Elite bodybuilding competitors cut back on fat and carbohydrates while increasing protein intake in the cutting cycle. Carbohydrates are carefully timed to fuel exercise regimens.
Studies show 0.5 to 1 percent of body fat loss per week is safest to keep muscle while losing fat.
If you cut too fast or sharply by restricting your diet too much, you’ll end up losing muscle. You’ll also have a slower recovery, hurting your competitive success.
Cutting too fast can also stress the body, something you don’t want to do. It can affect many bodily functions that can influence your long-term health, such as:
Cutting typically happens anywhere from several months to 1 month before a competition. Bodybuilding is well known for cutting cycles. Others include combat sports like karate, taekwondo, jiu jitsu, boxing, and wrestling to name a few.