3 Week Cut to Lean Program
A cut diet is a body building term for adjusting your macros in order to "cut" out the body fat and see definition. Macros is short for Macronutrients and is usually used as a term when tracking Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. For a quick crash course on Macros and how to calculate your numbers, click here. A typical cutting diet lasts around 12 weeks or until desired results are achieved. The goal during this time is to retain all gained muscle mass while losing body fat.
After completing 9 weeks of a "cut diet" with cheat meals at least once a week and next to no cardio, I decided it was time to try something different for the last 3 weeks of my cut programming. This 3 week program is meant to be more aggressive and is an opportunity for me to experiment with my body. During the program, I will be putting more stress on my body than usual but I'm aiming to carve out my body and see the muscle that I've gained. This post is not meant to be instructional, I am not a certified PT or nutritionist. Posts regarding this 3 week program are meant to share my personal learning experiences.
Where I'm Starting
- Less than 1 Year of body building training with a focus on building muscle mass (March 2016-January 2017).
- Pescatarian diet with a focus on high protein and whole foods.
- Only 9 weeks of macro tracking (November 2016-December 2016).
- Minimal cardio in my training program.
- Body part split style training.
- Recovering from a knee injury that occurred in September 2016 which left me off leg training for 2 months.
- Legion Athletics Recharge Supplement after every workout (creatine).
What I'm Changing
- Addition of cardio after every training session (20-25min).
- Steady-state cardio with high intensity sprint bursts (2 days a week, 45min)
- Elimination of all dairy products (anything with lactose)
- Incorporation of intermittent fasting (3 days a week, 16 hour fast)
- 7 day a week training, no rest days
- Addition of BPI Best BCAA's prior or during every workout, 40% Forskolin Extract as a fat burner supplement before training and in the mornings on fasted days, and BPI Nite Burn before bed.
My training program is based on the body part split method. I mix it up though and sometimes incorporate "trigger sessions" throughout the week. These sessions incorporate a body part that I feel needs more attention and trains it by using 3-4 moves for 3 sets each move. These sessions usually involve a lower weight or if I'm feeling good, I'll use my working set weight. A few key points that I always emphasize during my training...
- Compound movements (i.e. Benchpress or Squat) are always heavier weight with a lower rep range post warm up.
- Superset whenever possible (doing one movement and following up with another directly after).
- Incorporate drop sets, especially towards the end of a session.
- Set higher expectations and crush them (always test limits of strength)
- 1 hour+ lifting sessions followed by short cardio (20-25min).
- Old school tactics over complicated routines
- Learn to listen to the body, meditate within the muscles
- Use the mirror whenever possible, visualize and build that vision
3 Week Cut to Lean Split
- Sunday: Abs / Steady State Cardio w/ Sprint Sessions
- Monday: Shoulders / Calves*
- Tuesday: Arms / Abs*
- Wednesday: Legs / Butt / Calves*
- Thursday: Chest / Abs*
- Friday: Calves / Steady State Cardio w/ Sprint Sessions
- Saturday: Back / Butt*
*Training sessions end with a short cardio session (20-25min)
The meal plan during this cut is critical. For these 3 weeks, no cheats ever. This program is meant to hone a laser focus, so no deviation can occur. This focus is meant to not only achieve the physical results that I want but to also develop a mental strength and resilience. If I do this and complete the goal, then I am set up to create another goal and accomplish it. The positivity snowball is possible only when you can set up a goal, complete it, and then repeat the pattern. Doing so makes someone unstoppable as far as personal growth and achievement.
The meal plan on my 3 Week Cut to Lean Program is whole food based. The diet is Pescatarian (since I don't eat meat or poultry, and very limited seafood) and it is also dairy free (whey protein is used since that is lactose free and ghee is used minimally). The plan emphasizes simplicity and quick cooking. There are no complicated and time consuming recipes. Also, there are no "mock" meals that are meant to be a healthy spin on an old favorite (i.e. healthy pizza). This is for a specific mental reason and I will be doing a post of the benefits of not using meals like this. For now, know that it frees the mind from being caught up on a meal being a "pleasure trigger". The meals during this program are meant to be fuel and recovery focused. Again, laser focus for mental growth.
- Macro Split: 40% Protein, 40% Carbs, and 30% Fat
- Protein Sources: Eggs and Egg Whites, Protein Powder, Soy Milk, Tofu, Tempeh, Tuna & Canned Tuna, Fake Meat Products (very limited).
- Carbohydrate Sources: Broccoli, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Peas, Kidney Beans (limited), Lettuce, Lo-Carb or Rye Bread, Whole Grain Rice (limited), Potato (limited), Edamame, Soybeans, Peppers, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Mushrooms, Oats, and Ezekiel 4:9 Bread
- Fat Sources: Egg Yolk, Ghee, Fish Oil, Flaxseeds, Pumpkin Seeds
- Extras: Green Tea, Coffee, Mushroom Coffee, Dried Acai Powder, Maca Powder, Cacao Powder, and Greens Powder.
I eat 3 times a day expect on fasted days where I don't eat until noon. This is really up to the person as long as macros are being met. For me, I need a mental break from food otherwise it's all I think about. Eating only 3 times a day with no snacking or mini meals helps me with this. In between meals I drink tea or other hot beverages. This helps reduce cravings greatly, it also keeps me hydrated. On the topic of hydration, water is key. On this plan, I try to drink as least 100 ounces a day which is around 1.5 oz. per pound of body weight.
Goal, Outcome, Lessons
This post is an informational introduction to this program. I will be posting at the end of the 3 weeks to share if I've met my goal, what was the overall outcome, and also what lessons I learned. It will be a valuable check in point to establish what methods should be implemented in the future. ***Update*** Click here to read the results post!
For more updates during this plan, follow me on Instagram. For any questions about this plan, please feel free to comment or message me.
This is not intended to be instructional but rather a way to share my experience with this method. For more in depth information on developing your fitness and nutrition plan, click here. Also, this post was created pre-t. All images are from training prior to hormone replacement therapy.