I’ve used this contest cutting diet with great success while preparing for two competitions.
If you want to achieve peak condition for a bodybuilding contest you must lose fat while maintaining muscle during your cutting phase. When losing weight for a competition, you do not want to lose more than 1 – 1 ? pounds per week. Eventually the fruit will be eliminated, followed by the rice cakes, peanut butter and almonds. If you think in terms of grams (the way food is measured on the side of the food label), you want to eat about 45% grams protein, 45% grams carbs, and 10% grams fat. Click below to get Shakeology, the cornerstone of my cutting diet and the #1 supplement you should have in your arsenal to help you lean out and lose body fat.  Plus Shakeology gives you everything you need to build muscle!!
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Pre-Contest Dieting: Obviously the most pertinent issue regarding pre-contest preparation is the diet aspect of preparation.
When you see the winner of a bodybuilding competition onstage, rest assured they tracked their calories, carbs, proteins, fats, and never missed meals. If you want to do well in a bodybuilding competition, you should expect to do nothing less.
Keep in mind that if you think you have around 25 lbs of fat to lose, you are not going to be able to lose it all in 10 weeks and keep all of your lean body mass. Short periods of high severity dieting (more than 1000 kcals per day below maintenance level) are not too muscle wasting, but prolonging them for more than a few days will certainly cause one to lose a good deal of muscle. As a general rule of thumb, losing 1 lb of bodyweight per week will allow one to retain most of their muscle mass. If one tries to push their body to lose more than 2 lbs per week for any length of time, then they will begin to experience quite a bit of muscle loss.
The diet that one follows for their contest will be the single most important determining factor of how well they will place in the competition.
When the body is in a starved (calorie deficit) state, muscle loss can occur although a calorie deficit is required to lose fat. Before discussing the diet, it is important to discuss the three macronutrients and their roles. Protein is probably the single most important macronutrient for the purposes of maintaining muscle on a diet.
The body would much rather store amino acids than oxidize them as protein oxidation yields less net ATP produced per amino acid when compared to fat or carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have probably gotten the worst reputation of the macronutrients due to the ketogenic dieting rave. For those who have given themselves ample time to prepare, I do not suggest using a ketogenic diet. The first reason being that carbohydrates are much more muscle sparing than fats during times of stress when glucose becomes a primary source of fuel (i.e.
Since glycogen levels are low on a ketogenic diet, the body will actually convert amino acids to glucose and this glucose will be used in the anaerobic pathway to produce ATP. Insulin release inhibits the activity of cortisol by preventing its release from the pancreas, thus sparing muscle tissue from cortisol’s catabolic effects. This causes one to become extremely sensitive to carbohydrates when they begin ingesting them again after they finish dieting and could lead to an undesired post diet fat gain. The problem with extreme low carbohydrate diets is they cause severe reduction in cell size. Several studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrates before, during, and after exercise may attenuate the increased fatigue and increase performance. It can therefore be concluded that an adequate supply of carbohydrates is crucial for maintaining performance and for proper muscle recovery. Several studies concluded that diets low in fat (under 15% of total calories) significantly decreased testosterone levels while diets higher in fat (above 30% of total calories) increased serum testosterone levels.
I recommend that one lose approximately 80% of their weight due to calorie restriction and 20% of their weight due to cardio (someone who is ectomorphic should do less cardio, while someone with an endomorphic build should do more cardio). To lose 1.2 lbs (80%) per week from diet, there must be a 600 kcal per day deficit from diet.
For those who do not exercise this method, a rough estimate can be made using the following strategy. Endomorphs – 23%-28% of total calories (fat intake is increased in order to reduce carbohydrate intake, as endomorphs may have a difficult time losing fat with higher carbohydrate intakes). Whatever calories that have not been allotted to protein and fat intake will make up total daily carbohydrate intake.
I recommend a higher protein intake for endomorph’s while dieting because of the thermogenic effect of a higher protein intake and increased protein turnover, not because they need more protein to maintain muscle mass.
For those people who are in the 10-15% range, re-feeding every 6-12 days will probably be adequate, for those who are above 15%, re-feeding will probably not need to be done more than once every week to two weeks. Re-feed on the day you work your worst body part(s) as re-feeding will not only raise leptin, but be quite anabolic.
Keep fat as low as possible during re-feed days as high insulin levels will increase dietary fat transport into adipose tissue.
Consume as little fructose as possible as fructose does not have an impact on leptin levels.
