As it is cutting season once again, we are going to look hard into the LDNM Cutting Guide V3 as the perfect source to help you get that ever important “summer shred”. The LDNM team have done an incredible job at providing you with what you need to really target your goals for the summer or weeks leading up to when you feel you want to be in your most aesthetic shape of the year. For most, this will be the summer holidays, others, it could be competing, having a photo shoot or an event in which you feel a transformation will really impress your peers, and yourself- all importantly.
But, one thing we haven’t dealt with yet, is the mental struggles that you may have to overcome while in a calorific deficit. This will be the case for a lot of you that are new to cutting or improving your body composition. You may have to transition to a diet where you could be on maintenance calories or higher to perhaps bulk and now, because of the restriction of calories, the challenge becomes both physical and mental for some. We can eat lots of great food hitting our bulking macros…but, the harsh reality is when you cut, you will get hungry, you will want to “cheat” and give in to cravings more. You will lack energy at times. It’s natural. So, here are a few tips on helping you get over those hunger pangs when you’re a good few weeks into your diet and feel more than strongly about the good old days of bulking…
I’m a big believe in flexible dieting. It helps me eat the foods I like as well as getting in the quality food sources I need to maintain the lean mass I want to within my higher protein, lower carb diets. If all of a sudden, you had to cut out your favourite foods, eating nothing but “clean” chicken, rice and vegetables, it’s going to hurt you mentally and leave you most likely to binge on your favourite foods when it all gets too much. You’ll have a daily or weekly macro target to reach, try to be a little clever & creative with this and feature some of your favourite foods into those macros. I have a day a week where higher carbs and fats are on the agenda, and for this, I love nothing more than factoring in a Subway on those days. As long as this meal fits within my protein, carbs and fat targets, it really helps me with “binging”. (try working with MyFitnessPal for this approach, see LDNM article)
“Be strict, NOT restrictive”
Increase your protein and fibre
Simple as it sounds, and to stray away from the trendier topics of what’s better for you – a higher fat or higher carb diet – nothing will make you feel fuller and improve satiety like good, lean protein, with added fibre. Eating quality cuts of beef (or red meat in general), chicken (or white meat in general) and fish help stop hunger in its tracks (I think, this is the Shreddies slogan?!!?). I’ll also add fibre supplements to my night time protein source (such as the LDNM Night time dessert) which helps with my satiety and actually will help with the battle against our summer nemesis: body fat… mix the two and you have slower digestion too, which again, will make you feel fuller for longer. As well as the higher protein content will help you keep the muscle mass you’ve been working so hard over winter to grow.
I loathe calling any “bad” or “unhealthy” food a “cheat meal”. It has negative connotations and I don’t think sits well with structuring your goals and motivating you towards them. Rewarding yourself, however, or utilising “reward meals”, is a better term of phrase. As stated above, I often try to structure the foods I really enjoy into my higher calorie days. Without going into too much detail, these meals can actually help with fat loss. As you diet, and restrict your carbs etc, you will naturally lower your leptin levels as you do this (leptin is a hormone needed to help with fat loss). Having or structuring a higher carb day into a weekly calorie target, will actually help improve or raise your leptin levels, resetting the clock as it were. Don’t “cheat”, “reward” and you’re onto a winner ;o)
As obvious as it sounds, exercise will help with fight against fat. A trick I use (scientifically untested as far as I’m aware, but helps me mentally) is to complete the majority of my workouts in the morning. That way, it helps me structure my day better, not worry about having to fit my workout in somewhere else during the day and gives me enough motivation to stick to my diet & macro/micro targets. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but getting up that early and working that hard in the morning before the rest of the world is up, I find very motivating as I feel I’m ahead of the game and I better use this to my advantage and make it count. I know this may not work for all of you, but it really helps me.
Motivation and Accountability
Be accountable for your goals. Don’t rely on a PT, dietician or anyone else to get you to where you want to be, it’s “YOU vs. YOU”. If being shredded were easy, everyone would do it! I’m not saying share your goals with the world, in fact the opposite (studies have actually shown, that sharing your goals publically, can have a negative impact on actually reaching them – as sharing your goals releases a feel good hormone that make you feel similar to how you would IF you reached them, thus actually making you less likely to achieve the end target. Have a look at this TED talk for more info: http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_keep_your_goals_to_yourself ), set your goals, perhaps share them with a select few, monitor them closely with little targets/goals/stepping stones on the way (“what’s measured, gets managed”). Focus on them! We at LDNM are here to help, motivate and advise, but you are the one that has to get off your backside and do it!
If you feel that your willpower with things such as diet are your weakest point, the best way to improve or use limited reserves of will power is to use GUIDING STRUCTURE mechanisms. Try to change the environment you are in, instead of your behaviour in one go, and gradually work on the two in unison.
e.g., “be strict, not restrictive” and get those foods that don’t fit into your diet out of the fridge/freezer – out of sight, out of mind and all that!
For those struggling to keep their sweet cravings under control, we have the answer – the LDNM Protein Treat Pack, click here.