Bodybuilder diet plan for cutting helps you to shed that fat and ensure you will have a strong foundation once you have achieved your cut. Though there are many bodybuilder diets available, not all of them fit everybody’s needs. The best bodybuilder diet should be a personalized plan that caters to the body type and metabolism of the individual.
Are you looking for the benefits of cutting carbs, but having trouble figuring out where to start? There’s no need to worry — you’ve come to the right place.
Bodybuilder Diet Plan For Cutting
A cutting diet reduces a person’s calorie intake to lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass. This diet’s meals include lean meats, yogurts, and whole grains.
Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts often use a cutting diet after a bulking phase to achieve a leaner physique.
What is a cutting diet?
A cutting diet, also sometimes referred to as shredding, aims to help someone lose fat and maintain muscle.
Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts typically use the cutting diet as a short-term program before an event, competition, or as part of their training plan.
People use a cutting diet in combination with lifting weights. Weightlifting helps them maintain their muscle mass while they cut calories.
How to do a cutting diet
Competitive bodybuilders typically follow a cutting diet for 2–4 months.
A person can decide the duration of a cutting diet according to their individual needs, but it is not a long-term diet.
Bodybuilders usually go through a bulking phase before a cutting diet.
Bulking allows a high-calorie, protein-rich diet with intense weightlifting to “bulk up” a person and increase muscle mass.
During this phase, it is crucial to consume more calories than the body needs to maintain its weight, to use these excess calories to build new muscle.
Nutrition and fitness professionals call this creating a “caloric surplus.”
Bulking up usually results in a person gaining some weight from fat as well as muscle.
The cutting phase aims to eliminate the fat gained during the bulking phase while retaining as much muscle mass as possible.
Weight loss and macronutrients
To achieve weight loss, a person needs to use more energy than they consume. Nutrition and fitness experts call this creating a “caloric deficit.”
A person should first work out how many calories they need according to their sex, age, and size, then determine their calories per day to lose weight.
During the cutting period, a person’s body mass decreases, and their metabolism adapts. They need to adjust the number of calories they consume to account for this.
Below is a summary of dietary recommendations that people can use in a cutting diet. The suggestions are primarily from a 2014 review analyzing preparations for bodybuilding contests.
It is important to note that dietary needs may vary from person to person.
- Weekly weight loss: 0.5 to 1% of body weight.
- Protein: 2.3–3.1 grams per kilogram (kg) of body weight, or 25–30%\.
- Fat: 15–30% of total calories.
- Carbohydrates: 55–60% of total calories, or the remaining amount of calories after someone has calculated their protein and fat.
Meal timing and frequency
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), a person should space protein intake evenly at 3–4 hour intervals throughout the day and within 2 hours following exercise.
The ISSN also recommend eating protein with carbohydrates before exercise, after exercise, or both.
The amount of protein that someone requires after a workout can depend on the size and timing of any meals they eat beforehand.
Specifically for bodybuilding, evidence suggests that meal frequency should be moderate with 3–6 meals a day, each with at least 20 grams of protein.
Cheat meals and refeed days
Some people choose to have cheat days or refeed days on a cutting diet.
Cheat days allow a person to have occasional indulgences, which could be helpful, for instance, when eating out.
Refeed days involve eating more carbohydrates to increase energy and performance.
A 2017 survey suggests that people can achieve better fat loss and muscle retention with refeed days.
People should plan any cheat or refeed days into their diet carefully to continue eating a healthful diet and working towards their goals.
What to eat
Sports nutrition guidelines recommend a nutritionally, complete, balanced diet.
A person should eat a varied diet to ensure they receive essential vitamins and minerals from food. As well as supporting general health and well-being, essential nutrients are critical for energy and recovery.
Foods to include as part of a cutting diet include:
- lean meat and poultry, oily fish, and eggs
- milk, yogurt, and low fat cheese
- protein powders such as whey, hemp, rice, and peas
- beans and pulses
- nuts and seeds
- avocados, olive oil, and olives
- whole grains such as brown rice and pasta, oats, whole grain bread, barley, and quinoa
- different colored fruits and vegetables
- leafy greens
People should also make sure they are adequately hydrated.
