“Cutting” is a word you’ll hear about often when it comes to health and fitness. But, what exactly does “cutting” mean, and what is it referring to?
Well, cutting actually just means losing weight or body fat. Losing weight is the end goal for a lot of people. Or at least, that’s what it is when most people get started with their health and fitness journey.
Chances are, you’ve probably been in a “cutting” phase at some point. Most of us have been.
If you’re looking to cut, you should be adhering to a cutting diet. This is any nutrition plan that will help your body lose weight and earn the results you’re after.
Today, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to build a diet appropriate for cutting. First, I want to make one thing very clear.
Losing Weight vs. Losing Body Fat
I would be willing to guess that 99% of people who want to lose weight are actually just wanting to lose body fat. Believe it or not … there is a difference. Let me explain…
We all have a picture in our minds of what we want to look like. For most of us, that means having abs, and a fair amount of muscle definition. However, you can lose weight and still not have any definition.
This is because losing weight is not just exclusive to body fat. At the same time you lose fat, you can also lose muscle mass. I ask people this question all the time: “Would you rather lose 5 pounds and have abs … or would you rather lose 10 pounds and look the same?”
The answer I get is always 5 pounds and abs. This should be the goal with a cutting diet. After all, muscle is what gives you shape and definition, whereas body fat is what covers up your muscle.
You can lose weight by eating nothing but sweets. There are actually studies that show this to be true. With that being said, you probably won’t look or feel all that great!
If you want to lose fat, it’s going to be a little more challenging and precise when it comes to what you eat. So, let’s talk about how to do a cutting diet properly. That way, you can look and feel the way you want as opposed to being disappointed with the end result.
How To Do A Cutting Diet The Right Way
Now that you are more aware of what a cutting diet is and the difference between weight loss and fat loss … how do you do a cutting diet the right way?
Well, there are three things that I want to highlight when it comes to setting yourself up for success:
1. You need to eat in a calorie deficit (eat fewer calories than you burn each day).
2. You have to prioritize eating enough complete protein sources. This will help your body preserve as much lean muscle as possible.
3. Make sure you are exercising regularly. You should also make it a priority to resistance train as much as you can.
When you commit to these two things for long enough … you will begin to lose body fat. Now, let’s talk about how you can go about attacking each of these things.
How Many Calories Should You Eat For A Cutting Diet?
When it comes to putting a plan in place, you should first start with your calories. There are three different ways that I typically recommend calculating your calories for a cutting diet…
1. Multiplying your CURRENT body weight by 10-12. This is for people who are looking to lose LESS than 60 pounds.
2. Multiplying your GOAL body weight by 10-12. This is for people who are looking to lose MORE than 60 pounds.
• Multiply by 10 if you get less than 10,000 steps per day
• Multiply by 11 if you get 10,000-19,999 steps per day
• Multiply by 12 if you get 20,000+ steps per day
If you get more steps than that per day, then it’s possible that you may benefit from eating even more than that. A great way to ensure that you aren’t eating too much is to make sure that the number on the scale is moving downward over time.
If your weight goes up or stays the same for longer than 2 weeks, then I’d recommend making a change to your plan.
How Much Protein Should You Eat For A Cutting Diet?
After you find your calories, you’ll want to determine how much protein you’re going to need. Remember, protein can help your body maintain lean muscle tissue while you’re in a calorie deficit.
On top of that, protein has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF). This is the amount of energy your body uses to break down, digest, and absorb protein. Your body burns a bunch of calories by just consuming protein!
To lose body fat and preserve as much muscle as possible, one study found an impact at 0.55-0.72g of protein per lb of body weight and at least 25-30g of protein per meal (1).
Personally, I like to recommend even more protein … especially if you’re looking to potentially build some muscle. I’d shoot for 0.8-1.2g of protein per pound of your body weight or goal body weight while still shooting for that 25-30g of protein per meal or snack. To keep things easy, start at 1g of protein per pound of body weight.
All that protein can definitely help with feeling more full throughout the day as well (2). But now that protein is out of the way, how many carbs and fats should you be eating? I’ll touch on that quickly before we cover workouts and other tips.
How Many Carbs and Fats Do You Need For A Cutting Diet?
When it comes to carbs and fats, I’m an advocate for keeping it simple. The most important thing is to make sure you can be consistent with your protein and calories. Doing that can help you see the best results possible.
From there, you can really just use carbs and fats to fill in your calories. While that is true for most, carbs and fats still play a very specific role in a ton of different functions in the body.
For your reference, protein is equal to 4 calories per 1 gram. Having this knowledge can help you to calculate your carb and fat intake. Multiply your goal body weight by 4. Take that number and subtract it from your total calorie goal for the day.