As previously discussed before, carbohydrates cause insulin release, which is very muscle sparing, but also very anti-lipolytic. When one is in a calorie deficit, the catabolic effect of working out is enhanced, as the body will attempt to raise low glucose levels by de-aminating amino acids and converting them to glucose.
Dietary carbohydrates will provide fuel for the anaerobic pathway, and spare muscle tissue from being converted to glucose for fuel.
Dietary carbohydrates will cause the release of insulin, which blocks the release of cortisol from the pancreas.
Dietary carbohydrates will increase muscle glycogen levels which will improve performance and decrease fatigue. I suggest one consume 35% of their total daily carbohydrates in a meal 1.5 to 2 hours before their workout as this will allow the carbohydrates adequate time to be digested and enter the bloodstream.
The carbohydrates in the shake should account for about 20% of one’s total daily carbohydrate intake. The continuous ingestion of carbohydrates will ensure that adequate substrate is available for the glycolytic pathway.
It is also a wise idea to consume a post workout meal composed of whole food, low GI carbohydrate sources (although one may consume another protein shake if they feel so inclined) about 30 minutes after finishing the in workout shake. This low GI carbohydrate should contain about 25% of your total daily carbohydrates and will help stabilize blood sugar levels. Consuming a carbohydrate meal will retard the release of these catabolic hormones and spare muscle tissue. There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests consuming a meal containing carbohydrates may also help suppress hunger later in the day. You should spread your remaining fat intake evenly over the rest of your low carbohydrate meals. Essentially most any other source of protein so long as it is low in saturated fat and carbohydrates. Nuts (limit to 1 serving per day), peanut butter (as long as it does not contain hydrogenated oils).

I’m a couple weeks into my 2015 cutting diet, and it is time to trim things up a tad. Meals 1, 2 and 3 remain the same; for Meal 4 I halved my serving of almonds from two ounces to one ounce (-170 calories, mostly fat), and for Meal 5 I trimmed my serving of brown rice from one cup to a half cup (-90 calories, mostly carbs). These changes are small, but they will be effective and should get me through several more weeks of cutting. In a week or two I’ll probably reduce my protein intake at Meal 4 by switching from 7 ounce cans of tuna to 5 ounce cans (about a -40 calorie reduction). Notice that my adjustments tend to be fairly minor, and I start by trimming back calories from meals that I consume later in the day.
Also–and just as important–eating a consistent diet when I’m cutting literally changes how I view food. I thrive on consistency, and so when I’m cutting body fat I do everything in my power to smooth out the road ahead. FacebookTwitterReddit There are thousands of fat cutting diet plans available freely for download so why bother reading this article?
This is a really difficult process that requires the right contest cutting diet and the right amount of exercise. You will need to know exactly how many calories you eat every day and adjust them until you’re losing only body fat. If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.My fridge is always stocked!
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Before I begin talking about a proper pre-contest diet, we need to examine exactly how long a person should diet for a contest. One can probably lose up to 1.5 lbs per week and retain most, if not all of their muscle mass (provided their training and nutrition are optimized). It is for this reason that I usually try to give myself enough time so that I only need to lose 1-1.5 lbs per week at most. A person can have all the mass in the world but if they do not come in razor sharp on contest day, then the mass will mean little. Dietary protein is hydrolyzed (broken down) into it’s constitutive amino acids during digestion.
Ketogenic dieting refers to reducing carbohydrate intake to practically nothing, while simultaneously raising fat and protein intake. Instead, I recommend reducing carbohydrates, but keeping them high enough to possess the muscle sparing benefits of carbohydrates while still losing body fat. These amino acids will come from dietary protein, amino acids from the cellular amino acid pool, and from muscle tissue.
Carbohydrates act to maintain muscle mass while dieting by maintaining cellular osmotic pressure and cell volume. Drastically lowering your fat intake is another hit against testosterone production since fatty acids are the substrates for cholesterol synthesis and therefore are also the substrates for testosterone synthesis (cholesterol is converted to testosterone, among other things). Rather than continuing with this discussion I will provide a link to an article which covers the subject quite nicely.
In order to come up with macronutrient totals for a diet, it is necessary to assess how many lbs per week one will need to lose to be in contest shape.
To lose the other .3 lbs (20%) per week from cardio, one should perform 3 cardio sessions per week, which burn 350 kcals per session. For our subject in question, this leaves 2400 (1000 + 495) = 905 kcals per day for carbohydrate intake. Re-feeds help boost a hormone called leptin, which is the mother of all fat burning hormones. It is therefore important that we construct a diet so that we intersperse long periods of low insulin levels in order to maximize lipolysis, coupled with short periods of high insulin levels to protect muscle when it is at the greatest risk of catabolism.
