Getting shredded without losing muscle mass is a big worry for most guys, and its a valid concern. Who wants to lose their hard earned bulk for the sake of a little more definition?

I've seen many guys, mostly noobs spend the whole winter bulking, then summer approaches and they go into panic mode trying to lose a much fat as possible.

By the time summer has a arrived most of their hard earned gains are gone. They've lost so much they can't even fill a small size T-shirt!

Its a common problem and its all because they're approach to cutting is outdated and ineffective. 

This also goes with their dumb approach to bulking that has made so fat that they're desperate to lose as much weight in the shortest time possible.

It goes something like this....

  • doing excessive amounts of cardio exercises 
  • making huge drop in calorie consumption 
  • switching from a eating a 'clean' diet following months on a 'dirty' (junk food) bulking diet
  • switching from lifting heavy weights with low repetitions to lighter weights with higher repetitions

Now don't get me wrong, you can lose plenty of weight with this approach and lose it pretty fast as well. 

But here's what you've got to remember..

There's more to weight than fat - it also involves muscle!

And I'll bet you 5 bucks (sorry, I'm a cheap) you'll lose plenty of fat and good quality lean muscle as well, if you use this method.

The is thing, losing weight is actually a very simple thing to do. The question however, is how do you cut the fat and not the muscle? 

Fortunately, its achievable, but it's not easy. To do this successfully you need to be meticulous and methodical in your approach.

And here's how you do it...........

Sure Fire Way To Melt Stubborn Body Fat while Preserving Hard Earned Muscle

The goal is to achieve maximum fat loss, as quickly as possible, while maintaining your hard-earned muscle. 

To do this, you focus on these 3 vital steps;

  1. Your calorie deficit
  2. Training 
  3. Diet 

Creating a calorie deficit is your number 1 requirement for losing fat. It simply means  burning off more calories than you eat or eating fewer calories than you burn. 

In a calorie deficit the body goes into a state of negative energy. Meaning there isn't sufficient fuel to perform the bodies vital processes of breathing, digestion, moving etc. 

In order to carry out these tasks the body needs energy from somewhere and the place it gets it from is your stored fat reserves.

So, how do I workout my calorie deficit?

Before you can calculate your calorie deficit you need to know your calorie maintenance level. 

Why? Because to lose fat your calorie deficit has to fall below your calorie maintenance level. 

Whether bulking or cutting you need to know the number of calories you need to eat each day to maintain your current and that starts by calculating your calorie maintenance level.

It Starts with your Calorie Maintenance Level

The calorie maintenance level is the point at which your body has reached a state of equilibrium. The body is neither gaining or losing weight.

This happens when you burn off the same amount of calories that you consume. There's no deficit or surplus. 

Calorie maintenance level - is when the number of calories coming in are equal to the number of calories going out.

Therefore, the number of calories ​you need to create this balance is your calorie maintenance level.

Calculating your Calorie Maintenance Level

We're all biologically unique. Our calorie requirements are different and we burn off calories faster or slower than others. This also means our calorie maintenance levels are going to be different. 

In fact, your calorie maintenance level is going to be influenced by a number of factors as follows:

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Activity level 
  • Metabolic rate 
  • Thermo Effect of food (TEF)
  • NEAT (Non exerecise activity thermogenisis) level

OK, now we need to take these details and get an accurate estimation of what your personal calorie maintenance deficit is.

There are several methods of doing this but the best are these three:

Method 1

Your Current Body Weight x 14/17 = The Total # of Calories Burned Per Day

Measure your current weight in pounds and multiply it by 14 and 17. We do this to create a calorie range to work within.

Lets take an example.

Your current weight is 170 Ibs:

170Ibs x 14/17 = 2380/2890 calories 

Between 2380 and 2890 is your maintenance level and to get your sweet spot will probably take a little experimenting.

If you're a women, older, are less active or you know you've have a slow metabolism then aim for the lower end of the range.

If you're male, younger, more active and have a faster metabolism, then aim for the higher end of the range 

Method 2

Mifflin - St Jeor Formula

American Dietetic Association tested various equations to measure daily calorie requirements and found the Mifflin - St Jeor Formula to be the most accurate.

Its considered to be more accurate because the formula takes into consideration more of the factors listed above. 

The equation is quite complex, so rather than ​you trying to work out the maths I have included a link to a calculator that conveniently works out your daily calorie requirements for you.  

Daily Calorie Calculator 

Method 3

Self Experimentation

The two methods above are quick and easy and give you a reasonably accurate estimate, but they're just that - estimates.