Helpful tips for cutting diet
The following tips could help a person who wishes to take part in a cutting diet:
- using a calorie and macronutrient tracking app such as MyFitnessPal to record meals
- re-evaluating how many calories they need regularly
- weighing themselves regularly throughout the week
- batch cooking meals and freezing them
- consulting a dietitian or personal trainer
- continually reviewing body composition
A cutting diet can help someone lose fat while maintaining muscle.
A person can plan a cutting diet based on their calorie needs and use a fitness app to track their meals and macronutrients.
A person should also incorporate resistance training and weightlifting into their regimen to minimize muscle loss during the cutting phase.
It is essential to eat a varied diet for health and only follow a cutting diet over the short term.
Restricting foods on a long-term basis could lead to disordered eating.
4 Week Diet For Cutting
What Is Cutting?
Also referred to sometimes as a shredding diet, the two key objectives of a cutting diet are:
- Cut down on body fat
- Maximise lean mass.
Catered towards all levels of experience, the cutting plan in this article will help you reduce body fat – but you’ll need to use a little bit of common sense, as all bodies are different.
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. The amount of calories you need to cut back on varies from person to person and involves your height, weight and activity levels which determine your metabolic rate. Because of this variation, only you can decide how many total calories you’ll need each day.
However, the diet for cutting prepared in this article is a great example of the types of food you should be eating to promote weight loss and healthy muscle development. While no plan can really encapsulate everything you’ll eat in the timeframe, we’ve provided a range of mix and match options to help you build your own plan that suits your calorie deficit.
However, to start with you’ll need some guidelines on nutrition that any cutting athlete will need.
The only drinks you should consume within a cutting diet are water, green tea and if you must, black coffee. Other drinks either contain extra calories or have artificial sweeteners and other things that can detract from your cut.
Water is calorie free, keeps you hydrated and is basically all you need to drink. If you’re one of those people who claims they don’t enjoy the taste, just keep drinking it and you’ll quickly grow used to it.
One of the best ways to cut is to opt for low GI (Glycemic index) foods. Loosely, GI relates to a food’s sugar content and how fast it releases glucose in the body. If you haven’t worked out and eat high GI foods, they are stored as fat.
With that in mind, you should cut out sugary, high GI food such as white rice, white bread and pasta and replace them with low GI carbs such as brown basmati rice, wholegrains and fruit such as apples and berries.
There are good and bad fats, but in a cutting diet you want to try and taper down all kinds, since fats are an inefficient energy source compared to carbs and are responsible for the physical appearance of body fat. With that in mind, aim for 20% or less of your calorie intake from good fats.
When you’re eating at a calorie deficit, you’ll lose body fat. Doing more cardiovascular exercise will increase the rate at which you burn calories, so you’ll be able to drop body fat faster if you stick to your deficit whilst training hard. This also means that if you add heavy cardio in, you can treat yourself to a more carb-heavy meal on that day.
The 4 Week Cutting Diet
Our diet for cutting is adjustable depending on how many calories your deficit allows you to eat. With that in mind, we’ve listed options and approximate calories from each part of the day.
As mentioned previously, you’ll need to manually work out your calorie deficit which can bear done with an online calculator. You’ll want to maintain macronutrient ratios of around 30-50% calories from carbs, 30-40% from protein and 20% from good fats.
Breakfast Options – Select One From The Following List Each Day
- 50g wholegrain porridge, handful of blueberries and a protein shake (approx. 340 cals)
- 4 scrambled egg whites, 2 slices wholemeal toast (approx. 410 cals) Ham, mushroom and spinach frittata (approx. 230 cals)
- Asparagus soldiers with soft boiled egg (approx. 186 cals)
- Breakfast smoothie with banana, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, water + honey (approx. 130 cals)
- Whey protein pancakes (approx. 111 cals per pancake)
Morning Snack Options
- Banana (approx. 100 cals)
- Any single piece of fruit or handful of berries (cals vary)
- 1 cup edamame beans (approx. 250 cals)
- Handful of nuts (approx. 160 cals)
- Promax Lean Bar (approx. 206 cals)
- Chicken, brown rice and broccoli (approx. 300 cals)
- Extra lean ground beef, cauliflower and brown rice (approx. 300 cals)
- Grilled courgette, kale, pepper and humous wrap (approx. 332 cals)
- Chicken wrap with tomatoes, cucumber, olives and hummus (approx. 243 cals)
- Chilli with quorn mince (approx. 275 cals)
Post-Workout Snack Options
- Apple and almond butter (approx. 270 cals)
- Almonds (approx. 160 calories per 22 almonds)
- Promax Lean shake (approx. 240 calories for a 2 scoop serving)
- Greek yoghurt (approx. 59 calories)
- Tuna steak, two sweet potatoes, broccoli and asparagus (approx. 350 calories)
- Chicken burger with wholewheat bread + fried egg (approx. 500 cals)
- Chicken stew with quinoa and beans (approx. 330 cals)
- Beef stir-fry with brown rice (approx. 400 cals)
- Low calorie chicken korma, replacing cream with yoghurt (approx. 376 cals)
- Singapore noodles (approx. 415 cals)
By taking the meals above and mixing them up, you can create variation every single day, for the four weeks of your cutting diet. An example day might look like this:
50g wholegrain porridge, handful of blueberries and a protein shake (approx. 340 cals)
Banana (approx. 100 cals)
Chicken, brown rice and broccoli (approx. 300 cals)
Promax lean shake (approx. 240 cals)
Singapore noodles (approx. 415 cals)Total approx. cals: 1,395
Obviously, depending on your calorie deficit you can either include more food or snacks in your day, or cut down. The key to a healthy cut is variation and determination – so set your 4 week goal and get your calorie intake down!
