The Conscious Gut

Cutting Workout Plan: How To Get Rid Of Extra Weight While Preventing Muscle Loss

The basic rule of weight loss is that the calories in should be less than calories out, meaning that to shed the extra fat, you must burn more calories than those you consume (4). One such workout routine that helps in burning unwanted fat is the cutting workout plan. If you are into fitness, athletics, and sports, you may have come across this weight loss technique used by professional and amateur fitness fanatics to build the perfect physique. If you haven’t, don’t worry because we will provide all the details about this fitness routine so that first-timers and those who have only the basic information on this topic can find this article beneficial.

The desire, and sometimes obsession, to obtain the perfect body may drive people to look for all kinds of weight loss programs on the internet. Some such programs assure quick weight loss by engaging in extreme, short-term activities and routines, while others outline a reasonable time frame by following healthy, weight loss programs that are sustainable and recommended by doctors. One of the most popular weight loss techniques today is the cutting workout plan. As the name implies, it involves cutting down the amount of fat in your body while preserving muscle mass. Like many other exercise routines, a cutting workout plan promises the desired results to all who strictly adhere to it.

What Is A Cutting Workout Plan?

A cutting workout plan is a training program designed to keep your muscles in check as you shed off the excess fats (6). This is achieved by having a healthy, protein-rich diet while engaging in recommended exercises (8) As you do so, your body is under a caloric deficit and your muscles are at their most vulnerable.

Muscle and Strength, among other sources, recommends a cutting workout plan after bulking i.e., after eating lots of calories to add weight and build your muscles (6). Strength training and cardio are at the core of your weight loss plan. The idea is to burn that extra fat, lose weight, and maintain enough muscle mass for a desirable physique.

The main objective when cutting is to lose weight but, at the same time, get the lean muscles. The entire process should be accompanied by weight lifting and cardio exercises to prevent muscle loss. It should also be accompanied by a high protein and carb diet specially tailored to your needs.The cutting workout plan meets this objective.

Creating A Workout Plan For Cutting: Effective Cutting Exercises

A successful cutting phase needs a good workout plan. Usually, people may want to take the shortcut and obtain results in a short time, but sadly, when it comes to fitness and sustainable weight loss, there is no shortcut. Bodybuilding is a practice that takes time, patience, hard work, determination, and discipline.

What Workout Plan To Do When Cutting And Leaning Out?

What is the best cutting workout plan? The ideal workout plan to do when cutting and leaning out should be selected and based on your current situation according to what you wish to accomplish. The best cutting workout plan is sustainable i.e. one that you can comfortably follow for a long time.

It is important to understand that cutting workout routines differ by body type, gender, level of physical activity, among other contributing factors. Cardio and strength training (which involves weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, and resistance band exercises) are the most common workouts that keep your muscles busy during caloric deficit and, in the process prevent loss (9).

Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is one of the most dominant exercises used in almost all weight loss programs. Weight lifting exercises are more challenging, so beginners can start with lighter weights and then add on more when they get comfortable. The benefits of weightlifting are long-term (your body burns calories throughout the cutting and recovery phase). Once you start lifting, it is highly recommended that you do not stop because it is usually harder to regain progress after stopping.

Cardio

Cardio exercises are also at the epicenter of many fat loss workout routines. Cardio burns more calories than weightlifting initially and does not accelerate muscle loss. You may choose low-intensity cardio or high-intensity intervals depending on your capacity, but remember to not engage in too much cardio because it could be harmful (1). HIIT exercises include toe taps and squat twists, while aerobic weight loss exercises such as running (burns about 600 calories an hour), walking (burns 300-400 calories an hour), swimming, or cycling are low or moderate cardio workouts. As a cutting workout,  do a 20-30 minute session with 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 30 seconds to one-minute breaks.

Strength Training While Cutting

Strength training involves a series of exercises that results in muscle building. When cutting, you want to target specific muscle groups as well as general muscle groups for the best results. For instance, a squat with a knee lift and squat jumps can help improve mobility and speed. Dumbbell exercises help improve the glutes, triceps, biceps, hamstrings, and other muscles. Remember, strength and speed exercises should have at least 45 seconds of activity followed by a minute of rest.

How To Plan A Cutting Workout Plan?

