The Blueprint to Cut: Old-School Fat-Loss Nutrition
Is your goal to lose weight or get completely shredded? Here's the Arnold-approved nutrition program that will help you do it!
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If you have a clear vision of looking ripped like a golden-age bodybuilder, you'll have to pay close attention to your diet. Losing body fat without losing any hard-earned lean mass is not an easy task, but if you're up to the challenge, you've come to the right place!
The Blueprint to Cut nutrition plan is easy to follow and, if followed correctly, will bring you amazing results. The nutrition plan below will provide you with energy and n
utrients so you can hit your workouts hard, but will limit your number of total daily calories so your body will effectively burn fat.
Stay on the plan for the full eight weeks and you will see an amazing transformation. Your body will look more dialed in than it ever has!
But remember: Abs may be made in the kitchen, but your training still matters big-time! Follow the full Blueprint to Cut program in BodyFit Elite. Along with top-notch workout tracking, you'll earn discounts in the Bodybuilding.com store and free shipping on supps to help you dial in your cuts and power through the brutal Blueprint workouts.
What Are You Hungry For?
For most people, it's the diet, not the training, that is the most difficult part of a cutting program. Golden-age bodybuilders were no stranger to hunger pangs, but they knew their goals were far more important than any craving. It's a question of "What are you hungrier for?" Is it to look amazing, or to eat what you want every day and look like everyone else?
Your goal may not be as grandiose as winning a bodybuilding contest, but you still need to have a clear vision in your mind and work as hard as you can to complete that vision. If you're about to eat and cheat, think about what your goal is. Is this piece of food going to help you? That original vision needs to remain clear, no matter how difficult things get.
Rules to Cut By
- Continue to eat a sufficient amount of protein—at least 0.8 grams of protein for each pound of body weight, and preferably 1 gram per pound.
- Eat low-fat but not super-low-fat. About 20 percent of your total daily caloric intake is usually the sweet spot. That may be less than you're accustomed to, but it won't be so much that your hormone levels, energy, or recovery suffer dramatically. And be sure to take fish oil each day to help you glean maximum benefits out of the fats in your diet.
- Train hard! Move quickly from movement to movement, and follow the cardiovascular recommendations in the workouts. If your schedule allows, 4-5 sessions per week of 30-45 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity cardio (think brisk walking after meals) will only help you achieve your goals.
Blueprint to Cut Nutrition
You don't have to count every calorie and macro to cut fat (although it can help), but having a clear understanding of ballpark numbers and portions can be a huge benefit. If you're not a full-on counter, here are some basic guidelines to help steer you in the right direction:
Eat enough, but not too much: Go too low, too fast, and the workouts will crush you. Stay too high, and you won't lose fat. So the goal, as experienced nutrition coaches will tell you, is simply this: Eat the maximum amount of calories possible while still losing weight
If you're someone who counts calories, start with 300-500 under "maintenance" level using Bodybuilding.com's calorie calculator as your guide. Stick with that for at least two weeks before dropping it at all. And if you drop it any further, do it just 200-300 calories at a time, max.
Dial in your protein: If you're going to measure one macro, make it this one. Make sure you're getting close to 1 gram per pound of body weight each day or slightly more. Even back before today's nutrition-obsessed fitness culture, the old-school bodybuilders knew this was a solid number to aim for.
To get it, make sure to eat 20-40 grams at each meal, spacing out your meals as needed to meet a daily number, and prioritize quality whole proteins whenever possible. If you're not counting, make sure you include protein at every meal, every day. Having a fist-sized portion of a lean protein source 4-5 times a day is only going to do good things for you!
As for carbohydrates and fats, both provide energy and are essential for workout recovery and performance, and both should have a place in your daily meal plan. Use a macronutrient calculator and personal taste to help you determine what ratios you should be consuming on a daily basis based on your body type and goals.
Take workout nutrition seriously: Most people will find that carbs demand special priority during this intense training split. Don't leave this up to chance—and definitely don't do one of the many leg days in this program on an empty stomach! The article "The Ultimate Guide to Leg Day Nutrition" provides a solid framework about how to thrive during intense lower-body training. Use it.
What to Avoid
Excess sugar: Your body will need quality fuel to recover and grow. Sure, some lifters are able to use candy or other fast-digesting carbs post-workout, but that only works in strategic amounts at the right time. There is a way to use gummy bears (a Jim Stoppani fave) or crispy rice treats (Meg Squats' go-to intra-workout treat) on this plan. But don't use this program as an excuse to open the junk-food floodgates.
Alcohol: Your recovery is going to be taxed enough as it is. Add excessive drinking to the mix, and your workouts and results will suffer. Limit yourself to a drink or two, once or twice a week at most. If you're really trying to get shredded, even that might be too much.
Processed food and fast food: Your appetite will be immense as the months go on. Give your body nutrients, not junk, and you'll see your workout quality, recovery, and your overall results soar!
Your Shred, Your Rules
We could give you a full-on meal plan, but we're not going to. Here's why: When it comes to shredding, everyone's needs are different—and the most important element is following an approach that you'll be able to stick to. Compliance, not meal plans, is what will make the biggest difference.
Follow the rules above, and for more education on how to eat for your goals, check out Bodybuilding.com's video course The Foundations of Fitness Nutrition in BodyFit Elite.