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As the title suggests, I was wondering how one should go about constructing a proper cutting diet and workout plan? I will be finishing with a bulking routine at the end of August, and I would like to start soon thereafter--dropping 1 lb of fat per week and saving as much muscle mass as possible. How does one go about doing this?

My stats:

Sex: Male Age: 29 Height: 6 feet Weight: 185 lbs (by the end of August) bf %: 18 percent (flucuates)

I'd like to drop to around 12 percent body fat if possible.

Thanks!

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I bumped into Bernie Cooper once at a bar in Edinburgh and got a chance to pick his brain a bit. He said when he cuts, he keeps his diet exactly the same as during a bulk, but adds in some HIIT three times a week. –  Doc Jul 18 '13 at 17:16
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One easy way to do it without having to count calories is to standardize your diet. By that I mean eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, dinner every day. It makes it easy to figure out how to tweak your diet to continue to lose weight.

Another option is to get a calorie tracking app for your smartphone and track everything that way. It's a little more work, but it makes it easier to eat a diverse diet.

You can also take appetite suppressants like coffee. There are herbal and OTC drugs you can take that are reasonably safe, but I'm not going to suggest any. However, I will note that if the product you're looking at has a name like "Fat Burn Extreme XXX" it's probably much more expensive than it needs to be.

Another trick I've found it to split your meals (maybe eat 2 smaller lunches at work instead of one big one). And if you can arrange it, eat one of your meals right before you lift so you don't get too lightheaded when going heavy.

One thing to keep in mind is that unless you're using anabolic agents, losing weight too fast can ruin your size and strength. This is one of the reasons people argue that the bulk/cut cycle isn't the most effective for the natural athlete. So I would say that 1-2lbs a week is the most you'd want to lose if you care about your strength levels after your cut. However you will likely lose a lot of water weight fast if you switch to a low carb diet so don't freak out about that.

As for exercise: you might find that you can't handle the volume you're used to doing on a bulking routine. One way around this is to take pre-workout supplements and/or save some calories to drink a bit of Gatorade (or other sugary beverage) while you lift. And of course you should supplement creatine, this will add unnecessary bloat, but that's just water weight. If, at the end of your cut, you want to look more dry you can just cut out the creatine.

Many people like to add some additional steady-state cardio a couple times a week just to speed up the process. I know that steady-state isn't necessarily the best choice if you want to lose fat, but it allows you to burn a few extra calories without adding significantly to your workload, so you'll not be friend in the gym all the time.

And lastly, drink lots of water. If you keep your stomach full, even if it's just water, I find it "takes the edge off." Or of you like chewing gum, that's also a wonderful way to ignore the hunger pangs.

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Thanks. I was looking for something more specific, but this is all good advice. –  studentOfManyThings Jul 27 '13 at 18:36
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