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Cutting Phases


Duke Titan

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Bodybuilding has three seasons: Bulking, Cutting, and Contest. I'm entering the cutting season rather late this year thanks to my lovely back injury, but we do what we can.

For those of you starting on the heavier end of the scale and trying to make your way downwards, here are three methods for burning off the winter weight.

Note that this just covers the nutrition, not adjustments to training. If you find you have a hard time loosing body fat, certainly put in cardio on the days you don't lift. But you should be exercising 6 of 7 days. For those of you like me who can shed body fat like water from a raincoat, you really don't need any cardio. Just adjust your diet and watch the pounds vanish.

Method 1: Carb Cycling

I've mentioned this before on the forums. The idea behind carb cycling is the same principle as "muscle confusion" for training. It states that your body has an instinctive tendency to adjust its digestion based on what it receives for nutrients. It does this in order to maintain fat stores as a survival mechanism. You want to make sure it never gets the chance to do its job. To do this, you vary your carbohydrate intake constantly to "keep it guessing." Here are three different and easy ways to cycle carbs:

Method A - Which I've personally tried with mixed results. It operates on a 3-day cycle. Day 1, you eat carbs as you would normally. Day 2, you cut that mount in half. Day 3, you cut it in half again. That's basically it.

Method B - Eat 100-125 grams of carbs per day for 3-4 days, then a normal amount on the fifth day.

Method C - Cut your normal portions of carbs by half for 3-4 days, then eat a normal amount on the fifth day.

Method 2: Low-Starch Diet

This method apparently comes from the boxing ring. It's the one I will be trying for the next few weeks. It eliminates almost all starches from your daily diet, on the assumption that it is starch that is the number one ingredient in carbs that adds to body fat. Here's the rub, musclehads - starch is in almost every staple you care to name: potatoes, rice, bread, pasta. Don't get me wrong, starch is NOT bad for you. But if you believe in this approach, it is the major contributor to body fat outside of, well, fat.

Method 3: Low-Carb Diet

In this diet, you simply lower your carbs without worrying about starch. Eat no more than 13 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. Carbs should make up about .5-1gram per pound of bodyweight. Protein should be kept high - 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, as should healthy fats at about .5 grams per pound of body weight.

Let me just add that eating carb-conscious doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Learn to use spices, make water-based soups, and marinades. All of these are low-fat, low-carb methods of adding flavor to otherwise bland dishes.

Whichever method you choose, you'll probably want to adjust your training to compensate for your change in diet. You're not going to do yourself any favors if you try power lifting or hard, heavy sets on a diet of mostly fruits and veggies.

Here's hoping I get razor-sharp ripped by the start of summer! See you on the beach!

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