Now that you understand the basic workouts that you can perform, it is time to come up with your specific cutting workout program. Fitness experts plan programs for their clients, but this does not mean that you cannot go ahead and create your own. All you need is a little background knowledge on the kinds of exercises that work with a cutting diet,and what you can accomplish. If you have no idea how to create a successful cutting workout plan, here is a sample cutting workout plan that you can slightly modify for both male and females in intermediate training level (6). You should exercise 6 days a week, each session 30-45 minutes.

Day 1

4 sets of

  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Cable Crossovers
  • Incline Bench Press

3 sets of

  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Rope Pulldowns
  • Lying Tricep Extension
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Day 2

  • 20 minutes core strength exercises followed by 1 hour of low intensity cardio or 45mins of HIIT.

Day 3

4 sets of:

  • Cable row
  • Wide Grip Pull Up
  • Close Grip Pulldown

3 sets of

  • Dumbbell Preacher Curl
  • Barbell Curl
  •  Incline Bench Dumbbell Curl

Day 4

  • 20 minutes core strength exercises followed by 1 hour of low intensity cardio or 45mins of HIIT.

Day 5 

4 sets of:

  • Squat
  • Military press
  • Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of:

  • Leg Extension
  • Leg Curl
  • Bent Over Rev Fly
  • Stiff Legged Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Day 6

  • 20 minutes core strength exercises followed by 1 hour of low intensity cardio or 45mins of HIIT.

Day 7

  • Rest for muscles to recover

Before weightlifting and cardio, it is important to warm up for 10-15 minutes to prevent muscle injury. Each warmup should prepare your muscles and increase blood flow for smooth performance. Some warm up exercises include:

  • Squats (4 sets of 11-13 reps)- They target the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
  • Side lunges (3 sets, 15 reps)- They flex the hips and glutes.
  • Hip rotations (10 times on each side)- Simply stand straight and raise your right knee to the same level as your waistline, then draw a big clockwise circle with the raised knee.
  • Triceps- an upper body warm up done by standing straight, arms stretched on both sides and parallel to the floor. Palms facing down, rotate your arms slowly in a backward circle for 30-45 seconds, then shift directions. Rotate the arms into a forward circle, and after another 30-45 seconds, repeat the process but with the palms facing backward. Do 3 sets.
  • Push Ups –  also for the upper body, done by keeping your hands beneath the shoulder and using your toes to support the lower body. Your back should be straight as you go down slowly. At the lowest position, when the chest almost touches the ground, come back up slowly and remember to keep your back flat. 10-15 reps should be enough.
  • Conclude with a 60 seconds jumping jack.

Note:

  •  A cutting workout plan varies depending on the creator and the person it was intended for. It would be best if you reached out to a fitness expert near you for assistance.
  • Before cutting, you need to attain a certain level of calorie equilibrium Bulking comes before cutting to help the body raise its calorie content and weight. For example, you may record an increase in weight by 0.5% every week for 2-3 months with a total of 15% rise in fats or higher. The “maintenance phase” comes shortly after to help the body grow muscles steadil. Set a reasonable end date to allow ample cutting time or risk losing muscle mass.
  • Frequent training sessions help through the recovery sessions. They also burn more calories and maintain a high metabolism. You can spread your program between 4-5 days for each muscle group. An occasional low-intensity cardio could burn some extra calories.
  • Select muscle-targeted exercises. Incorporate strength training and compound movements into your program. Try to lift heavy (but not too heavy). Also, avoid light weights and high reps since these can lead to muscle loss.

The female cutting diet and workout plan may not be as intense as that followed by men, but the basic rule of consuming less calories than those burnt still apply. Taking shortcuts or using the trial and error method may frustrate your efforts and force you to give up. It may also lead to wasted muscles and strength loss, therefore, identify the most effective workout plan or hire a personal trainer to help you. Start slowly by following a 4 week cutting workout plan before trying the 12 week cutting workout plan.

Cutting And Leaning Out Diet

A cutting and lean out program goes hand in hand with the right diet. What you eat may accelerate or decelerate your progress, with many people facing hardship because of following diets not meant for them. Just because you are under a cutting and leaning program doesn’t mean you can follow any “cutting” diet. You have to eat specific foods, carefully observing the protein, fat, and carb content, which contain calories and are the main sources of energy for the body (4).

The typical cutting diet consists of high amounts of protein and carbs (8). Experts recommend that people who intend to start a cutting program should shift to a cutting diet a few months before the major exercise regimen (8). The diet may last between 2-4 months, depending on how lean the person was before dieting.

