Diet plan to cut fat and build muscle has been a topic of debate for a long time. At one point, the common approach for cutting fat was eating “clean” foods like lean chicken and protein shakes. Another method focused on slow weight training and high reps that targeted mostly muscle groups such as chest or biceps. However, there is no set-in-stone way which should be followed in order to reach your goals.
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.
Food For Cutting
Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. While weight loss is not a magic bullet for health, and not everyone needs to pursue weight loss, it might be something you want to work toward to feel your healthiest.
Coupled with regular movement, your diet can affect your health outcomes. (Just make sure to talk with a healthcare professional before making drastic changes!)
1. Whole eggs
Once feared for being high in cholesterol, whole eggs have been making a comeback.
These fears were rooted in misconceptions that overlooked how your body regulates cholesterol levels. Your body sources it, as needed, from your diet or your liver to maintain its baseline levels.
2. Leafy greens
Leafy greens include kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and a few others.
They have several properties that make them perfect for reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. For example, they pack fiber and nutrients that keep you satiated and hydrated.
Fatty fish like salmon are incredibly nutritious and very satisfying.
Salmon is loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats, and various important nutrients. That combination keeps you satiated and can help you reach a healthier weight.
4. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
Like other vegetables, they’re high in fiber and tend to be incredibly filling.
5. Chicken breast and some lean meats
Meat remains a controversial food group for many people.
Beyond issues of sustainability and ethics, we’re still not sure whether and how red meat raises the risk of heart disease or diabetes.
Research on meat consumption and health outcomes has yielded low evidence of causation.
6. Potatoes and other root vegetables
White potatoes seem to have fallen out of favor — possibly, at least in part, due to the rise of lower carb diets.
For what it’s worth, potatoes and other root vegetables have several properties that make them wonderful foods for weight loss and optimal health.
They contain an incredibly diverse range of nutrients — a little bit of almost everything you need.
Best Foods For Cutting
Following is a list of 20 very good food choices for loosing weight. They can be added to any weight-management program, or anyone looking to cut down.
1. Sesame Seed Oil
All the talk about loosing weight lately seems to center around a substance called Sesamin. Sesamin is a lignan only found in Sesame Seeds. It decreases fat storage and increases fat oxidization, and therefore can be extremely beneficial for those wanting to loose weight.
Sesamin works by activating a receptor in the human body (PPARalpha) which has a major role in oxidizing fats and how they are stored. It does this by increasing the enzymes involved in the oxidation of fatty acids.
The reason Sesame Oil is recommended over eating seeds is that the oil will provide the same amount of sesamin per serve, but is a lot less concentrated in fats than seeds are. I would recommend one tablespoon of oil per day, or if you’re prefer eating seeds, then take in 50 grams per serve with calories in mind.
Protein needs to be high at this time to ensure muscle-loss doesn’t occur, and salmon is one of the best choices because it is low in saturated fats, while also providing valuable Omega 3’s.
It contains the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, of which the body is unable to manufacture without the assistance of the diet. The reason salmon, and other fish high in Omega-3 are so valuable is that unlike flaxseed Oil, DHA and EPA are readily available without conversion.
Omega 3 DHA and EPA will help fat loss by stabilizing insulin levels which are one of the main causes of storing excess fat, as well as aid in energy production. As a side-benefit, fish is also said to protect against cardiovascular disease, making it an all-round good choice.
3. White Kidney Beans
White kidney beans do not only carry all the health benefits of legumes, but also contain 2500 anti-amylase units per serving. These block carbohydrate digesting enzymes and help reduce carbohydrate absorption. This means less carbohydrates are absorbed, and as a result, less fat storage.
Some may even find they are able to increase their carbohydrate intake when eating kidney beans. This means you are able to eat more food, which is one of the drawbacks of cutting.
On top of being a carb-blocker, white kidney bean is also a highly nutritious food that is high in protein, very low in fat, while containing many vitamins and minerals. Like all legumes, such as butter beans and lentils, the white kidney bean is very slowly absorbed, which means it will keep you full for longer.
4. Green Teas
Green Tea has been long-known as a thermogenic, while aiding in fat-loss. Green tea can be consumed through teabags to get this desired effect. 2-3 cups of green tea per day is ideal for fat loss, preferably consumed at equal intervals.
Green tea also contains the compounds Polyphenols and Catechins, which works as an antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants work by fending off the negative affects of free-radicals, which can be induced by heavy training.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
These are packed full of nutrition and are an excellent choice to compliment any meal. Green leafy vegetables, as well as most other vegetables, contain significant amounts of fiber which help slow down the rate of absorption of the other foods in your meal.
Eating vegetables is a good habit to get into because it encourages a large portion of your meals to come from vegetable sources, which are bulky and filling with minimal calories. You can also be rest assured that you’re taking care of your health and getting your 5 servings.
