WHETHER IT’S A PERIOD OF INCREASING DEFINITION OR LOSING WEIGHT, THE GOAL IS THE SAME: IT’S A PERIOD OF LOSING FAT MASS. THAT IS, FAT.
1. Why Cutting Definition?
The cutting period concerns bodybuilding sports, but also endurance sports such as triathlon.
In bodybuilding, it usually occurs after a period of muscle gain, the goal being to reduce accumulated fat without affecting the muscles built by work during mass gain. This period allows for better muscle definition, each muscle becoming more defined.
For endurance sports, it happens during the precompetitive period. The principle remains the same – to reduce accumulated fat in a non-competition period, to avoid carrying it during competition.
2. What Does Losing Weight Mean?
Any desire to lose weight places the body in a state of catabolism (muscular destruction). Indeed, losing weight requires a negative calorie balance, that is to say, the intake of calories from the diet is lower than the calories burned by the body.
To function properly, the body draws energy where it can, that is to say, it will use carbohydrates (glycogen), lipids (body fat) but also proteins (muscles). The body will always draw on these 3 reserves.
The goal of effective weight loss is therefore to lose fat while minimising muscle loss. Muscle loss being almost inevitable.
3. How to Increase Cutting?
Consume fewer calories to have a negative energy balance, while maintaining physical activity.
During a period of increasing cutting, you should see a loss of 1 to 2kg per month; beyond that, there’s a high risk of regaining weight when the cutting period ends.
A cutting period is always associated with a balanced diet where daily calorie intake is reduced by about 20%. You must not let the calories drop too far, as that would lead to muscular loss.
It’s best not to remove any food family. Indeed, deprived of certain essential elements, the body cannot be 100% effective, resulting in significant fatigue, which will be felt during training sessions.
4. How Long Does a Period of Increasing Cutting Last?
The cutting time depends on your initial goal. As long as your fat level isn’t satisfactory, the cutting period continues. It should preferably last some time to ensure long-term effectiveness. Increasing cutting too rapidly would probably result in a loss of muscle mass. This would not achieve the goal of keeping the maximum amount of muscle by removing the maximum amount of fat.
5. Can You Measure Fat Loss?
2 methods are available
Measuring skin folds: This measurement must always be carried out by the same person using "harpenden®" calipers. This measurement consists of measuring the thickness of the skin folds, by using them on different parts of the body. As a result, you can estimate the percentage of body fat.
Diagnostic scales (less precise): they directly measure the percentage of fat mass by sending an electric current through two electrodes located under the feet.