Transitioning from a Bulk to a Cut - Part 1

Written by: Ian McCarthy and Jared Bichler

 

On the basis of our experience as coaches, we recommend you begin a cut by reducing your carbohydrate intake and fat intake by 20% each. We prefer the use of this percentage change, rather than an absolute change, as it better accounts for differences in bodyweight and macronutrient approaches.

Let’s use two examples to demonstrate how this recommendation works in practice.

 

Subject 1 weighs 200 pounds and is in a 200-calorie daily surplus as a result of eating 200g of protein, 500g of carbs, and 100g of fat per day. Instituting a 20% decrease in both carbohydrate intake and fat intake will result in a new daily intake of 400g of carbs and 80g of fat, yielding a 580-calorie decrease in daily energy intake. This decrease in energy intake is appropriate given subject 1’s bodyweight. In addition, ~69% of this decrease in energy intake is the result of a decrease in carbohydrate intake, while the remaining ~31% decrease in energy intake is the result of a decrease in fat intake. These changes are appropriate, as they maintain the subject’s high-carb, moderate-fat approach.

 

Subject 2 weighs 120 pounds, and is in a 120-calorie daily surplus as a result of eating 120g of protein, 200g of carbs, and 80g of fat per day. Instituting a 20% decrease in both carbohydrate intake and fat intake will result in a new daily intake of 160g of carbs and 64g of fat, yielding a 304-calorie decrease in daily energy intake. This smaller decrease in energy intake, relative to the decrease in energy intake in subject 1’s case, is appropriate, given subject 2’s lower bodyweight, as those who weigh less should seek to lose weight more slowly, all else being equal (if you’re curious as to why this is the case, stay tuned for future posts on this topic). In addition, ~53% of this decrease in energy intake is the result of a decrease in carbohydrate intake, while the remaining ~47% decrease is the result of a decrease in fat intake. These changes are appropriate, as they maintain the subject’s moderate-carb, high-fat approach.

 

It’s extremely important to keep in mind the fact this recommendation is based on the assumption your macronutrient intake is suitable when bulking. If one or more of your macronutrient targets is too high or too low initially, that will likely remain the case after you institute these changes. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your current macronutrient intake is best for you, stay tuned for future content which will address that topic directly.

Finally, be aware this recommendation, as with most general recommendations, isn’t going to be optimal for everyone, and may be very far from optimal in some cases. Ultimately, you should endeavor to find a nutritional approach which works best for you.