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  • After the Muscle Building Apocolypse


    By Travis Steffen on Wednesday, December 1, 2010in Diets & Nutrition  

    So you’ve been through a muscle building program, you’ve seen a boost in your strength and an obvious muscle mass increase. However, you’re still not ripped like Brad Pitt from Troy.

    Why?

    What are you missing?

    The answer is - a cutting phase.

    Yes, as we always say, you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time. However, it’s very difficult to get the ridiculous definition you’re looking for without shifting your focus temporarily from building muscle to burning off the fat that’s hiding it.

    In your cutting phase, you’re going to do three things:

    1. You’re going to prioritize cardio above resistance training. Increase your intensity and duration, and you’ll increase your overall caloric burn – leaving you one step closer to the muscular definition you’re looking for.
    2. Shift your focus from resistance training for hypertrophy (building muscle) to resistance training for maintenance. When you decrease your overall caloric intake and increase your expenditure, a further increase in muscle mass won’t be possible. However, you can maintain the muscle you already have by keeping it active.
    3. Follow a diet that’s more conducive to cutting. Make sure you keep getting the correct nutrients in the correct proportions, but decrease your total intake to allow your body to feed off your existing fat stores.

    While it’s just an example, a cutting diet might look like this:

    Breakfast Shake

    1 cup yogurt

    1 cup strawberries

    1 cup oats

    1 serving protein powder

    Add multivitamin and fish oil

    AM Snack Shake

    1 cup milk

    1 serving protein powder

    1 cup grapes

    Lunch

    3-4 cups romaine lettuce

    1 tomato, diced

    1 chicken breast

    1/2 cup grapes

    1 slice wheat bread

    Low cal vinaigrette dressing

    Post Workout Snack

    1 cup milk

    1 serving protein powder

    1 cup blueberries

    Dinner

    3-4 cups romaine lettuce

    1/2 cup broccoli

    1/2 bell pepper

    1 chicken breast

    1/2 cup grapes

    1 slice wheat bread

    Low cal vinaigrette dressing

    Evening Snack

    1/2 cup grapes

    Approx: 1950 calories made up of 50% carbs, 35% protein, 15% fat.

    Notice that the caloric deficit comes more from fat and a little bit from carbs because you’re in your cutting phase.

    To be clear, I’m not an advocate of carb cutting in a normal diet at all. In fact, while engaging in your normal muscle building program you should boost your carb and fat intake more so that your total nutrient proportions are 55-60% carbs, 25% protein and 20% fat. But that’s not the purpose of this post – is it?

    Even though I scale back carbs in this diet slightly, the total intake is still made up of over 50% carbs. I also don’t think anybody should ever have a diet that contains anything under 15% fat, as it’s not conducive to health or performance.

    However, the caloric deficit had to come from somewhere, and I want to make sure that protein isn’t decreased to the point where the body begins feeding off the muscle stores. This would be counterproductive to your goal, don’t you think?

    Drink a TON of water during this phase to control your appetite and keep yourself hydrated. It’s going to be a pretty helpful tool for you during this short-term cutting phase.

    Keep this type of diet up for about 2 weeks and you’ll see a pretty solid increase in definition. Then, gradually get back into muscle building again and shifting your diet back to normal – but do your best to maintain this decrease in body fat from here on out.

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    About Travis
    Travis Steffen is a Master Trainer and founder of WorkoutBOX. After years of experience training professional athletes and thousands of others just like you, he knows exactly what it takes to get you in serious shape. Follow his expert guidance and you're guaranteed to get amazing results.
    Want to hear even more of what Travis has to say? Keep in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter!

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