How I prepare for a cut, step 1: Goals and start date.
Over the past 11 years I’ve done numerous “cuts” (diet and training are geared specifically to lose fat), and those cuts have almost always taken place at the beginning of the year. For me cutting up at the beginning of the year makes the most sense, as the holidays are behind us and spring/summer are just around the corner. Back in my bodybuilding days, my cuts were done at the end of “bulks” (muscle gaining phases), and they were done to strip away the fat gained during the bulks. The past few years, however, my cuts have been focused on getting lighter on the bike while shedding any fat gained over the holidays. During my 2014 cut, for example, I cut down to 158.4 pounds @ 6.2% body fat, which is the lightest I’ve been since starting JSF in 2003.
Even though my diet is slightly relaxed this month and I’m giving myself a little breather after a year of very tough training, I am hard at work planning my 2015 cut. If you want to lose fat at the beginning of 2015, NOW is the time to start planning. My cuts have always been successful for two major reasons: 1) proper planning, and 2) unwavering dedication to the plan.
In the weeks leading up to my cut I’ll be detailing all the things I do to prepare. Feel free to follow along and plan your own fat loss programs with me!
The very first step is to set your primary goal or goals. Like this year, the goal for my 2015 cut is weight-based. A weight-based goal is a big departure from the body fat percentage goals I’ve used for the majority of my fitness life. My body fat percentage will, of course, be tracked, but that number is not as important as my weight, and my cycling power-to-weight ratio. For most people, however, a body fat percentage goal makes more sense than a weight goal.
My 2015 weight goal is 155 pounds, which will be the lightest I’ve been over the course of my JSF “career”. I’d considered cutting down to 150 pounds, but I think that would almost certainly be counterproductive. Light is good, weak is not. That said, I’ll be tracking my power carefully, and I will leave this option open.
After setting a goal (or goals), the next step is to set the date. It’s important to get this right, especially if you’re cutting in “all or nothing” mode, as I do (I’ll discuss this topic in much more detail in the coming days).
So, here’s the plan…
I will be taking a couple weeks off this month to relax and enjoy the holidays with my family and friends. I’ve selected Saturday, December 13th through Sunday December 28th as this year’s customary two week winter holiday. There will be no updates to this site during those two weeks.
My usual daily blog will resume on Monday, December 29th.
My 2015 cut will begin on Monday, January 5th. I purposely timed my vacation to end a full week before my cut begins so that I can share with everyone the process I go through the week prior to starting a cutting phase. Those of you who have been visiting this site for many years are already aware of my methodologies, but newcomers will quickly learn that I leave nothing to chance. The planning stage of a cut is absolutely critical: if you don’t take the time to get it right, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Hopefully you can feel the anticipation in my words, because the mental prep work has begun, too. I start getting myself psyched up about a month before beginning a cut, and by the time January 5th rolls around I’m going to be ready to go on a fat loss rampage.