The Cut Begins
3 minutes read
on 07 Jul, 2023•3 minutes read
After about 6 months of bulking I have finally decided to start the cut.
Back in February I made the decision to start eating as much as I could, pushing my daily calories all the way up to about 3300. It was difficult to begin with, but once I was over that initial hurdle and had gotten used to eating so much, it just became another habit of mine. I was eating 2 dinners, a hefty breakfast, a large lunch and 2 protein shakes every day.
It was enjoyable to stop worrying about my diet and just eating whatever I want, whenever I want (especially given how strict and boring it used to be) but as with any bulk that isn't a clean one, I put on a good amount of fat on the road to gaining size. Don't get me wrong, it was worth it - I hit plenty of PBs along the way - but I've just gotten to a point where I need to switch things up.
My goal is simply to trim down and get as lean as I can, while holding on to as much muscle as possible. From there, I'll probably switch to cycles of lean bulks followed by cuts, to save myself from that period of feeling more clunky and out of shape than I'd like.
I currently weigh just over 95kg and in all honesty, I have no idea what weight I'm aiming for as I don't really know how much fat I need or want to lose. It'll just be based on how I feel and I've never thought obsessing over a number on the scales is a great idea anyway.
I'm about a week into the cut now and it's already hard work. I got so used to feeling full and eating whenever I wanted, whereas now I'm hungry most of the day but have to limit what I eat. During the bulk I had no problem finding the energy for 6:30am gym sessions five times a week. Now I'm tired 24/7 and although I'm making sure I still hit the gym, I'm far less energetic and my working weights are dropping as I lose weight (plus, I'm being lazy and rolling out of bed around 7am instead now). This means shorter workouts, less calories burned and overall a worse experience in the gym.
I'm not sure if this will just be another initial hurdle, after which it's smooth sailing. Or if I need to work on finding a better balance in my diet, sleep and workout routines. It's all trial and error the first time round...
I used an online calorie calculator to find my maintenance calories (which is about 2800) and after talking to a PT, opted for a 400 calorie deficit each day. If done correctly, this deficit should mean I lose roughly 0.5kg a week. Of course, if I fall back into takeaway habits, it'll be tough to move any fat. So, I need to eat lean and clean. High protein, low carbs.
To track all of this, I use an app called MyFitnessPal, which allows you to log every meal of the day and also syncs with the workouts tracking on my watch. The app not only lets you build meals from scratch, but also let's you scan almost every product with a barcode, offering a total calorie count and full nutritional breakdown. This helps me stay true to that 2400 calorie goal without having to worry if I'm too far over or under the limit each day. It also means I can see if I've hit my protein goal, gone over my carb limit or had lots of saturated fat (which I want to steer clear of).
After hearing so many good things about the long-term payoff, I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the famous 'bulk and cut' cycle. It's no surprise this is a big learning curve, but this cutting part is certainly harder than I thought it would be...
Fingers crossed I can stay as consistent with eating clean, as I was with inhaling takeaways for the last 6 months.