Unfortunately this is quite catabolic as some of these amino acids may come from muscle tissue (See carbohydrates section).
I also suggest consuming a shake composed of 30-40g of whey protein along with dextrose or maltodextrin during their workout. You see, dextrose causes a very large insulin spike, and actually can cause insulin to be over secreted, when insulin is over secreted, blood sugar levels will drop rapidly as insulin disposes of the glucose into the tissues and one may even begin to experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). I suggest consuming 15% of your daily carbohydrate intake at this meal in the form of low GI carbohydrates. Starting yesterday I made a couple small adjustments to my diet, for a net daily caloric difference of approximately 260 calories.
As I continue to drop weight and below 8% body fat I’ll probably have to cut my brown rice serving at Meal #3 in half (-90 calories).
The reason I resist tinkering with my morning meals (until I have no choice) is because pre, intra, and post-workout nutrition is critical for performance, and I tend to ride and train in the morning hours.
The reason I do this is pretty straightforward: a consistent diet makes cutting body fat easier for me. When I’m in “all-or-nothing” mode I don’t like thinking of food as something that brings pleasure.
First of all creating your own fat cutting diet plan isn’t as nearly as hard as most people think. You should know how many calories it takes for you to gain weight, maintain your weight, and lose weight. Here you will find everything you'll need to know about losing fat, building muscle and being healthy!Take Your Fitness in the Right Direction! If one is naturally ectomorphic (has an easy time losing weight) however, they may want to diet for a shorter period of time, and I would recommend a time period of 11-15 weeks.
To get around the negatives, there are small adjustments and little tricks to aid in the accomplishment of the positives. These amino acids are released into the bloodstream where they may then be taken up by cells (usually muscle cells). With little glucose for the brain to utilize for energy, the body will begin producing ketones. Insulin inhibits lipolytic (fat burning) activity and must be kept low if one wishes to burn a maximal amount of fat. Indeed, fats are involved in many of the body’s processes which are required for survival. Unfortunately, fats are also easily stored as adipose tissue (body fat) So there must be some type of compromise between ingesting enough fat for hormone maintenance (and subsequent muscle maintenance) and reducing fat intake enough to decrease body fat. To simplify everything that I have said, it seems that one should not lower fat below 15% of daily calories unless they would like to face extreme testosterone deficiencies.
This is not an exact science, however we can still get a reasonable experience-based estimate. The best way to determine one’s caloric intake required to lose fat at a certain rate is to chart calorie intake for a period of a few weeks and try to determine at what level the subject does not gain weight (this is the caloric baseline). Protein is a thermogenic macronutrient key in sparing muscle tissue when in a caloric deficit (see aforementioned section on protein).
This means 1000 kcals have been devoted to protein intake, leaving us with 1400 kcals for fat and carbohydrate intake. There are essentially two crucial times during the day when muscle tissue is at the greatest risk of catabolism. The remaining 5% of your total daily carbohydrates should come from veggies throughout the day such as salad, broccoli, peas, etc.

When I’m cutting or bulking I prefer to think of food in the exact same way that I think of gasoline for my car. Hopefully you have already started eating clean by eliminating junk food, sugar, bread, soda and are cutting down drastically on dairy products. Of course you will need to experiment, but knowing how many calories you are eating before beginning a cutting gives you a good reference point. Look yourself over and be honest about your faults, strengths, and about how long you think it will take for you to get into stage shape. If one is naturally endomorphic (has a hard time losing weight), then they may want to lengthen their dieting time to 16-22 weeks.
To design a proper diet one should give themselves adequate time to lose the necessary body fat to achieve that aforementioned shredded look.
Dietary protein is also very important as amino acid availability is the single most important variable for protein synthesis to occur.
When the body is in a low energy state, it may try to produce energy by converting amino acids to glucose.
Dietary protein would be sacrificed for ATP production and the depleted amino acid pool would not bode well for protein synthesis rates, thus causing a net loss in muscle mass. One can see then how low carbohydrate diets severely decrease cell size due to severe glycogen depletion. Several key functions of fats in the human body are for energy storage and hormone synthesis.
Here are some example calculations so that you may have an understanding of how to go about doing this.
Periodic, proper re-feeding can raise leptin levels and help one continue to burn fat an optimum rate.
