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During the cutting phase, athletes aim to reduce body fat while preserving muscle mass. This requires a strategic approach to nutrition to create a calorie deficit while still providing adequate nutrients for energy, recovery, and overall health. Here's a general dietary guideline for the cutting stage:

1. Caloric Deficit:

  • Create a moderate caloric deficit by consuming fewer calories than your maintenance level. A deficit of around 250-500 calories per day is typically effective for gradual fat loss.

2. Protein Intake:

  • Protein is crucial during cutting to preserve muscle mass. Aim for around 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

3. Complex Carbohydrates:

  • Choose nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates like whole grains, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes. These provide sustained energy and support your workouts.

4. Healthy Fats:

  • Include healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish. They help keep you satiated and support overall health.

5. Fiber-Rich Foods:

  • High-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes can help control hunger and keep you feeling full.

6. Hydration:

  • Stay well-hydrated throughout the day. Drinking water can also help control appetite and support metabolism.

7. Portion Control:

  • Pay attention to portion sizes to manage calorie intake. Using a food scale or measuring cups can help accurately track your portions.

8. Timing:

  • Consume a balanced meal with protein and carbs within 1-2 hours before your workout to fuel your training. After your workout, have a protein-rich meal to support recovery.

Sample Meal Plan:


  • Scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomatoes

  • Whole-grain toast

  • Berries


  • Grilled chicken or tofu salad with mixed greens, veggies, and a light vinaigrette

Pre-Workout Snack:

  • Greek yogurt with a small amount of honey

Post-Workout Shake:

  • Whey protein powder

  • Almond milk

  • Frozen berries


  • Baked salmon or tempeh

  • Steamed broccoli and quinoa


  • Carrot sticks with hummus

  • Small handful of almonds

It's important to note that extreme caloric deficits or restrictive diets can negatively impact your energy levels, performance, and metabolism. Consulting with a registered dietitian or sports nutritionist can help you create a cutting plan tailored to your individual needs and goals. Additionally, maintaining a balanced workout routine, including both cardio and strength training, is essential for maximizing fat loss while minimizing muscle loss.


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