Use this equation as a guide: Daily Calorie Goal - (Goal Weight or Current Weight x 4) = Calories Needed in Fat & Carbohydrates
Once you do this, you can simply divide the rest of your total calories between carbs and fats. Carbs have 4 calories for every 1 gram and fats have 9 calories for every 1 gram.
With this information in mind, I normally recommend certain minimum amounts of each for both Men and Women (although, this does not mean this is a perfect fit for everyone):
• Men: 125g Minimum
• Women: 100g Minimum
• Men: 50g Minimum
• Women: 40g Minimum
How Quickly Will You See Fat Loss Results?
I always get asked how long it’s going to take to see results. The truth is, there’s no straight answer to this. The reason why is because there are so many factors at play:
• Quality of Foods
The speed of your results is also going to be dependent on where you start your journey. If you have a lot more fat to lose, then you may see results more quickly than somebody who only has a little bit to lose.
If you are dialed in and doing everything you need to be doing, you may see results a lot more quickly than you may think. From my experience, I’ve seen most people who are crushing it earn noticeable results in only 6 weeks' time.
Stick with it by staying disciplined and aggressive! That’s the best advice I can give you.
Are There Supplements That Can Help With A Cutting Diet?
When you get everything dialed in on the nutrition and training side of things, supplements can be a great way to help optimize your fat loss results.
With that being said, supplements are not a hack, and there is no magic pill. Supplements are designed to fill in any gaps you’re missing out on through your diet. You have to think of them as tools … they are NOT going to do the work and earn results for you.
You have to WORK for your results. While this is the case, these are three supplements we offer that can play a key role in helping you earn the results you're looking for.
1. 1-Db Fastpack
The 1-Db Fastpack is a product that is designed to attack fat loss from multiple angles. There are three products in one because of the ways that they work together to get the job done.
With the 1-Db Fastpack, you can provide your body with what it needs to help support better digestion and nutrient absorption, curbing cravings, burning extra calories, supporting healthy blood sugar, and even providing smooth energy all day long!
Again, it's not magic, but it can help you optimize the results you're earning from the work you're putting in.
We offer the 1-Db Goddess Fastpack for Women and the 1-Db Overdrive Fastpack for Men.
2. L-Carnitine with Fucoxanthin
This combination of ingredients can help your body burn more fat for fuel and lower the risk of extra fat storage. L-Carnitine works to move fatty acids in your body to your cells to be burned off as energy.
Fucoxanthin is an ingredient that can help prevent the storage of fat inside fat cells. It does this by storing itself inside fat cells.
These ingredients can work together to improve mental cognition and insulin sensitivity as well.
Core-21 is designed to help moderate your body’s stress hormone, cortisol. Whether it be from your kids, work, school, or anything else in life … elevated stress levels can cause your body to store abdominal fat on your body (3).
Core-21 works to address this issue with natural ingredients to help alleviate stress and promote deep, restful sleep at night. Sleep has been proven to be a key for stress and metabolic function (4).
Other Tips For A Cutting Diet
I’ve had times when I’ve focused on gaining healthy weight and muscle, and I’ve also had times when I’ve focused on cutting weight and body fat. Neither one of these things are easy!
While following a cutting diet may be difficult, that doesn’t mean it can’t be simple. But, when you’re just getting started, or don’t have the accountability … it can be incredibly hard to earn the results you truly want.
If you ever find yourself struggling or stuck, we have you covered. Through our desire to help as many real people see real and long-term results as possible … we developed the most complete all-in-one tool to help you reach your goals. This tool is called the 1st Phorm App!
It’s a tool I personally use every single day to stay accountable, track my progress, and make following my nutrition and workouts easy as cake. Inside the app, you’ll get access to:
• 1-on-1 coaching with a certified advisor
• Track your nutrition
• Monitor your results and body metrics
• A library of workout programs to help you reach your goals
• Daily live streams and instructional exercise videos
• A culture and community of accountability and support
Just download the 1st Phorm App and get started today!
If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us. We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches who are happy to help you reach your goals for FREE! Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com.
(1) Leidy, Heather J et al. “The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 101,6 (2015): 1320S-1329S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.084038
(2) Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1558S-1561S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S. PMID: 18469287.
(3) Moyer, A E et al. “Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women.” Obesity research vol. 2,3 (1994): 255-62. doi:10.1002/j.1550-8528.1994.tb00055.x
(4) Hirotsu C, Tufik S, Andersen ML. Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions. Sleep Sci. 2015 Nov;8(3):143-52. doi: 10.1016/j.slsci.2015.09.002. Epub 2015 Sep 28. PMID: 26779321; PMCID: PMC4688585.ABOUT THE AUTHOR