Are you looking to get lean and ripped but don't want to sacrifice your hard-earned muscle? When it comes to cutting, it's important to approach it in the right way to ensure that you don't lose too much muscle tissue. Cutting your body fat whilst maintaining muscle is a common goal for many gym goers, whether you are a bodybuilder looking to get leaner for competition or an athlete who needs to drop a few pounds for a specific goal. It can be difficult to do, but with the right approach and nutrition plan, it is certainly achievable.
Here are the tips you need to know to save your muscle whilst cutting...
The first step is to review your calorific balance and employ a calorie deficit. In simple terms, a calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body uses in any given period of time. This is a very basic essential for cutting as it will be what causes you to lose body fat. To find out how many calories you need to consume to create a deficit, you should work out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the number of calories your body needs to perform its most basic functions, such as breathing and digesting food.
You can watch the video below by Storm Fitness Academy Ltd to learn how to calculate BMR yourself, but there are plenty of online calculators (like this one by Whey It Up) which will help you determine how many calories you use in a day. Alternatively, wearable devices like FitBit or Whoop will provide you with more of a tailored calorific output - specific and personalised to you. Once you know your average BMR, you can then calculate how many calories you need to consume to create a calorie deficit (usually somewhere between 250 and 500 calories less than your maintenance rate).
To learn more about energy balance and general weight loss, be sure to read our 'Fastest way to get Summer Shredded' article.
Another crucial factor when it comes to cutting is to ensure you are getting enough protein. Protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance, and when in a calorie deficit, it is important to ensure you are eating enough protein to maintain maximum muscle fibre recovery. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 1g of protein per Lb of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 75kg (165lbs), you should aim for 165g of Protein each day. This can be done through consuming lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, dairy and of course, supplementation.
It's important to remember that supplements should not be used as meal replacements, but for those who struggle to reach their daily protein targets, supplementation can indeed be very helpful. Some stand-out protein supplements categories include Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate, all of which are available for purchase here. Don't forget to use the secret discount code ‘SAVEMEMONEY’ for 10% off your first order 😉.
In addition to this, you should also consider adding resistance training to your workout routine. Training is of course important for maintaining muscle mass, but resistance training can help you to burn more calories as well. Focusing on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and presses will help to encapsulate multiple muscle groups, maximising muscle and strength retention during your cut.
Rest and Recovery
Finally, and arguably most importantly, ensure you are getting enough rest and recovery. During a cutting or diet phase, your body is under more stress due to the calorie deficit and exercise. To ensure that you do not overtrain, and risk losing muscle, it is important to get enough rest so that your body can recover and repair. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and take regular rest days from training.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you retain as much muscle mass as possible whilst cutting or dieting. Remember to create a calorie deficit, consumer enough protein, add resistance training to your routine and get enough rest and recovery. With the right approach, you can easily achieve your goals without sacrificing your hard-earned muscle.
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By: Tegan Wright | Copy Writer