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The Cutting Diet for Bodybuilders: Here’s What to Consider

Last Updated on May 14, 2022

If you are looking to build your muscles like famous bodybuilders or just looking to bulk up and lose fat, then you have surely heard of the cutting diet. Oftentimes, the cutting diet is done after the bulking stage of a body-building journey. The cutting diet famously known as shredding is the process of losing fat while building your muscles. That might sound contradictory but there is a science behind bodybuilding and cutting.

Science of Muscle Gain and Fat Loss

Many would agree that fat loss and muscle gain are opposites. This is because to lose fat or shred fat, you must be in a caloric deficit. On the other hand, to gain muscle mass, you need to be in a caloric surplus. Quite challenging, right? However, studies have shown that you can optimize muscle gain while still shedding or cutting fat in the process.

In talking about bodybuilding and cutting, we can never separate calories. Every bodybuilder knows the difference between the calories they consume to gain muscle mass and lose weight. As they say, not all calories are the same. 

Another note is that your body is designed to either burn calories for fuel, store fat, or rebuild your muscles which is called the basal metabolic rate. This means that you must be able to consume just enough calories so that your metabolic rate can regulate and repair your muscle tissues. By doing so, you can optimize your muscles gain and shed fat along the way.

The Best Diet for Body Building and Cutting

In the case of bodybuilding, you are what you eat! Based on research, a good diet should consist of about 80 to 90% of nutritional intake and caloric regulation while the other 10 to 20% should be assigned to exercise or training. 

For bodybuilding, strength training is a must in achieving the goal to build up those muscles while a cutting diet is vital in weight loss.

Get Enough Protein

Protein is considered a holy grail food staple in bodybuilding. They contain very low calories but yield a high nutritional value which makes them good for building muscles and exhibiting fat loss. To support these claims, different studies have proven the benefits of getting enough protein and building muscles. One of them is a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from McMaster University. The results showed a significant gain of 2.5 lbs in muscle mass from the group of men subjected to higher protein intake compared to another group. In addition, these men were also subjected to a 40% caloric deficit that inhibited their fat loss. Therefore, if you are looking to bulk up, protein should be at the top of your grocery list.

Here is a list of protein-rich food you should add to your diet:

  • High-Protein Dairy/Eggs: Eggs are one of the best sources of protein for bodybuilders since its low in calories but high in protein and rich in amino acids. You can also opt to buy quail eggs if you want to spice things up. Additionally, dairy products such as cottage cheese, swiss cheese, and Greek yogurt are also good sources of protein.
  • High-Protein Seafood: There are plenty of benefits to eating seafood such as the good amount of omega-3 which is great for your heart. Plus other minerals such as iodine, selenium, and iron. We recommend trying out yellowfin tuna, halibut, salmon, chunk tuna, and tilapia just to name a few.
  • High-Protein Meats: Meat is protein-rich and can be enjoyed in countless ways keeping you satiated throughout your body-building journey. You enjoy a variety of chicken, pork, and beef recipes to complete your protein intake for the day.
  • Plant-Based Protein: Peanut butter is one of the best plant-based proteins for bodybuilding since it contains healthy fats and is high in protein. You should also try out quinoa, lentils, tofu, and other plant-based options.

Strength-training and Duration

Strength training always comes with bodybuilding. This is a hard process that every bodybuilder works on every day to achieve their goals. Lifting heavy weights and training every day are needed in building up your muscle resistance in the long run. You must fatigue, tear, and break down your muscles. Additionally, monitoring your metabolic rate is also key to rebuilding and refining those muscles to their finest. That is why consuming the right amount of calories and following a good diet is essential in building the body of your dreams. 

Another important key point is the duration of these diets and training. Just like how Rome wasn't built in a day, your body also needs to follow a gradual pattern. 

Studies have shown that diets longer than two to four months can account for 0.5% to 1% weight loss and is better in comparison to aggressive crash diets. The same goes for strength training which should also be gradually intensified as the weeks go by. As the training and cutting diet progresses, we can assure you that it gets harder to lose weight and train harder. But all of these efforts will surely be worth your tears and sweat when you reach your fitness goal. So be sure to slow down and plan your bodybuilding journey.

Key Takeaways

Just like any other fitness challenge, building your muscles and losing weight can be quite overwhelming and tiring. That is why preparing for your bodybuilding journey requires time, dedication, and discipline. Make sure to tailor your diet and training in line with your fitness goals to achieve the body of your dreams.


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