The only real way to get an accurate reading for your body and lifestyle is to be your own guinea pig and experiment on yourself.

Its not hard, it just takes a little patience and discipline. Here are the steps you can take:

  • Consume the exact amount of calories each day for 3 to 4 weeks and monitor your weight.
  • If your weight remains the same you now know your exact calorie maintenance level
  • If your weight increases lower your calorie intake and monitor for a few extra weeks. If your weight drops, add more calories and monitor your weight.

Whether you follow method 1, 2 or 3 you'll have a good idea of your own calorie maintenance level which puts you ahead of most people starting a cutting cycle.

Calorie Deficit 

Now that you've worked out the number of calories required to maintain your weight the next step is to determine the number of calories you need to eat to lose weight.

A calorie deficit is when you eat fewer calories than your body burns.

This is where the calorie deficit comes in.

Maintaining a consistent calorie deficit is the corner stone of any cutting cycle. You can't lose weight without it.

Avoiding Starvation Mode 

One of the things you’ll want to avoid is starvation mode a defense mechanism the body triggers when your calorie restriction is too high.

In starvation mode the body becomes super efficient at utilizing the calories it gets from the food. Fat stores are used up very quickly, the body becomes catabolic and starts to burn off lean muscle to keep itself functioning.

But that's not all, as there's a double negative effect. It leads to muscle loss, which has a knock on effect of slowing your metabolism and you’re ability to burn off calories and lose weight.

Most guys fall into this trap because they lose too much weight too soon. Instead of calculating a sensible deficit they pluck one that is completely random. Its far safer to work off percentages.

The Ideal Caloric Deficit Percentage

There's plenty of debate about which is the best percentage to work off but most experts consider a calorie deficit range between 20 to 30 percent is the best.

The reason why 20% is ideal is because it will enable you to maximize the rate of fat loss while minimizing the rate of muscle loss.

Daily calorie maintenance level x 0.20/0.30 = Ideal caloric deficit percentage

Here's an an example:

Lets assume your daily calorie maintenance level is 2500 calories. Using the calculation above (2500 x 0.20 = 500 calories) you get a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. So, the total calories you need to eat to lose weight is (2500 - 500) 2000 calories per day.

This percentage will allow you to lose weight at the ideal rate which is for most people between 0.5 to 2 Ibs per week. 

Where you fall within the range depends on the amount of body fat you need to lose. For example, if you're body fat ratio is high then expect to lose at the higher range of up to 2Ibs per week.

Alternatively, the less fat you are the less you will lose.

What Gets Measured Gets Managed 

At this point you'll have worked out the following: 

  • Daily calorie maintenance level
  • Daily caloric deficit 
  • Number of calories to eat per day
  • Optimal rate of weight loss

Now, before putting this into practice you need to plan ahead to make sure what you're doing will actually deliver results. 

Believe me, these things rarely go to plan. As you go through the process you're likely to experience at least one of the following outcomes:

Believe me, these things rarely go to plan, so you need to have  a process that ​enables you to re-adjust to keep you on track.

To do this successfully you need to approach this process with the mindset of a scientist, meaning you track and measure everything.

​When you begin the diet the most important step is to weight yourself everyday. Do this after you wake up when your stomach is  empty. Make sure you write down the date and weight everyday.

The 3 Benchmarks to Guarantee Optimal Weight Loss

As you monitor your weight ​there are 3 benchmarks  you need to monitor as follows:

1

Your Losing Weight at the Optimal Rate?

If you are, then the daily intake of calories is correct. All you need to do is to stick to the plan and keep eating the exact amount of calories each day. 

2

You are maintaining your current weight or gaining weight?

This means the caloric deficit is either too low or there isn’t one at all, therefore you need to increase it. Simply lower the deficit by 200 to 250 calories and over the following 2 to 3 weeks monitor how this affects your weight.

3

You are maintaining your current weight or gaining weight?

This could mean your caloric deficit is too large and needs to be lowered. Simply add another 200 to 250 calories to the deficit. For example, if your current deficit is 500 you need to increase to 750 calories. Again, keep monitoring for a few weeks and then adjust if necessary.

As I'm sure you now understanding keeping track of your weight is key to successfully cutting fat and maintain muscle.

Just ensure that you weight yourself each morning on an empty and write the results down and adjust where necessary and you won't go too far wrong.

Just ensure that you weight yourself each morning on an empty and write the results down and adjust where necessary and you won't go too far wrong.