Whether you are cutting or losing weight, the objective is the same i.e. it is a period for burning off body fat, i.e. fatBut how can you lose body fat without losing muscle?

1/ WHY CUT

Cutting is a technique used in bodybuilding sports, but also endurance sports such as triathlon.

In bodybuilding, it is generally done after building up muscle mass in order to reduce the amount of fat accumulated without affecting the muscles gained during the muscle building period. This period helps to define the muscles so that each muscle is more clearly visible.

For endurance sports, this is done during the pre-race period. the principle remains the same, i.e. reducing the level of fat accumulated during the non-race period to avoid carrying it during the competition.

 

2/ WHAT DOES WEIGHT LOSS MEAN?

Whenever you want to lose weight, the body goes into a state of catabolism (muscular breakdown). indeed, to lose weight, you need a negative calorie intake, i.e. the calorie intake through food is less than the calories expended by the body.

In order to work properly, the body draws from the energy reserves that it has, i.e. it will use up the carbohydrates (glycogen) and the lipids (body fat) as well as the proteins (muscles). The body will always draw on these 3 reserves.

The objective of losing weight effectively is therefore to lose body fat without losing muscle. However, it is almost inevitable that some muscle mass will be lost.

 

3/ HOW TO CUT

Consuming fewer calories in order to create a negative energy balance while continuing physical activity.

During a cutting period, you should expect to lose 1 to 2 kg per month. More than that and you risk regaining the weight when you stop cutting.

A cutting period must always be combined with a balanced diet, the daily calorie intake of which is reduced by about 20%. Do not reduce the calorie intake too much as this will lead to muscle breakdown.

It is advisable not to eliminate any type of food. Indeed, when deprived of certain essential elements, the body cannot be fully efficient, which leads to excessive fatigue with a corresponding effect on your training sessions.

 

4/ HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD A CUTTING PERIOD LAST

The cutting period depends on the objective. As long as the target level of body fat has not been met, the period continues. It is preferable to prolong the period in order to ensure its long-term effectiveness. A cutting period that is done too quickly will probably lead to a drop in muscle mass. As a result, you will fail to reach your objective of maintaining your muscle mass while burning off a maximum amount of fat.

 

5/ CAN YOU MEASURE THE AMOUNT OF BODY FAT LOST?  

You can choose from the following 2 methods:

- measuring skin folds: this measurement must always be done by the same person using "Harpenden®" calipers. This measurement involves measuring the thickness of the skin folds by pinching the skin on different parts of the body. This can be used to estimate a percentage of body fat.

- body composition scales (less accurate): it directly measures the percentage of body fat by transmitting an electric current using 2 electrodes under the soles of the feet.

 

marie-fauchille

Marie Fauchille

Diététicienne-Nutritionniste, passionnée de raid multisport et d'aviron

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