10 Best Foods To Lose Fat & Build Muscle | Yes, You Can Do Both!
Losing fat while building muscle is the ideal scenario for transforming the body and feeling energized and healthy. This post will cover the 10 best foods to lose fat and build muscle. We’ll also discuss the role that exercise plays as you move on to a fitter you.
Sometimes nutrition is confusing. You know, figuring out what food is the healthiest to eat and when is the best time to eat it.
I know all about that and have addressed both food and dieting quandaries in my posts about intermittent fasting, hidden sugars, and inflammatory foods, among others.
But one thing I haven’t covered yet is how the food we eat can work for us to lose fat and build muscle.
Yes, it is possible to do both. I’m not kidding! It’s actually called Body Recomposition.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper.
To lose weight, we have to burn more calories than we are eating. But this calorie deficit is only necessary when you want to lose weight.
If you are looking to lose fat, yet gain muscle instead, you need to take a different approach. You see, losing fat isn’t necessarily about losing weight. It’s about getting rid of fat and putting lean muscle in its place.
When you cut calories, your body uses energy stores to function properly. The result is a loss of fat and weight, but as well, there is a loss of muscle mass.
That’s why it is important to eat healthy foods like protein, carbohydrates, good-for-you fats, and fiber so that we can continue to gain muscle mass. So, we must take in nutrients that help us to build lean muscle.
The goal here is to aim for fat loss, but at the same time, muscle gain.
10 BEST FOODS TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE
What are the best foods to lose fat and build muscle? Remember, it’s essential to exercise in combination with eating well to reach your goals. Foods that can help you get in the shape you want are listed below:
1. FULL-FAT DAIRY
You know me, I can never say enough good things about Greek yogurt. On the fat loss side, Greek yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid, known to burn fat and promote weight loss. As for muscle building, slow-digesting dairy proteins contribute to muscle gain. Cottage cheese is another protein-filled snack that helps to fill you up.
Eggs stay with you and help promote fullness. Additionally, the protein in eggs can increase your metabolic weight for several hours after you eat them. The amino acids in this ultra-nutritional food increase muscle gain. So, eggs are one of the best foods to lose fat and gain muscle.
3. FISH LIKE SALMON, TUNA AND TILAPIA
The mega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon not only reduce inflammation but are also one of the best foods to help you lose fat. How? Fish helps lessen the production of cortisol ( a stress hormone that can lead to increased fat storage). It’s good for both heart and muscular health.
4. WHEY PROTEIN
Whey protein is thought to protect and conserve muscle in the body when losing weight. That’s a pretty impressive characteristic of this food. Whey protein is easily added to smoothies and other nutritional drinks. It can keep you full and promotes fat burning, too.
5. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of my go-to hunger reducers. Now that I follow an intermittent fasting eating regimen, I drink a lot of water (one of the must-do’s!). I add apple cider vinegar, and doing so helps stave off hunger.
As well, the acetic acid in the vinegar is thought to lessen the accumulation of fat in the stomach and increase the body’s ability to lose fat. To learn more about the weight loss benefits of ACV, watch my video about it.
6. MEATS (LIKE LEAN BEEF AND CHICKEN BREAST)
Vitamins, like B6, in particular, are known to give you the stamina you need during exercise. Lean beef, turkey, and chicken are considered essentials for gaining muscle. These proteins boost the body without a heavy calorie load, and that’s why they are so beneficial.
Quinoa is a carbohydrate that provides the nourishment required to keep your energy up when exercising and throughout the day, in general. Athletes who are ready to run a marathon, for example, will fuel their body with a meal that includes carbs as a way to maintain stamina.
8. BROWN RICE
Brown rice has a bit of protein but, more importantly, is another useful source of carbs. Considered almost as good as whey for muscle building, brown rice is gluten-free, It contains vitamins and minerals key to providing energy when you need it.
9. NUTS LIKE ALMONDS AND PEANUTS
Nuts have a fair amount of calories but also have components like phosphorus, which helps the body build protein and use carbs for energy. Magnesium is found in nuts, too. It regulates muscle function and builds protein.
10. BEANS AND LEGUMES
Chickpeas, edamame, and kidney beans are all excellent ways to add protein to the diet. Edamame, in particular, contains the all-important folate that helps with muscle strength. Beans, like black or kidney beans, are packed with iron and phosphorus (aids in protein building.)
AVOID PROCESSED FOODS TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE
Processed foods are really a lot of empty calories that do not provide nutrition at all. Sure, they fill you up and satisfy hunger for the moment, but they do nothing for your body.
The simplest reason for avoiding processed foods is to know exactly what you are putting in your body every time you eat. Look at it this way, the best way to have control over what’s in the calories you eat is to eat food in its natural state.