A lower GI carbohydrate and protein meal post workout will help counteract this negative effect by stabilizing blood sugar levels. If you happen to workout after breakfast, merely combine breakfast and your pre workout meal. The only way to prevent this is to give your body a reason to hold on to muscle through intense resistance training and a specific contest cutting diet that makes it shed fat, not muscle. If this is the first time that you have ever done a contest then you would want to also give yourself an extra week as you will probably experience a hitch at some point along the way. This means that protein synthesis increases in a linear fashion (directly proportional to plasma amino acid concentrations) until the plasma amino concentrations are approximately twice that of normal plasma concentrations.
This does indeed have a potent fat burning effect, as insulin levels will be severely reduced due to lack of carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates prevent this since they can be easily broken down (and converted if need be) to glucose molecules. Insulin binding to the cell membrane causes all sorts of reactions in your body that are beneficial to maintaining and gaining muscle tissue.
They are the body’s preferred source of stored energy and the most efficient molecule for the body to burn. Although fat increases testosterone to a degree, it is important to remember that testosterone is only a small piece of the larger puzzle. A person who is lean will need to re-feed more frequently than someone who has a higher body fat percentage. The other time of day when one should consume a meal containing carbohydrates is upon rising. To generalize for the less scientifically inclined, ingesting enough dietary protein is very important for someone who is looking to gain muscle, or maintain it while dieting. Carbohydrates then spare dietary protein from oxidation and these proteins can be stored rather than oxidized.Carbohydrates are also very muscle sparing during exercise. Insulin inhibits protein breakdown and amino acid oxidation, thus promoting muscle maintenance or gain. Without delving too far into the science behind this, trust me when I say that you would like your body to think it is in a fed state as this will increase the levels of fat burning hormones and anabolic hormones.
There are many other hormones and factors involved in building muscle other than just testosterone. For those who are below 10%, it is probably a wise idea to incorporate re-feeds two times per week.
Dietary protein spares muscle by helping increase protein synthesis (and thus induce net muscle gain) and by acting as a muscle sparing substrate as it can be used for glucogensis (synthesis of glucose). Indeed, the ketogenic diet may be the single best way to lose the maximum amount of body fat in the shortest amount of time.
When one lifts heavy weights, the primary pathway that is used to produce ATP (cellular energy currency) is the anaerobic or glycolytic pathway (as the name implies this pathway operates in the absence of oxygen). Insulin also has an antagonist (inhibitory) affect with regards to several catabolic hormones, including cortisol.
If you refer to the goals of a pre-contest diet, you will see that number three maintains that you must keep a high level of intensity in the gym. The main two hormones released are cortisol and glucogen both of which can be catabolic to muscle tissue. High insulin levels increases fatty acid transport into adipose tissue, so it is a good idea to keep your fat low during times of high insulin. If you don’t know your body well enough how can you expect some random anonymous guy over the internet to know?
Dietary protein however, is not as muscle sparing as are carbohydrates when used as a substrate for glucose synthesis. However, if you will quickly refer to our goals during a pre contest diet you will notice that maintaining muscle is number one on our list, with fat loss second.
The only substrate for this pathway is glucose, which can be obtained from dietary carbohydrates or by breaking down glycogen (the cell’s stored form of glucose). Cortisol is a hormone that is released during times of stress such as dieting, lifting, injury, etc. When calories are restricted, testosterone levels will drop, as the body will suppress its release of anabolic hormones in order to spare nutrients for oxidation (energy production). Think about it, if you are having trouble putting in the effort to learn your body what are theThe biggest problem with 99% of online fat cutting diet plansI’d say the biggest problem is that they are made just too damn generic to produce any results.
If one has not properly scheduled enough time to lose body fat and they are in need of drastic measures, then using a ketogenic diet may be their only choice in order to become contest-ready in time. Cortisol is the primary catabolic hormone that is released when one lifts or does any kind of activity. This could lead to a subsequent loss of muscle mass due to decreased stimulation from a decreased training overload. Low glycogen levels have been associated with increased fatigue and decreased performance in athletes (endurance, strength, power output, etc).
So as far as body composition goes food is just energy, fat loss or fat gain depends on how much energy (calories) you eat and spend. The main benefit of healthy food over junk food is that it just has far more nutrients which allow your body to operate optimal but weight loss comes down to one basic thing, how much you eat and how much you spend.ConclusionThe key point from this article is that any meal plan can be modified to become a fat cutting diet plan.

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Comments »

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