Ok, so you've put on about 20 lbs. during your bulking phase, your bench has gone from 220 lbs. to 250 lbs. and your chest is thicker, your arms are bigger, your legs look like two full grown oak trees. But there's just one problem... you've also added an inch to your waist. Now you wanna show off your abs to the ladies to go along with the rest of the package. Well, in this article I'm going to give you a one month run down on how to cut up. As you can see, I'm really good at it.
First thing you must realize is that you may lose some strengh during this. Yes, there's all sorts of sacrifices that must be made to attain the perfect physique so stop whining. Now as you all know, the only way to burn fat is to take in less calories than you burn off so you must first figure out how many cals you burn per day. A good rough estimate is bodyweight times about 15-17 depending on activity level.
Lets Get Into It
The calories you want to eliminate must first be saturated fat as saturated fats are the hardest macro nutrient for your body to burn. This means switching to skim milk, eating beef less, and no more cheeses. The next thing you must eliminate is sugars. Aside from after weight training, sugars should be cut out as they lead to rapid increases and decreases in insulin which leaves your muscles with either too much energy to use (so it gets stored as fat), or not enough. This means fruit too unless it's with breakfast. Along with that are white, refined foods such as white rice and white bread. Try to stick with whole grains.
Next is the timing of the foods you take in. Always have 6 meals that contain protein but for your last two meals (unless you workout late) you should try to avoid carbs and fat as much as possible. Get your carbs and fat in the morning. Never eat carbs before bed when you cut up as they can easily be stored as bodyfat. The good ratio of carbs/protein/fat to use should be like 40/40/20 with most of your fats coming from unsaturated. Here's the diet I used when i was cutting up:
Note: Eat as much salad as possible, as it is nearly carb free, full of nutrients and fiber, and will fill you up. Make sure you get plenty of essential fatty acids. Do not eliminate fats as it is unhealthy and you feel like shit. Personally, I like flaxseed oil and walnuts.
Keep weight training heavy in the evenings 3-4 times per week (see my article on intensity) as you have been. Now, for cardio... this gets interesting. As you probably have seen, the best time to do cardio to burn fat is first thing in the morning on an empty stomache. When I was cutting I would set my alarm 45 minutes early, roll out of bed, drink a glass of water, pop an e/c/a pill and run before I realized I was running (I hate cardio, I really really hate cardio). Here's a schedule for cardio over the four weeks:
- Week one - once per week (this will help you get into a routine)
- Week two - 2x
- Week three - 3x
- Week four - 3x
Note: If you have put on a lot of fat in the bulking phase or were heavy to begin with you may want to add a couple extra weeks onto the program. For the average person this should be enough.
Cardio sessions should last from 30-45 minutes depending on your conditioning and intensity. Personally I like to run because it is convenient but the form of it is up to you.
Try not to do cardio on the same days you are weight training, because you still want to maintain your strength as much as possible.
As for what to eat after cardio: Normally I'd have a glass of oj with a multi then eat breakfast about 30 minutes later.
Supplementation: Always take multivitamins. Athletes need more vitamins than sedentary people and with today's fertilizing techniques these nutrients aren't as easy to get from food.
E/C/A stack - This supplement will probably give you the most dramatic results (it did for me). It's best to take them before cardio and around noon. Many people are very sensitive to these stimulants (me being one) so start out slowly. Personally, I make my own by using Prolab Caffeine 200mg and the AST 833. Either way you are looking for around 200 mgs of caffeine and 20mg of ephedrine. The other ingredients are just ways to help market the product and have little effect. Other good choices are So Cals Ab Cuts (these are hard to find but work awsome), Dymetadrine Xtreme, Prolab's stack or even Xenadrine NRG. Just be careful when you take them and try to avoid extra caffeine.
Combine these three elements with hard work and dedication and you will be well on your way to showing off all your hard work. Good luck to all.