Calories

When cutting weight, your body will be under a caloric deficit. Why do calories play a big role in weight loss? When you eat, calories are either converted to physical energy or stored within the body as fat, unless you use them up either by minimizing your calorie intake for the body to draw on reserves for energy, or increasing your physical activity to burn more calories (4).

When dieting, target a calorie intake lower than what you burn every day. For instance, a 30-year-old man, 5’7 in height and weighs about 153 pounds, needs 2500 calories to maintain weight, 2000 calories to lose weight, and about 1500 to lose weight faster. The same formula applies to women too, where they need to take fewer calories to lose weight. Remember, your daily calorie intake is determined by your gender, age, and level of physical activity.

You can cut on calories by (4);

  • Avoiding high-calorie, low-nutrition foods such as soda and processed foodstuffs.
  • Substituting high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones, for example skim milk in place of whole milk.
  • Reducing portion sizes.

Protein

A cutting diet demands adequate protein intake (8). Proteins contain amino acids that act as the building blocks for muscle tissues, boost metabolism and reduce appetite. They also play a crucial role in preserving lean muscles. When cutting, target 0.7–0.9 gram proteins for each pound of body weight. This is about 91 -117g of protein every day for a person who weighs 130 pounds (). Remember to spread this amount out throughout the day’s meals because the body cannot digest too much protein at a time.

Carbohydrates

On a cutting diet, carbs contribute to some of the energy required to get you through the day (8). They also help maintain muscle mass by preventing muscle loss. Carbohydrates come in two types; simple and complex. One gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories. You should target the foods that contain complex carbohydrates such as oats, sweet potatoes, potatoes, white and brown rice.

Fat

Fats also play a crucial role in your diet. They aid in the production of hormones like testosterone, which helps in maintaining muscle mass. On a cutting diet, one should aim for 15-30% of calories from fats (5). Cutting your fat intake too much may lead to a drop in hormone production, and although this does not always lead to muscle loss, taking too little may not work to your advantage. One gram of fat contains 9 calories. On a cutting diet, you need about 33-67 grams per day. Eat avocados, cheese, coconut oil, salmon, etc.

Best Foods For Cutting

The body prefers carbs for energy, and only gets a few calories from proteins. Here are the top foods for cutting and muscle gain:

  1.  Chicken breast- This is a good source of protein and vitamins which help the body function properly during intense workouts. A 2010 randomized controlled trial in the Biological Trace Element Research journal shows that selenium-enriched chicken meat causes weight loss (7).
  2. Eggs- They are also rich in protein, contain healthy fats, and vitamins. A particular type of amino acid called leucine is found in eggs, particularly in whole eggs, aids in muscle protein synthesis (3).
  3.  Beans- They are readily available plant proteins with great power to boost your muscle gain. There are various types of beans, for example, kidney beans and black beans. Other than proteins, beans are also rich in minerals like iron and vitamins.
  4. Brown rice- This yields less protein but contains many carbohydrates for the training exercises. By taking a meal rich in carbs, you get ample energy to get your body through intense workouts.
  5. Milk- It is a combination of carbs, proteins, and fats. Combined with weight training, drinking milk may have a significant impact on your muscle growth (2).

Note: 

  • A common reason why people on a diet backslide is due to cheat meals. Every once in a while even professional bodybuilders often slip and get a cheat meal in between the cutting workout plan. This is because the body craves for the missing calories. If this happens to you, do not be discouraged, get back on track as soon as you can.
  • It is advisable to cook your own food if you can. Eating food from hotels, online food shops, or fast foods may take you a step back if you do not know what is in it. However, if you cook your own food, you are in total control of what you eat. If anything goes wrong, you can trace the ingredients and identify the issue. A bad diet may lead to loss of muscle mass and fatigue.

A healthy diet and workout are two sides of the same coin because during training, your body needs energy which is provided by the food you eat. So far, many of the cutting workout plans designed and tested by experts have proven to be quite effective. The technique has worked for many people, proof enough to get you started to create your cutting workout plan if you want to lose weight before the next summer.

Final Thought

If you want to achieve your dream body, cutting and leaning out may take you a step closer to your dream. However, this only can only happen if you follow the right procedure, and the cutting workout plan may be your best option. Create a plan or better yet, ask a professional to do it for you. Do not rush to obtain quick outcomes- follow the healthy lifestyle recommended for long-lasting results (losing about 1 pound per week). Consult your doctor and relevant experts before trying any workout or diet.

Alexandra Danieli

Alexandra Danieli, CHC, The Conscious Gut
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