You’ve built mass during bulking season, and now it’s time to cut some fat and show off all those new muscles! A lot of people are either clueless or don’t exactly know how to cut fat, so here are some key points you need to consider in order to reach your goal body fat percentage.
Calories for a Fat Cutting Diet
The first step to cutting weight is to figure out how many calories you need to eat. First figure out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). There are a few different methods and calculations to get this number and I’ll provide the most common one which is the Mifflin-St. Jeor method. The first step is to find your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate). There are different equations for both men and women:
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Once you find this number, use the table below to pick your activity level and find your TDEE.
This is a general estimate to find your TDEE. Maintain these calories consistently and keep track of your results, and make necessary adjustments as your diet goes on.
Macronutrients for a Fat Cutting Diet
The most important macronutrient for cutting bodyfat. You need to eat a lot of protein while cutting fat – our bodies always try to preserve fat stores and attempt to break down muscle for energy. In order to counter your bodies’ use of energy from your muscle tissue, high amounts of protein are necessary. When in a calorie deficit, your body can easily become catabolic, which is when your body eats away muscle tissue for energy! A general rule of thumb is to eat 1.25-1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Eat lean proteins like chicken, fish, lean beef, egg whites, turkey, and whey protein powder.
A lot of people think that they need to eat very little fat, so they don’t gain fat, but our bodies need fat to survive. An optimal amount of fat keeps the brain functioning properly, and keeps our metabolism going. Keep fat at .45g per pound of bodyweight. Also, stay away from saturated and trans fats, and eat healthy fats like avocados, nuts, eggs, peanut butter, and olive oil.
Now that you have fats and protein figured out, it’s time to come up with a number of carbs to consume. It’s pretty simple really, just take the calories that you eat from fat and protein and use the rest of your calories to fill your TDEE with carbs. Eat healthy carbs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, and wholewheat pancakes (and only wholewheat). Eat the majority of your carbs in the morning and pre/post workout. Eat less carbs as the day goes on. Some bodybuilders like to backload carbs, which is when you don’t eat carbs all day until at night after you get done with your workout. This scheme does work, but isn’t meant for everybody.
Yes, the dreaded cardio that a lot of people do not enjoy! Some people can lose fat and get shredded without cardio, but it does take longer, and some people cannot get away with not doing cardio. Look at cardio as being a boost to your already-fat burning metabolism. The recommended amount of cardio for cutting fat is 30-45 minutes 3-4 times a week. Try to get your cardio in on an empty stomach when you wake up, so your body utilizes its fat as energy. To prevent catabolism during cardio, keep heart rate between 125 and 135 BPM, and drink some BCAAs or whey protein beforehand.
It’s fun to watch your muscles become defined with the vascularity and striations that come along with it – just make sure you are eating enough calories, otherwise you’ll lose muscle tissue and your metabolism while suffer. Of course, the most important thing is to eat a lot of protein. Here are some final tips to implement into your diet:
✓ Eat 6-7 Meals a day to keep metabolism going
✓ Spread protein intake throughout the day
✓ Eat most of your carbs in the AM and pre/post workout
✓ Eat complex carbs and stay away from simple carbs (sugar)