benefits of cutting carbs
1. When You Give Up Carbs…You Start Burning Fat
Immediately. Reducing your intake of calorie-dense carbs automatically reduces the amount of calories you’re consuming on a daily basis, which forces your body to burn fat stored around your midsection for energy, rather than the sugars it takes from carbohydrates.
Eat This! Tip: Exercise in the morning before you eat breakfast. This forces your body to burn stored fat, instead of the food you’ve eaten earlier in the day. To further blast fat, drink Pu-erh tea, which has been found to lower fat concentrations in the blood.
2. When You Give Up Carbs…You Feel Less Hungry
It’s not calories that satiate your hunger, it’s nutrients: fiber, protein and healthy fats. Unfortunately, simple refined carbs are lacking in all three, even as they fill your body with fast, cheap calories. So no matter how much you eat, your body will go in search of more food. The result: a sluggish, hungrier you—one who’s more likely to dive into the snack drawer.
Eat This! Tip: Start your day with a high-protein, high-fat food like Greek yogurt, eggs scrambled with vegetables, or chia pudding, and you’ll reduce your hunger.
3. When You Give Up Carbs…Your Belly Gets Flatter
One of the first things you notice when you replace simple carbs with high-fiber foods is that your belly may flatten out. The reason: Most Americans only take in 15 of the recommended 25 to 38 grams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. As a result, the healthy gut microbes that keep us lean have less to munch on, and the unhealthy microbes—which feast on sugar—take over. Those are the little buggers that cause bloating, and make your belly look bigger than it actually is. “Bumping up fiber can help promote healthy regularity,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.
Eat This! Tip: Start with simple swaps that feel natural to you. Trade the white bread for whole-grain or add some beans to tacos and stir-fry. And if you’re hungry between meals, reach for raw nuts. “Nuts are a great source of fiber and healthy fat, which can help fight inflammation in the body and also promote digestion,” Smith adds.
4. When You Give Up Carbs…You Slash Your Risk of Diabetes
Simple carbs are made of simple sugars, and eating too many can wreak havoc in your body in both the short and long term. The more of these quickly digested carbs you consume, the more insulin your pancreas produces, which can eventually lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, according to Smith.
Eat This! Tip: Fiber-rich complex carbs are harder for your body to digest, preventing the blood sugar spikes that cause insulin release. “The lower and more steady we keep blood sugar, the less insulin is released on a consistent basis and the more insulin-sensitive our tissues remain—which is a good thing,” Smith explains. So, cutting back on the simple stuff means you’ll be able to maintain stable blood sugar levels and reduce your risk for diabetes.
5. When You Give Up Carbs…Your Muscles Get Stronger
Almost every food in the world is healthier than simple carbs—from burgers and steaks to yogurt and even ice cream. In part, that’s because simple carbs lack protein, the building blocks of muscle (and a key contributor to healthy hair, nails and skin). By filling your body with protein and other nutrients, you’re giving it what it needs to grow without having to find additional calories.
Eat This! Tip: If you typically get hungry between meals, try replacing those vending-machine sweets with high-protein snacks that will fuel your body and give you stable energy for the afternoon ahead.