T-minus 4 days: how I prepare for a cut.
Preparation before embarking on a strict cutting program is critically important. Without a proper plan and your head in the right place, you are going to make things harder than they need to be, and quite possibly set yourself up for failure.
Here’s a general timeline of how I prepare myself…
A few weeks out I purchase most of my proteins in bulk. This isn’t required, but personally I find that having all that stuff on-hand and ready to defrost on a regular schedule to be a powerful tool. I did this shopping about 4 weeks ago, and you can check out the list in this blog.
In the weeks leading up to a cut I really relax my diet. I choose to be ultra-strict while cutting (no cheat meals, no cheat snacks, little to no processed foods, no alcohol…), so I like to enjoy my favorite splurges without restriction before I get hardcore. I also find that by the time my cut starts I’m pretty sick of junk food, and that makes getting super strict a welcome relief. If you choose to cut with weekly cheat meals, then this may not be a great approach, but for me it really works.
The week before I start dieting down I plan our shopping list so that there will be no junk food or alcohol in the house when my cut starts. I am very lucky in that respect, as my wife, Lisa, is 100% with me on this. Lisa is naturally thin, but she’ll still dive right in there with me, eating ultra-healthy and consuming no alcohol for the duration of the cut. By this Sunday night this house will be “dry”, and any junk food that happens to be left will be given away or tossed out.
A few days before my cut I get my meal plan for the first week done and my workout schedule for that first week ironed out. After more than 10 years of bodybuilding-style bulks and cuts, I’m very experienced at cutting body fat; because of that experience, creating my cutting meal plan is usually extremely easy for me. This year, however, there is an unknown. This year’s cut will involve a tremendous amount of cycling training–far more cardio than I’ve ever done before while cutting (my last cut was back in early 2012). I am going to have to remain fluid with regards to my caloric intake. I think I’m going to start with around 2,600-3,000 calories per day, give or take depending on my activity level. I’ll be carefully monitoring my performance, energy level and scale weight loss. I’m aiming for a healthy 1-2 pound loss per week (after the initial water weight loss the first week).
Finally, the weekend before the cut starts I get mentally prepared. I really psyche myself up for these things! I never diet down thinking “Oh, this sucks!” That’s how people who fail think. I only think positive thoughts. When I wake up on Monday morning I’m going to be in Machine Mode, executing my plan until the job is done. My success is assured, there is never a doubt in my mind about that.