Have a tough time burning fat while retaining your muscle mass?
Can’t seem to lose weight?
Have no fear, veganism is here.
We’re going to keep it simple, I’ll show you the necessary training, nutrition, and recovery tips required to go through a proper cut on a vegan diet.
IF or Intermittent Fasting is going to be your secret superpower when going into a cut!
Don’t know what fasting is?
Try skipping out on your first meal of the day! Sounds pretty terrible, doesn’t it?
Intermittent fasting is abstaining from food or drink during certain time intervals, in our case, we’ll calculate it by how much time in a day – 24 hours. This means not eating for 16 hours, followed by eating during the other 8.
Our plan to help you cut is by restricting calories, and nothing is better at doing that than intermittent fasting.
It may take some time getting used the diet change, but intermittent fasting will help you get leaner faster and it’ll provide you with a whole host of benefits as well:
- Increases testosterone
- Increases growth hormone
- Known to increase concentration and motivation
- Increases energy levels
- Burns fat like crazy!
- Improves heart and brain health
- Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lowers risk of cancer
For your intermittent fast, you’re going to skip out on breakfast.
You won’t be eating any calories or food until noon or 1pm.
You heard that right. No snacking, not even a crumb. You’re going to see and feel some crazy changes.
When you first start this routine, you might feel a little sluggish, tired, and irritated. But as you get used to it, you’ll see a spike in focus, energy levels, and even your libido!
When 1pm comes around, it’s time to feast! You’ll notice that everything you see in your fridge looks super tasty! After all, you haven’t eaten since last night at dinner.
Be careful here, it’s important to not eat too much or a bunch of low quality foods. After all, we are trying to restrict your calories.
I suggest eating a very high protein meal like an entire block of tofu, with some potatoes, and greens like kale and/or spinach.
Maybe eat a square of dark chocolate or two right after, it’ll help suppress your hunger until dinner. Remember, no unnecessary snacking! You must stay in a caloric deficit in order to lose body weight/fat!
When dinner time comes around 7pm, it’s important to get another healthy of protein.
Without protein, you’ll lose muscle mass and strength gains during your cut, so keep your protein intake high. This is something I’ll talk about further down in the article.
Try a meal of seitan with some quinoa and some fruit. Something else that will fill you up and won’t leave you going to bed super hungry.
And that’s all there is to it!
Don’t snack before bed and be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
When you wake up, you’re going to repeat it all over again. That means no breakfast again.
The time you last ate was around 8pm last night. The next time you start eating again will be around noon the next day, which is a 16 hour time period.
During these 16 hours, your body is entering a state of serious fat burning.
In order for your body to compensate for the lack of calories and food, it’s going to begin burning that stubborn fat in order to keep your body going and give you energy!
It’s on you and your discipline to stay in this constantly fasted state!
No matter how hard it might be to not eat, or go over your calorie limit, don’t do it.
Stay strong and you’ll see the weight drop within a week or so.
Maintain A Caloric Deficit
The whole point of intermittent fasting is so that you can lessen your total calories for the day, keeping you below your maintenance level.
This is what’s called a caloric deficit.
In order to find the proper caloric deficit for your cut, take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 11 and 13.
For me at 195 pounds this means:
195lbs x 11 = 2,145
195lbs x 13 = 2,535
I have found my caloric deficit goal for the day. I have to eat between 2,145 and 2,535 calories a day so I can properly cut and burn fat.
Go any lower than 2,145 and I risk burning a lot of muscle mass as well.
I suggest starting on the lower end of the caloric spectrum to start with. If you find it super difficult or you start losing to much muscle try the higher end of the spectrum.
If you stick to the caloric deficit you’ll notice you’ll be eating a lot less food than normal.
You really need to track your macronutrients so you know you aren’t going over. I suggest using the MyFitnessPal app for this. Very easy to use and implement all your foods so you can reach your daily goals.
You’ll notice that eating something as small as 4 squares of dark chocolate could put you back 300 calories!
Avoid high calorie dense foods during your cutting phase especially those with low protein.
Foods like peanut butter, nuts, seeds, aren’t the best to eat in a caloric deficit. They are high in calories but also high in protein – so they’re good to munch on here and there.
Keep Your Protein High
We all know that protein is what makes those muscles pop, but how much is needed when cutting weight?
Studies have shown that when bulking you should be consuming between .6 – .75 grams per pound of body weight.
But when trying to cut body fat and retain muscle mass, the higher your protein intake the better.
Try to consume around .75 grams per pound of body weight. Your muscles will benefit from the extra protein in exchange for the lack of calories.
Since you’re going to be intermittent fasting, you’ll only have 2 or 3 meals to really capitalize on getting the correct amount of protein for the day.
