It’s a process that most of us will have to put our bodies through – but nobody said that cutting was easy. On the contrary, cutting is something that can make or break your body but something that can be painfully difficult to master.
While there are certainly several guides out there which will help you create a cutting cycle effectively, they might not necessarily prevent you from making some of the “classic mistakes”.
As such, this page has been put together. Even the pros make mistakes whilst cutting, it’s part of the game. Let’s now take a look at five of the most common to ensure that you don’t fall into the standard traps.
There’s no such thing as magic foods
Sure, the term superfood might be branded about a lot, but don’t let this fool you. When it comes to cutting, there are very few foods that are going to help your cause.
The problem is that the internet is absolutely saturated with articles which suggest that belly fat can be slashed by just turning to x, y and z. Unfortunately, at least if said letters represent food, this isn’t going to be the case.
Absolutely no food under the sun is going to help your lean cause. We’re by no means saying that it’s a level playing field and all foods are equal, but let’s not forget that all food contains calories and this isn’t going to help your fight to become lean.
So, what should you take from the above? Firstly, don’t believe any of the hype – there are no foods that are going to make your fight any easier. Secondly, and here’s the good news, you don’t necessarily have to cut out your favorite foods. As long as you determine what your nutritional goals for the day are, you can find foods which can slot into your program and go from there.
Too much, too soon
So, you want to cut quickly, right? That means that you should just do all the work in one fell swoop, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. As tempting as it might be to cut down in record speeds, it’s just not going to help your cause in the slightest.
The general thought process is that the more you want to cut, the more food you need to cut out of your diet. The resulting action is that you will start to cut out an alarming amount of calories.
At first, the results might be impressive. However, this is a short-term effect – one that isn’t going to last very long at all in actual fact.
The problem boils down to science. Sure, that initial cutting period is nice, but over time you will start to lose muscle. Your body will enter starvation mode and as a result, your metabolism starts to slow down to a ridiculous pace. The end result is that you will lose even more muscle and suffice to say, this isn’t the end goal of a successful cutting strategy.
Therefore, insert a little common sense into your process. You can’t expect to cut huge amounts straight away – it’s a gradual process and by taking on a huge chunk, you are just asking for trouble (and backwards steps) later down the line.
An emphasis on cardio training
One of the big problems with a lot of the mistakes that we are documenting is that they are just not obvious. In other words, they are processes that many of us will follow without thinking – they seem to make sense.
Well, this next mistake falls into said category. It might seem obvious to turn to cardio during your peak cutting period, but if you perform too much of it you are asking for trouble.
The main problem associated with cardio training is the fact that you can lose too much muscle. It means that all of the hard work and time you have invested on your muscle building during the offseason is for nothing – you will lose it all in a flash if you bulk out your sessions with cardio.
Is cardio completely bad? Well, in moderation its acceptable. However, you really should keep to an absolute minimum and instead try and cut with your diet. By taking this approach, you can ensure that your muscle stays in peak condition.
Sure, over time it might become more acceptable to add more cardio into your plan, particularly as you start to see how your body is reacting to the diet. To start with though, we’d suggest that you avoid it.
Changing your training plan
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That’s all the advice we need to provide with this next topic.
We’re going to assume that you have enjoyed a successful offseason, where you have built muscle and really worked on your body as you approach this cutting phase. Therefore, why should you start to change things up now?
A common mistake is for guys to turn to cardio (more on that later), or even just add more reps to their program. It’s the latter issue which we will focus on now.
For some reason, there’s a bit of a misconception floating around that the more reps you do, the more you will cut into your muscle. As it turns out, this is completely not the case – the only way to cause these cuts is to lose body fat.
To lose body fat, you certainly don’t perform high reps. Instead, the best approach is to combine an optimum diet with a touch of cardio (although really, the latter isn’t a requirement). If you can stick to the program that has got you to this stage, and just use the other two factors to control your cutting, you’ll be in a much better place.
Taking “cheat day” a step too far
One of the favorite terms in the nutrition industry is a “cheat day”. For those unaware, this is the day in which you can apparently binge on any food. Not only does it supposedly act as motivation following a grueling week of dieting, but the consensus is that a day like this will help to increase your metabolism.
As our tone has probably indicated, we’re about to quash such myths. Sure, there are time and places for cheat days, and the above two reasons can sometimes come into play. As well as this, cheat days have been found to decrease your hunger levels and just give you something of a mental break – so there are plenty of plus points to take into account.
There’s just one issue with all of the above – your fat levels will rise. Despite all of the advantages, nobody can argue that cheat days involve you consuming a lot of fat and this just isn’t going to cut it for a cutting cycle.
As such, a degree of common sense is certainly required. Regardless of your aims, it’s extremely difficult to stay completely “good” whilst cutting. All we are advising is that you take the general advice in relation to cheat days with a pinch of salt.
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