bodybuilding nutrition - the cutting phase

After the bulking phase of bodybuilding today we will be focusing on the cutting phase. The goal of a cutting phase is to trim the body of excess fat while retaining muscle. This is achieved primarily in the kitchen through careful macronutrient manipulation.

Essentially, you want to keep protein intake high and to strategically plan carbohydrate-rich meals around the times when you’re most active. This way, you’ll have the energy you need to train hard, and you’ll still have the nutrients needed to replenish fuel stores in muscles for recovery. You’ll be running a slight caloric deficit to encourage fat loss, which will reveal your muscle. Overall, macro ratios average 20% fats, 40% carbs, and 40% protein.

What to Expect

First, don’t cut for more than one or two months—if you do, problems like yo-yo dieting, a decreased metabolic rate, and muscle loss can occur. On the plus side, reducing caloric intake should create noticeable physique changes within a couple of weeks.

You’ll face two main challenges in a cutting phase: increased hunger and a possible decrease in metabolism. You can combat these issues by eating more lean protein and vegetables, as they’re harder for your body to convert into fat, and protein has a satiating effect. Also, fill a smaller plate with colorful foods. We eat with our eyes, so you’ll be more eager to dig in, and the small plate will trick your brain. Lastly, never starve yourself lean. Stick with the plan, and the results will roll in.

The Formula for Cutting

  • Breakfast: Starchy carbs, protein
  • Snack: Fats, protein
  • Lunch: Carbs, protein
  • Snack: Carbs, protein
  • Dinner: Fats, protein

Shopping List

Stock up on these items at the grocery store when you’re leaning down:


  • old-fashioned oats
  • prerinsed quinoa
  • basmati rice
  • brown rice
  • sweet potatoes
  • russet potatoes
  • chickpeas
  • pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • black beans


  • large eggs
  • liquid egg whites
  • Greek yogurt
  • 1% cottage cheese
  • a whole chicken
  • 99% lean ground turkey
  • medium shrimp
  • lean ground beef
  • tilapia and cod fillets
  • pork tenderloin
  • cans of tuna
  • boneless
  • skinless chicken breasts

Fruits and Veggies

  • navel oranges
  • white onions
  • broccoli
  • fresh baby spinach
  • chopped kale
  • frozen riced cauliflower
  • fresh cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • acorn squash
  • watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • avocados
  • apples
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • beefsteak tomatoes


  • coconut oil
  • whey protein powder
  • powdered stevia
  • unflavored almond milk
  • almond flour
  • powdered peanut butter,
  • low-sodium chicken broth
  • natural almond butter
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • jarred minced garlic

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