This means you have to consume a pretty decent amount of protein at each meal.
For my first meal, I like to eat an entire block of tofu, around 60 grams of protein. My second meal consists of seitan, around 45 grams. And my last meal will usually finish off with a protein shake which gives me 35 grams of protein.
That gives me a total of 140 grams per day, just about the .75 I need for my 195 pound frame.
Stick To Heavy Compound Lifts
While fasting, it’s important to maintain your muscle mass.
We do this by continuing to incorporate heavy compound lifts that focus on strength and full body movements.
This means sticking to exercises like:
- Sumo Deadlift
- Front Squat
- Bench Press
- Seated Military Press
- Weighted Pull Ups
- Barbell Rows
When cutting, it may be difficult to put on muscle mass. A caloric deficit isn’t the ideal way to pack on muscle, so it shouldn’t be your goal. Instead, you should be trying to maintain what you currently have, while burning off the fat.
Heavy compound lifts will help combat the loss of muscle mass by continuing to stress your muscles and keeping the majority of your strength.
Don’t do an entire workout of isolation exercises.
Working your biceps or triceps alone won’t help you get stronger. Bench pressing and deadlifting 90% of your 1RM will.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Why do cardio?
To help burn off those extra calories.
Compound lifts will burn calories many hours after your workout. But cardio will burn calories on the spot!
Combine both of them to get the best result.
Make sure you focus on HIIT or a quick all-out 10 minute session rather than long distance running or biking.
Long distance cardio may put you in a catabolic state and may take away some of your hard earned gains.
HIIT on the other hand is a great and fun way to get your heart pumping.
My favorite HIIT exercises you can try are:
- Bike Sprints
- Battle Ropes
- Sled Sprints
- Stair Stepper Machine
- Mountain Climbers
It’s important to note when completing and HIIT workout like boxing or battle ropes, you’re going at 100%
Give it all you got for 30 seconds!
Then rest for the next 30 seconds. Next, you’re back at it again for another 30 seconds of all-out cardio!
Repeat for 10 minutes straight.
This is why they call it “High Intensity!”
After just even 4 or 5 minutes you’ll be feeling it.
What’s great about HIIT is it can be completed without any equipment and in a very short period of time.
It’s also much more fun than staying stationary on a bike for 30 minutes. So go out there and try some HIIT after your lifts, it’ll help improve your cardiovascular and your gains.
Drink Water and Coffee
In order to suppress the loss of calories and hunger from fasting, I suggest you try drinking more water and coffee.
Straight black coffee in the morning in the morning works great for suppressing hunger and keeping your energy levels high due to the lack of food.
Remember, your coffee must have 0 calories! Don’t add any sugar, cream, or anything else so your body can stay in a fasted state and keep burning fat.
It’s also shown that drinking water can with that hungry stomach of yours.
Ever notice you eat a meal and then you’re still hungry?
But as soon as you drink some water it all goes away.
Drinking some extra water not only is super beneficial to your health but it also increases fullness so you won’t feel hangry all the time!
How much water should you be drinking a day?
Experts recommend 2 liters per day, or around ½ a gallon.
Not only will water have you feeling less hungry but it flushes out toxins, promotes weight loss, increases focus, and boosts your immune system.
So drink up!
Avoid Alcohol and Empty Calories
When I said drink up, I didn’t mean alcohol!
Look, if you want to cut correctly and get that shredded/toned physique, you have to give up alcohol.
If you do go out regularly, keep drinking to a minimum.
Drink something on the lower calorie spectrum. Take a look at the infographic on the left to find something you like.
Regardless, alcohol is filled with a ton of empty calories and will hinder you from achieving the body you like.
This also means avoiding foods like chips, popcorn, and other junk food.
Super easy to snack on, but very costly for your body.
Even if you don’t drink on the weekdays, simply getting drunk on the weekdays could be costly to your goals.
When it comes to the training, consistency is key. You can’t just diet and train on the weekdays, then drink on the weekends followed by eating pizza.
It doesn’t work like that.
Every single day matters. Every little effort you put forward today will make a difference in the future.
So keep your discipline high and avoid negative behaviors like alcohol!
If you’re going through a cut right now, or you’re about to start one, make sure you follow these tips!
Cutting is much more difficult that bulking in my opinion.
Don’t worry too much if you actually lose a little amount of muscle mass during your cut.
This is completely normal and often happens to me.
When you start losing the majority of your build and muscle, it starts to become a problem.
If you find that you’re losing too much muscle it could be one of a few reasons:
- You’re not lifting heavy
- Your protein intake is too low (aim for around .75g per lb of body weight)
- Your caloric deficit is way too large (shoot for 12 times your body weight in calories)
- You’re not being consistent enough