Summer shredding: Three-month cut

Week 1


Shelby Foster and Rilee Stapleton

Thinking about the most important things when on a clean cutting diet. I will be executing a healthy, three-month cut losing fat while retaining as much muscle as possible. It’s important in the cutting cycle not to crash diet (cut too many calories) and sacrifice all of the hard-earned muscle from the gym.

It’s important not to wait until the end of May to start grinding for the summer physique everyone’s looking for. In order to lose fat healthily and correctly, you need to give your body time. A proper cut is anywhere between three to six months, and now that winter is coming to an end, it’s the best time to start.

My bulking phase is now over, and the fat loss phase is on. I’ll be on a three-month cutting phase being in a caloric deficit, cardio every morning, and minimal sugar. Although a cutting phase can be difficult, I’m ready because this isn’t my first rodeo losing weight.

Week 1

Weight: 203.5 lbs – 202.0 lbs

This first week was actually difficult, which is very strange and uncharacteristic of me. For the past three weeks, I’ve been spending all day rehearsing for the musical at school so I’ve had no time to go to the gym. Not going to the gym combined with stress eating and indulging led to a sharp spike in weight gain.

The hardest part of a cut is talking yourself out of cheating and holding yourself accountable…

— Staff Writer Ryan Allen

Seeing these poor results in the mirror demotivated me, leading to eating sweets for pleasure. On the second day of impulsive eating, I had a PTSD moment and it scared me back to eating healthy, and sugar is now a huge turnoff. When I taste anything sweet, I feel sick and remember what it was like being overweight.

After the first few days of the cut, my eating routine and training regimen got back to normal and I’m feeling normal again. The hardest part of a cut is talking yourself out of cheating and holding yourself accountable, so mindset is everything. I lost a pound and a half which is a lot for a week but two-thirds of it was water weight. A healthy amount of weight to lose in a week is .5 pounds, that way you don’t lose muscle mass.

The first couple of days were filled with chocolate, M&M’s, Butterfingers, caramel, and Skittles until I nearly threw up and just wanted a salad. After the first couple of days of getting it out of my system, I started my clean lifestyle.

Every couple of days, I change the source of protein from chicken to other lean meats and use protein shakes if necessary. I’ll typically use broccoli and asparagus as my cruciferous (greens) vegetables for fiber and iceberg lettuce to fill up my stomach (mostly water).

A 200-calorie deficit is perfect — there’s minimal muscle loss.

— Staff Writer Ryan Allen

For my fats, I use dressing on salads, peanut butter, peanuts, and avocados. I eat around 2,100 calories a day, which is 200 calories under my maintenance calorie level. A 200-calorie deficit is perfect — there’s minimal muscle loss.

I also practice intermittent fasting where you only eat in an eight-hour window and fast for 16 hours. When intermittent fasting, your body will go into a slight starvation mode and begin to use fat as energy. I’ve also noticed I focus better on an emptier stomach, so I don’t mind skipping breakfast on school days.

On top of fasting, I wake up earlier (which means going to bed earlier) and do my cardio and core on an empty stomach. I do 30 minutes of an 11% incline at 3.5 mph and it comes out to 300 calories burned. Doing intense cardio while fasting is incredible for fat loss.

This first week was a bit of a struggle, but I’m getting back into the swing of things for the most part.