An orange is an orange, plain and simple and a chicken breast, is well, chicken. Healthy, wholesome foods that are naturally good for you should be the mainstay of your diet.
Foods that have hidden sugars, unhealthy fats, and ingredients you can’t pronounce or even attempt to understand should not be in your grocery cart. There are also a lot of fake healthy foods out there that trick you into thinking you are eating well, when in fact, you aren’t at all.
Remember these tips when avoiding processed foods:
- Foods that claim to be low sugar or sugar-free will have ingredients like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose
- Fat-free items are typically fat-reduced but sugar-increased
- There are lots of names for hidden sugar, like maltodextrin, barley malt, sucralose, glucose-fructose, and corn syrup solids
- Gluten-free items can contain a lot of sugar, salt, and fat, so read the labels carefully
- Instead of refined white flour when baking, look to whole wheat flour, cassava flour, chickpea flour, or almond meal
Just don’t eat from a package! It’s as simple as it sounds. To easily stay on track with healthy eating, take a look at my meal prep video, and start making healthy meals ahead of time.
EAT PROTEIN EVERY DAY TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE
Protein is essential to both fat loss and muscle gain. For fat loss, include protein in every meal to have an increased thermic effect. You see, protein-rich foods help to increase your metabolism because your body requires more energy to digest them.
Which foods increase the thermogenesis, or fat burning process?
- Chicken and turkey
- Sardines, salmon, tuna
- Cottage cheese and full-fat yogurt
- Red meat like pork and beef
EAT FULL-FAT DAIRY TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE
Including full-fat dairy in your meal offers many benefits. For one, dairy products are high in protein. The combination of fast- and slow-digesting proteins are thought to contribute to lean muscle mass growth.
As well, full-fat dairy helps you feel fuller for longer. Naturally, because you won’t be reaching for snacks as a result, your calorie intake will be lower. Studies also show that fat-producing cells are inhibited by enzymes in milk proteins.
People often go for the low-fat versions of dairy products, not realizing that the fat is replaced with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Instead, better choices are full-fat yogurt, cheese, and butter.
EAT VEGGIES WITH EVERY MEAL TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE
Veggies provide the fiber needed to keep the digestive system working and processing the food you are eating. Aim to fill half of your plate with nutrient-dense vegetables for optimum digestive health.
These veggies add a power-packed boost to your plate:
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
- Brussel sprouts
HEALTHY FATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU
Don’t be afraid of the word fat. A lot of people, especially when they want to lose fat, think that cutting fat out of the diet is a must-do. In fact, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Fat supplies energy to the muscles when you are going about your day, and especially when you are exercising. What fats should you include in your meals? Almonds, avocados, fatty fish like salmon, and extra virgin olive oil are all good choices.
EAT ONLY UNPROCESSED CARBS TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE
Packaged foods contain processed carbs that are not going to benefit you in any way. Get your carb count from unprocessed foods, and don’t fill up on carbs unnecessarily. Look to fiber-filled veggies and healthy proteins as your primary food items, and add in some good carbs to round out the meal.
Carbs do fuel your muscles, but you’ve got to choose your carbs wisely.
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
EXERCISING BUILDS MUSCLE MASS AND HELPS YOU LOSE FAT
The great thing about exercising is that a lot of exercises will burn fat and build muscle, both at the same time. It’s neat, too – a kind of bonus, actually – that as you build muscle mass, your body burns more energy. This effect even works when we are at rest.
So, to me, that is an incentive to move as much as you can. It’s a great reason to work out with intensity to get full benefits.
That’s why when I exercise, I like to use weights. To me, there’s just something about pushing myself to the limit. And to boot, lifting weights can boost your metabolism.
It’s been proven that hours after you have completed a strength training exercise, your resting metabolic rate is still elevated. So, the intense weight lifting session you powered through is continuing to give you calorie-busting benefits.
If you are someone who loves a cardio workout but wants the lean muscle mass building effect of weight training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) may be for you. How does it work? Short bursts of exercise, like jumping rope and sprinting, can help to burn calories in quick exercise intervals. These bursts can be done throughout the day, freeing up time to concentrate on your strength training sessions.
Whichever type of exercise gets you moving is the best kind. Don’t be sedentary. Move your body and combine that movement with strength training to lose fat and build lean muscle mass.
Notice that I did not say lose weight. Weight training is not known for helping people to lose weight. More importantly, through strength training, your body composition changes, and the fat is replaced by muscle. So, even though the scale isn’t changing, your clothes will fit differently. You are on the way to a healthier and more fit you.
Lift weights at least twice a week, or if you can, take part in a strength training workout at least every other day.
