Considering that the key point is cutting down on calories, getting ripped should be pretty simple, right? Well, actually, it really is – even though the internet seems to be hell-bent at making it as confusing as possible, dropping the extra layer of fat and showing off your masterfully crafted muscles is a rather simple and non-magical process that involves but a few strict rules.
However, that doesn’t make it easy – it’s quite the opposite! Cutting takes an almost ridiculous amount of effort, patience and discipline. And we can’t really help you with that – if you want this to work, get ready for some serious sacrifice. However, in this article we’ll provide you with the most crucial guidelines for leaning down and tips on how to avoid the most common mistakes. Read on!
#1. Don’t go too low
If you drop your calorie intake too low, your metabolic rate will respond by slowing down and your body fat won’t go anywhere. Efficient fat burning is closely tied to an efficient metabolism, so don’t over-do it. For best results, lower your calorie intake about 10-15%.
#2. Don’t drown yourself in protein
Contrary to popular bodybuilding wisdom, you DON’T need to consume ridiculous amounts of protein in order to get shredded. While it’s true that your body will require a nice protein boost, given the reduced calorie intake, you should keep it at around 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight, or you could suffer the opposite effect and end up storing new fat.
#3. Don’t fear carbs
On their own, carbs are neither bad nor good. It all depends on the way you use them. They are extremely valuable for building muscle, but can hinder your cutting if consumed in high amounts. On the other side, eating too few carbs could cause your body to melt away muscle tissue along with body fat. How to fix this? Lower your carb intake to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight – but avoid going any lower.
#4. Don’t eat carbs last
Here’s one underappreciated fact: including high-carb sources in your final meal of the day impairs your fat burning efficiency. So while dividing your total carb intake into six meals a day is a smart move, the best idea is to make sure to eat more of them at breakfast and after training to make optimal use of their muscle-building properties, and skip them at the end of the day to avoid unwanted fat storage.
#5. Don’t diet for too long
In the same way that dropping your calorie intake too much can have negative effects on your cutting, dieting for too long without any breaks can also cause a metabolic slowdown that will bring your fat loss efforts to a halt. So instead of following the same strict diet plan for weeks, try dieting for 4-5 days (considering the above prescribed carb and protein intake), then take one day off and dramatically increase carb intake up to 3 grams per pound of bodyweight. Repeat the cycle for as long as needed to get the desired effects.
#6. Don’t perform too much cardio
Yes, cardio is an effective tool for accelerating fat loss, but getting too much of it can lead to loss of muscle caused by reduced testosterone levels and unwanted metabolic accommodation. Every cure can become a poison if abused, so for best results, limit your cardio workouts to three or four times a week for 30 minutes per session.
Believe it or not, that’s all. This short list includes every important step on the way to becoming super lean. No matter what anyone else tells you, as long as you abide by these simple rules, success is guaranteed. Good luck!