How to Maintain Muscle while Cutting
How to Maintain Muscle while Cutting
If you’ve ever dieted consistently for an extended period of time, you have most likely experienced a good amount of muscle loss subsequently. This is the norm for a lot of people, but there is a wrong way and a right way to cut weight and retain muscle mass at the same time.
There are usually only two scenarios going on here:
- You’re eating right but not lifting right.
- You’re lifting right but not eating right.
The most important thing to remember when cutting and retaining muscle mass is: challenge yourself! Yes, you will be lower on energy from a low-calorie diet. However, you need to do your absolute best to keep training at the levels you were before your cut.
You’re feeling tired, I get it. But suck it up. Before you started this cut, you were lifting the weight you wanted but had too much mass. To lose that mass and keep the same level of strength, ultimately defining the shredded look you’ve always wanted, you have to keep lifting heavy.
Many people will just start dropping weight due to the lack of energy or switch to low weight/high reps to burn more fat and cut faster. The problem with this is that your muscles are no longer being pushed to lift as much weight as possible, but they’re now being trained for endurance. And then you end up looking like this guy.
Chances are, you’re going to drop at least a little in weight you can lift from the beginning to the end of your cut. The key here is to fight for every, single, last, pound.
You have to push your body to lift as high weight as possible so that you can maintain strength levels.
If your reps went from 8 reps at the start of your diet to 3 reps in the middle of it, then it is ok to drop a little weight. Just make sure that you are putting as much effort into it as possible before finally giving in to dropping at all.
The key to maintaining muscle during a cut is always to maintain the same level of strength. While low energy levels will make your ability to lift heavy suffer, it will also limit your ability to recover. If this is the case and you are just becoming too sore to workout, it is a good idea to limit frequency of workouts.
This does not mean that you should limit the intensity of the workouts that you’re doing. If you were going to the gym 6 times a week before, cut that down to 4 times a week. Just make sure that the workouts you’re doing are still full workouts and you’re not skimping on any exercises while you’re there.
The last thing to remember is to avoid excessive cardio.
Many people believe that to cut effectively you should do a lot of cardio because it burns fat quickly. While burning more fat may be true, doing excessive cardio will also hurt your recovery time ultimately hurting your ability to workout at maximum strength.
Protein. Protein. Protein.
High protein diets have not only been proven to be effective in burning fat but also effective in retaining muscle mass. It is ideal to have one gram of protein a day for every pound that you weigh. This can obviously become a pain to eat enough protein every day, but you still need to be downing chicken breasts and egg whites like Takeru Kobayashi.
You should also make sure that you are eating a serving of carbs and protein both before and after your workout. This will help you maintain strength and muscle mass throughout your cut while continuing to give your body enough energy throughout the day.
Just make sure that you are eating good carbs and not bad carbs.
While cutting calories for your diet, you have to maintain a good ratio of cutting out those calories over time. Cutting calories too much and too fast can compromise your muscle mass. It’s important that you find the calorie maintenance that works for you.
Carbohydrate cycling can also be very effective. This means that the day before your heavy weight training sessions, you intake higher calories and carbs. The day before your rest day, you should intake fewer calories and carbs.
If you find that your recovery is very slow, take a rest day to reload on calories and carbs but only do this if you feel like it is necessary.
Getting the nutrients your body needs to effectively cut and maintain muscle mass, solely through food can be incredibly time-consuming. That’s why it’s important to take things that help you recover faster when you’re at your low energy levels to allow you to maintain higher workout frequency.
BCAAs are one of the most effective supplements for helping you recover faster in between your workouts. Many studies have shown that BCAAs have the ability to decrease the breakdown of protein during exercise and also decrease levels of creatine kinase, which is an indicator of muscle damage.
Our advanced BCAA is based on the 2:1:1 ratio (2 Leucine for every 1 Isoleucine and 1 Valine) which studies have shown will yield the highest effect on muscle protein synthesis. Get 25 servings of BCAAs for only $39.98.
Usually overlooked by most non-serious lifters, testosterone plays a crucial role in muscle growth, fat loss, and even optimal overall health. While obviously most important for men, testosterone can also be important for women too. Testosterone boosters can help you lift stronger and hold onto that muscle mass during a cut.
The Test Jack’d booster has some of the most essential ingredients for boosting your testosterone such as Vitamin D, Tribulus Terrestris, Zinc, and Ashwagandha. For just $37.98, you can pick up a whole 90 servings of Test Jack’d in our store.
Your strength is the most important thing to keep in mind when trying to cut because it is directly related to your muscle mass. Make sure that you are going as hard as you possibly can during every workout and maintaining the same level of weight. Avoid excessive cardio and cut your calories at a responsible pace. Be sure to take the supplements your body needs if you aren’t recovering fast enough and staying on pace with your workouts.
Cutting should take time and careful planning but the results are always worth it!