Bodybuilders Top 10 Tips To Help You Cut
Tips From Bodybuilders To Help You Cut Weight
The cutting phase is generally the least popular part of a bodybuilder’s training. Cutting means eating less and trying to shed body fat to end up lean whilst maintaining muscle mass. Unfortunately, cutting down on food and upping cardio can be a stressful experience at the best of times.
With all of this in mind, most people try to get ahead during their cut by experimenting with different training patterns, different diets and any tips and tricks they can find.
The internet has become a place for active bodybuilders to share their advice and as such, knowledge passed down by people who have been through many cutting cycles is freely available online.
These cutting tips mean less trial and error for amateurs and ultimately, a better cutting phase that gives better results. Here are 10 of our favourite cutting tips to help you shred body fat.
1. Up Your Water Intake
While water does make your body look a bit more ‘bloated’, it has so many benefits that you need to seriously up your intake in order to succeed during a cut.
For starters, water helps starve off hunger. Having a few glasses with a smaller meal will fill you up and allow you to get by without feeling pangs despite less calories.
The additional hydration will also help give you energy during workouts, so you’ll be able to push a little harder and ultimately burn more calories.
Thirdly, drinking water as opposed to soft drinks means you won’t be adding empty calories to your already restricted calorie limit. Essentially, water is a ‘free’ drink whereas soda or sugary drinks will cost you precious calories that can be consumed as meals.
2. Cook Your Own Meals
Most bodybuilders become familiar with their kitchens as a matter of necessity. Whether you can quickly master taste or not, cooking your own food means you know everything going into it. During a cut, where excess salt or sugar in ready meals and takeaways can hinder weight loss, bringing your own food to work will eliminate any risky meal choices.
3. Avoid Catastrophising Cheat Meals
Due to the hard nature of eating at a caloric deficit, there will be a point where even the most seasoned bodybuilder will ‘fall off the wagon’ and have an over-the-top cheat meal or cheat during the week.
If this happens, the key is to not delve into what psychologists call catastrophising, or thinking the worst. Just because you cheated on your cut, don’t tell yourself, “Okay I’ll get back to my diet tomorrow / 3 days from now / next week.” This kind of thinking will mean repeated cheat meals until you get back on track. Forgive yourself for the mistake and then get back on your cutting diet.
4. Increase Your Calorie Deficit With Cardio
When cutting, you’ll have already worked out what your calorie level is and be eating at a deficit in order to lose weight. By performing hard cardio, you’ll heighten your metabolic rate and burn even more calories. This means that you’ll lose weight faster and can also make up for days where you’ve over-eaten and need to burn extra.
5. Increase Lean Muscle Tissue To Help Your Cut
Building muscle also helps burn fat. Performing heavy weight, low rep exercises designed to build mass results in more lean muscle tissue. This tissue raises your metabolism, which heightens the rate you burn calories. To put it simply, the more lean muscle you build, the better your cut will go. Ditch the idea of shrinking your body and instead think of reshaping it.
6. Avoid Sugar
All sugars are sugar, but anything from refined process carbs or fat should be avoided. Sugar is quickly consumed by the body to be used as energy and any excess is stored as fat. During a cut, sugar should be virtually eliminated from your diet. Eat foods high in protein and fibre.
Eating clean means you get to eat more, as sugary foods are far more calorific than vegetables and lean protein.
7. Drink Caffeine – In Moderation
Caffeine helps to increase alertness and improves concentration. This helps you to focus on your cut. Products such as Promax Lean and Thermobol contain caffeine should you prefer not to overdo it on the coffees or want to combine this intake with protein. However, it is recommended not to exceed a daily intake of 400mg of caffeine from all sources.
8. Cut Down On Cooking Oil
When you’re cooking your meals, you might be adding calories without realising it. Cooking oil is very high in trans fats, and there are many who lather it into their pan and on their food without ever counting the calories they add. Cut down on the amount you use each time you hit the kitchen.
9. Maintain Protein And Fibre Intake
Of all the macronutrients, protein is most important for cutting. While it will be carbs you miss the most, when cutting down calories, protein is important to build muscle which boosts your metabolism. Therefore, you’ll need to keep up your protein intake. Products such as Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) allows you to consume a greater intake of protein without overdoing the calories, they are also available in tasty flavours than can curb any sweet cravings too.
Fibre is another important food group. Eating raw vegetables helps you to mix up your diet and provides a great way to snack without adding many calories.
10. Be Ready To Deal With Hunger
In order to get properly shredded, you’re going to feel hungry. Your cut will test your patience and your endurance as you’ll begin feeling hungry when you’re bored and at random parts of the day.
Don’t be tempted to cheat on your diet with mindless snacking or eat more than you should.
At the end of the day, you’re cutting by your own free will in order to look exceptional, so keep that goal in mind at all times and build the mental fortitude a bodybuilder needs to succeed.