Regardless of what time of year it is, if you have managed to pack on a significant amount of lean muscle mass during your bulking cycle you are probably ready to uncover that lean muscle and strive for those six pack abs, but before you do there are some things you should take into consideration before you begin.
Coming off of a bulking cycle can be a little difficult but it should not be something you do in a short period of time, in order to reduce body fat you will need to reduce your calorie intake, below is just a guideline on what has worked for me but everyone is different and since everyone’s metabolism is different you will have to play with certain variables in your diet.
During the winter season I generally keep my daily calories at around 4000 per day, however when I begin leaning out for summer I will reduce those calories down to 2400 calories per day but not all at once.
I will gradually reduce my caloric intake over two months, reducing them gradually every week. What works for me is a daily calorie reduction of 200 per day every week, so at the end of a two-month period my daily calories will be down to approximately 2400 calories per day.
Some say that six meals per day is the best way to go because it keeps your metabolism constantly burning and maintains longer bouts of energy, I am not an advocate for 6 meals a day, especially when cutting because I seem to always be hungry, I much prefer 3 solid meals a day and this is a personal thing, I seem to stay more satisfied throughout the day. Still not sure which meal plan is best here is a good article that breaks down 3 vs 6 meals per day.
What to eat
For starters you need protein to ensure you keep feeding your muscles, between 1.5 and 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight should be adequate, I also make sure I am still getting carbs from sources like oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes and green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and green beans. I personally like to eat the majority of my carbs in the morning after my workout along with some eggs, in the afternoon I will have a chicken breast or fish with a piece of broccoli and a cup of brown rice, my evening meal is mostly rice and chicken or lean beef but this is all a personal preference as long as it is relatively low in fat.
One of the biggest issues I have found is that the leaner I get I become more meticulous about what I am eating, most people if they train hard and heavy will experience less energy and strength which is natural because you are losing body mass and eating less, this is when it’s important to consider supplementing your diet, this will provide you with the things your body needs to maintain strength and energy so that your training is still consistent.
In the past I have tried combining my own concoction of supplements but that becomes expensive and often did not prove my body with what it needed, now when I begin a cutting cycle I have used a cutting stack which is 4 different products that I take 3 times a day which leaves the guess work out and lets me totally focus on my diet and training.
When on your cutting cycle you will want to make sure you have a surplus of low-calorie protein, you can use whey or soy protein isolate, L-Carnitine is great during cutting cycles because it turns triglycerides into mitochondria so they can be oxidised to increase energy. Creatine also helps keep your muscle full just make sure you drink plenty of water, ultimately these ingredients can be found in the CrazyBulk cutting stack.
The above is just a guideline for those interested in getting lean for summer, one thing I tell people is just take it a day at a time, playing with different foods and training methods can be fun, so enjoy the experience as you slowly transform your body into a lean and muscular physique.
Below of an average daily meal consisting of breakfast lunch and dinner
- 3 egg whites 1 whole egg
- Half cup of oatmeal
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of almon butter
- 1 glass of skim milk
- Can of white tuna packed in water or 8oz of fresh broiled fish
- 1 piece of Broccoli
- 1 Cup of brown rice
- 1/2 slice of avocado
- 3 whole wheat crackers with almond butter
- 12oz of beef filet or chicken breast
- 1 Cup of brown rice
- 1 cup of sauteed green beans