In addition to the traditional cut, there is the mini cut. What exactly is that and is it something for you?
WHAT IS A MINI CUT?
A mini cut is a short-term bodybuilding program, 2 to 6 weeks, aimed at fat loss. The concrete goal is that you lose 1-2% of your body weight every week. With a regular cut you aim for 0.5 to 1% of your body weight per week.
With a mini cut you go for maximum fat loss with minimal muscle loss.
WHY A MINI CUT?
The mini cut is an option if you’re bulking and want to lose some of the fat you ‘ve gained from bulking, in addition to muscle mass. That way, after completing your bulk, you will no longer have to cut for a long time (with all the negative side effects that entails, such as metabolic adaptation). Getting a little leaner can also increase your insulin sensitivity, making your bulking more effective later on.
The mini cut is for people who are relatively lean, or maybe skinnyfat. People with a high fat percentage are better off with a regular cut, from 8 to 24 weeks. Still others may use body recomposition.
WHICH CALORIE DEFICIT?
In a mini cut you work more drastic than during a regular cut. This mainly means that you create a greater energy deficit.
In a normal cut you assume an energy deficit of 20-25% of your body weight. At a maintenance level of 2500 kcal per day, you should therefore have a deficit of 500-625 kcal. This way you probably create the most fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. With this deficiency, you lose 0.5 to 1% of your body weight on a weekly basis (mainly fat, if all goes well).
In a mini cut you dare to take a little more risk. You aim for a loss of 1-2% body weight per week. To this end, you use an energy deficit of approximately 30%. For someone with a maintenance of 2500 kcal per day, that is 750 kcal. With a very short mini cut, of two to three weeks, you can cut the calories a little deeper, but don’t turn it into a crash diet.
An advantage of mini cuts is that little metabolic adaptation occurs, because you only have to deal with that if you cut continuously for a longer period of time. This also means that diet fatigue remains within limits.
Your diet looks more or less the same as a traditional cut, namely:
- Proteins: approximately 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (see also the best protein sources);
- Fats: approximately 0.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day;
- What remains are carbohydrates.
What’s the best thing to put on your menu during a mini cut?
- You can reduce your feeling of hunger by eating a lot of foods with a high degree of satiety;
- In your mini cut, choose foods that are both healthy, satiating and relatively low in calories, such as: potatoes, oatmeal porridge, chicken breast, fish, eggs, cooked rice, legumes and most fruits and vegetables.
HOW TO TIME YOUR FEEDING?
The following applies to nutrient timing:
- Divide your protein evenly over four to six intakes per day, ie meals with 20 to 40 grams of high-quality protein, always with three to four hours between meals;
- Schedule your workout between two of those protein-rich meals;
- Eat your carbohydrates as much as possible around training.
HOW TO TRAIN?
The goal of your cut is, in addition to fat loss, to maintain muscle mass. To this end, you continue to train as much as possible as in the bulk, so that your body continues to receive sufficient training stimuli and the available muscle mass deems necessary.
With a short mini cut (2-3 weeks) you basically don’t change anything. With a longer mini cut (4-6 weeks) you change a bit:
- Do a little less volume, about two-thirds of your sets. Due to the lower volume, you can also slightly reduce your training frequency;
- Train to near muscle failure (1-3 RIR), but not to complete muscle failure;
- Maintain absolute intensity (exercise weight). So don’t suddenly start training with low weights and high reps;
- Cardio is not a must. In fact, don’t do it or do it only in moderation. For fat loss, a calorie-restricted diet is the starting point and in principle sufficient to lose weight.
HOW TO RECOVER?
During a cut, of any duration, sufficient rest is extremely important. Make sure you can recover enough from your workouts:
- Never cut in a period of high stress;
- Get enough sleep;
- Take an extra day of rest if you reduce your training volume.
BACK TO BULK
After a maximum of 6 weeks of mini cut you can start bulking again without any problems. Make it a clean bulk with an energy surplus of no more than 10-20%. This way you limit the increase in fat mass and you can later suffice with a short cut, whether or not a mini cut.