If you keep eating only clean foods eventually you will fall to a food craving which will turn into a binge eating session. Just make sure your meals fall within your target macros.
4 – Drink Lots of Water
Each day you should aim to drink at least a gallon of water. It will help flush out toxins from your system and speed up protein synthesis. Drinking lots of water will help keep you feeling full, making you less likely to go over your daily calories. Most people are perpetually dehydrated – drinking multiple cups of coffee throughout the morning without even drinking a single glass of water. Avoid falling into this trap – drinking water is relatively easy compared to training hard and eating a clean diet. Drinking enough water should be no problem.
5 – Stick to High Intensity Interval Training for Cardio
High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is becoming more popular as people realize it is far more effective than steady-state cardio. HIIT workouts are much shorter and involve doing short bursts of intense activity followed by short rest periods. They can last anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour, making them a great choice for people who don’t have a lot of spare time. Having said that, they are very hard on your system so don’t expect to be able to do these 5 times per week and still have great weight training sessions.
Steady state cardio, on the other hand, is not as effective at burning calories even if the workouts last longer. That’s because your body gets used to performing the exercise at that particularly intensity level. As a result, fewer calories end up getting burned during the workout. In terms of timing, try to perform HIIT on days where you aren’t lifting weights. If they must be done on the same day, do the weight training in the morning and HIIT in the evening. Never let HIIT impact your weight training sessions – those should always be the primary focus.
6 – Take a Fat Burner
The main reasons people fail on their diet are (1) metabolism slows down and they stop losing fat, (2) they feel hungry all the time and end up binge eating or (3) energy levels tank which messes up their workouts and causes them to lose muscle. That’s why we recommend taking a fat burning supplement when you go on a cut. A high quality fat burner will help elevate your metabolism so you keep losing fat even when you’ve been on a calorie deficit for a while. It will also give you energy so you can get through those tough weight training routines and maintain muscle mass. Finally, they reduce your appetite so you don’t constantly feel like binge eating.
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7 – Keep Track of Everything
When you are on a cut it’s absolutely crucial that you keep track of your daily calorie consumption, your weight and your lifts at the gym. By tracking your weight each week you can identify if you are losing weight too slowly (consuming too many calories) or too quickly (probably burning muscle). If you have a detailed list of everything you can make adjustments easily to make sure your diet stays on track. Even your lifts should be tracked so you can identify if certain muscle groups are lagging behind.
8 – Don’t Try to Cut Too Quickly
What happens when you try to bulk too quickly? You end up gaining fat. Similarly, when you try and cut fat too quickly you end up losing muscle mass. We understand that you want to show off that body you worked so hard to build, but if you rush things you can end up compromising all of that hard work.
Don’t try to lose fat faster than a rate of 1 pound per week unless you are morbidly obese. Your cut might take longer but you will avoid ending up with the dreaded skinny fat physique.