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The Bodybuilding Way On How To Cut

You’ve been lifting weights for a few years now and you feel like you look pretty decent for all the hours that you’ve put in at the gym, but a part of you feels a little incomplete like there’s something that you need to do in order to be a legit lifter. You need to go on a shred.

If you go through your bodybuilding life without experiencing the pain and pleasure of going on a cut, were you really even a bodybuilder?

Attempting to go through a shred is easy. Having a successful shred? That’s a different story altogether.

If you’ve never attempted to cut your body fat levels in half because you lack the knowledge to do so, then you’ve just happened to stumble upon a nice article.

In this article, we’ll describe the steps and actions that are necessary for you to know how to cut, and how to cut successfully.

Cutting Ain’t Easy

As the heading says, cutting ain’t easy nor is it for those who have a weak will. I commend you if you’ve been sticking to your training regime for the last 5 years, but sticking to a meal plan that just downright sucks is a much different challenge than lifting weights are.

Lifting is fun, dieting isn’t. As simple as that.

bodybuilder standing by his pre-cooked meals

As mentioned above, sticking to a diet takes the kind of tenacity similar to that of a honey badger. Honey Badgers climb thorn trees just to kill a black mamba. That’s tenacity right there!

And so, you have to be willing to say no to all the delicious foods, no to eating out, no unplanned cheat meals, and yes to chicken and rice, yes to broccoli, yes to cardio.

In all honesty, cutting doesn’t have to be that painful. It’s possible to bend the rules and still drop a good amount of body fat. By ‘bending the rules’ I mean that your diet doesn’t have to consist solely of chicken breasts, rice, and broccoli.

How to Cut Like A Bodybuilder

First off, to cut like a bodybuilder, you need to first eat like a bodybuilder. How do bodybuilders eat? With consistency.

In bodybuilding, consistency is above everything else. Without consistency, your gains and progress would fall apart faster than a house of cards.

So, before we get into the nitty-gritty of cutting, we need to first establish caloric requirements.

Establishing Your Caloric Requirements

To establish your caloric requirements, you’ll need to do some working on your end. This process should be done for 4 weeks.

If you don’t know how many calories you’re consuming a day, then that’s something that you need to change if you want to have a successful cut.

various pre-cooked bodybuilding meals in tupperware

Tracking Your Food

To get an accurate number, you’ll need to track to all the food that you eat each day. For this process, you will need a food scale and a calorie-tracking app like MyFitnessPal. At the end of each day, write down your total caloric intake for the day.

Weigh Yourself

Weigh yourself every morning after you’ve conducted your business on the toilet and before you have any breakfast. Write down your weight and keep it safe.

After each week, count all your calories together. And after all 4 weeks of tracking your calories and your weight, add all 4 weeks’ worth of calories together and divide that number by 28 to give you an average calorie consumption.

bodybuilder at a weigh-in before a show

For example, if by the end of the 4 weeks your calories come to 67,200 calories, divide that by 28 and you’ll end up with an average of 2,400 calories consumed a day.

That 2,400 is the number of calories that you should be eating each day.

Adjust Calories Based On Weight

If by the end of those 4 weeks your weight has gone up, you should know that 2,400 calories are a little too much. Depending on the weight gain, you should decrease that number by 100 calories and take it from there.

However, if you’ve lost weight, you should increase your calories by 50 calories at a time until your weight stabilizes.

After you’ve been consuming the same number of calories for a few weeks, it’s time to cut.

How to Cut

The most basic rule of cutting is to reduce you daily caloric requirements by 500 calories. Using the example of 2,400 calories, removing 500 calories from that would leave you with 1,900 calories (these numbers are purely for the sake of the example).

However, lowering your calories and staying in that deficit for too long would cause a negative metabolic adaptation. Meaning that your metabolism will drop from 2,400 to 1,900. If that happens, it means that your metabolism is slowing down.

How do we offset this adaptation?

Refeed, Baby!

This is what every cutting plan needs. Without a weekly refeed, your cutting progress will come to an unfortunate halt.

There’s nothing more frustrating than when your weight loss comes to a stop. Refeeds are a great way of breaking free from the stale ‘healthy eating’ routine that you put yourself through during the week.

What Is A Refeed?

A refeed is the reintroduction of ‘lost’ calories for one or two days in the week — typically over the weekend. Those lost calories are the calories that you removed from your daily caloric intake.

In some cases, refeeding twice a week is necessary to keep the fat burning process going strong, but this is more to the end of your cutting phase. A refeed show be incorporated at about 3-4 weeks into your cut.

matt stonie with a big bowl of nachos

Start off with one refeed a week, and then 4 weeks later, add another refeed to your week.

To trigger an anabolic response, try refeeding on the days that you train your weaker muscle groups. This will be highly beneficial to aid in the growing and fuelling of that specific muscle.

However, even with refeeds in the mix, there will come a time when your fat burning process slows down, albeit a little. When this happens, it’s time to call in the big guns — cardio.


Cardio should be saved as a kind of ‘trump card.’ If possible, cardio should be avoided at the start of your cutting phase. You should first start with reducing your calories and then a few weeks later, start performing cardio twice a week for 30 minutes a session.

With every second week, add another 30-minute session until you’re doing four cardio sessions each. After you’ve reached four 30-minute sessions, add 15 minutes to each session with every passing week until all four cardio sessions are 45 minutes long.

man doing cardio by jogging


Cutting ain’t easy, nor is it the best thing about bodybuilding. But when you learn how to cut successfully, the results will give you a feeling of ecstasy. Once you’ve successfully shredded, the look you see in the mirror becomes addicting, and you’ll want to keep on doing it.

Remember to follow the guidelines laid out in this article as best you can. Remember, this is just a general guideline and should not be taken as the “gold standard.” The guidelines are meant to set you in the right direction, not the one and only direction.

Once you’ve got a better understanding and have experimented with these rules, start reading more in-depth articles and books. You’ll learn more from reading medical papers and published books than you will from articles.

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