By Jamie Grover
With the New Year upon us, fitness enthusiasts across the globe start thinking about one thing: cutting.
Having low body fat is the only way to showcase the muscles that you’ve worked so hard on building over the winter. Bigger insertions mean greater muscle separation, making the muscles appear larger.
To lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit. It really is as simple as that. Burn more calories than you consume. Try tracking your calorie intake using a calorie counting app, which are usually free and very simple to use.
The goal here is to lose fat and maintain as much muscle as possible. A smaller deficit over a longer period will not only be more manageable but will give you better results. Ideally, aim to lose no more than 0.5-1.5lb of bodyweight per week.
In order to limit muscular atrophy, you’re going to have to think about macros alongside creating a calorie deficit. Most importantly, daily protein intake should equate roughly to 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight to repair torn muscle fibers.
Ensure sufficient carbs for energy, and fats to help you to absorb essential vitamins. Carbs and fats are pretty interchangeable and should make up the rest of your caloric intake.
DON’T FORGET MICROS
Micronutrients play their part too. Greens are not only great to eat for their nutritional content, but they’re also extremely filling whilst being low in calories. In sciency terms, they have a low-calorie density.
Caloric density defines the number of calories in food for its given weight. For the same number of calories as 100g of chocolate, you could eat 320g of chicken breast, or a whopping 3.5kg of cucumber.
Try switching your chicken thighs to chicken breast, or full-fat ground beef to 5%. Other lean protein sources include turkey, Canadian bacon, Greek yogurt, and protein powder. For low-cal carbs try out cauliflower rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
It’s still fine to eat calorie-dense foods like chocolate and takeout, as long as you stay within your calorie target each day. If you can stay full whilst eating calorie-dense foods, great! If not, low-calorie foods are available to help you out.
If you do struggle to stay within your calorie target, incorporate some cardio into your workouts. Most cardio machines will tell you how many calories you’ve burned, so keep track of that number and add it onto your allowance for the day.
Consciously allowing yourself to indulge, guilt-free, is incredibly important for your mental health. Cutting, for the most part, is strict, regimented, and monotonous. As a result, it can create an unhealthy relationship with food.
You should finish your cut when you are satisfied with the results. Don’t set a target weight. If you are happy with your results when you look in the mirror, congratulations, you’re finished! Over the next 2-3 weeks, gradually increase your calories back up to maintenance.
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