At a certain point hard work and dedication will only get you so far. Elite athletes learn that eventually talent can only take you so far and you need to take the time to learn various tips and techniques to make things more effective. There are always things you can do to increase efficiency and help push you over the hump.
That idea is important no matter why you are in the gym. If you are a bodybuilder looking to add valuable muscle, dieting to get ready for a show, an athlete trying for more strength or even just someone who wants to attain a higher level of fitness then it pays to learn as much as you can.
With that in mind we are focusing on the Top 5 diet tips that can change the game for you when cutting up.
Compare Calories In vs. Out
Far too many people do not calculate what they are burning and end up ball parking it. While you might be very precise about what goes in, if you are burning a whole lot more calories, then your body will be running on empty far too often to be effective.
You need to have enough calories to maintain muscle, workout hard, and have energy for all of the daily activities. The first step is to perform a precise average calorie count based on your age, height, weight, and general daily activity; the more complex the calculator then the more accurate the results. Then from that figure base your calculations on necessary food intake depending on your goals of maintaining or weight loss.
If you are dieting for a specific goal such as a bodybuilding show you want to hit the goal earlier rather than later. The same goes for other sports where you have a certain goal. You can always keep the same regimen up or adjust from losing weight to maintaining. But it is much more difficult to realize you aren’t going to hit your target goal and then try to drastically crash diet to make your goal with only a week or two left.
When you count those calories you should be taking in the proper amount of protein and carbohydrates. For bodybuilders we are looking at 1 to 1.5 grams of protein as an optimal amount to maintain that important muscle size. Typically that means eating your bodyweight in grams of protein each day as the bare minimum.
For carbohydrates it will be about 25-30% of your calories. It is better to start at 30% and then adjust slightly if you aren’t seeing the type of progress you want in the mirror each week. But you need to be very careful and not cut back too much because of what we talked about in calories in versus out.
Lots of Meals
Ideally you are eating 6 times a day, maybe even 7 depending on your schedule. Smaller meals are easier to digest, make it easier to take in the necessary protein needed, and help keep the metabolism on a faster pace. Plus this regular influx of energy helps keep your body well regulated during the diet phase and less prone to mood swings because of hunger and glucose levels.
Cardio is typically the least favorite diet activity in my experience, but the one most crucial to success. You need to strip fat off the body somehow and diet alone usually will not do it. The best method is to start with a moderate program for a week or so and monitor your losses on the scale and in the mirror. 4 days a week of 30 to 45 minutes is a good starting point working at 60-70% maximum heart rate. It might be that this is too much and you need to dial it back a little bit or maybe increase it slightly.
If you are working off a good schedule then you will have time over the course of the cutting phase to make small adjustments. Everyone is different so expect some trial and error. But by using a notebook to track results as well as the mirror (and even pictures) you can get a more precise idea what works for you. Also make sure to use a variety of cardio machines and not get bored on just one.