What is cutting? Why shouldn’t you be cutting?
Cutting had lost its popularity, but it’s slowly coming back, especially among our favorite influencers who are showing off their trim, muscular bodies on the beach this summer…those famous Beach Bodies.
Cutting should not be confused with losing weight.
Losing weight, in my opinion, is a healthy endeavor when done correctly and for the right reasons. I’ll redirect you to the article “How can you lose weight?”
So, what is cutting?
In the sports world, the dietary phase after bulking up is referred to as “cutting“. Once muscle has formed, cutting seeks to reduce body fat via dietary restrictions while avoiding the loss of muscle mass.
In the world of bodybuilding, cutting is extremely common. It’s aimed at serious athletes in the context of bodybuilding competitions.
Problems with cutting begin when you achieve a level of body fat that’s below what’s considered healthy.
As a reminder, average body fat percentages for healthy men and women are considered to be as follows:
- 21% to 24% in women
- 14% to 17% in men
These numbers are different for athletes:
- 14% to 20% for women
- 6% to 13% for men
Below this level, the dangers are significant, as we are now entering the physical limits of the human body.
Note: Each person functions in their own way. These figures are for information purposes only.
Here are 9 reasons to steer clear of cutting
1. Cutting means knowing the pain of hunger
Hunger is the enemy of all unsuccessful diets. Cutting is no exception because it seeks to dramatically reduce one’s nutritional intake via a caloric deficit over a relatively long period of time.
Mentally, it’s extremely difficult and often even painful. The body is fatigued because it’s drawing upon its last reserves: adipose tissue.
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2. Cutting causes an obsession with food
During (or towards the end of) an extreme period of cutting, the risk of developing obsessive eating disorders is extremely high.
People who are cutting or following an extreme diet over the course of several months think only about food. They begin acting strangely, for example by listing the foods they’d like to eat or the restaurants they’d like to visit or by scrolling through pages upon pages of tempting food for long periods of time.
Read also: Dieting is a bad idea
3. Cutting lowers one’s quality of sleep
While the need for sleep should increase while cutting (to compensate for the lack of energy), it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when restricting your nutritional intake to this extent.
After a good meal, have you ever noticed that you tend to feel sleepy? In reality, the brain releases tension since it has received the food it was seeking.
In the case of cutting, the brain is in a constant “state of alert” and is searching for food. This prevents it from relaxing and resting as deeply as usual.
This hypervigilance leads to a lot of waking up at night, especially where one usually doesn’t wake up. It could be the sound of a siren, laughter from a neighbor, a notification light on your phone, etc.
4. Cutting means always being tired
In addition to disrupted sleep, cutting forces the body to adapt to less caloric energy. The body becomes extremely tired and finds it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
Due to the lack of nutritional intake, physical recovery is much more difficult and training is negatively impacted.
Fatigue is increasingly noticeable. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) becomes impossible and, as such, is reduced in order to avoid becoming even more exhausted.
Daily life is trying. Laziness, procrastination and lack of motivation set in.
5. Cutting is incompatible with having a social life
You can forget about your social life, spontaneous outings or eating at restaurants. Cutting is exhausting, and sleep is essential for attempting to recover. Additionally, when a person is cutting, their diet is so strict that they can’t afford to deviate.
Moreover, the lack of motivation and laziness prevents you from having fun with your friends.
6. Cutting won’t improve your sports performance
Building muscle requires significant physical effort as well as a consistent diet. This is why bodybuilders begin by gaining as much muscle mass as possible, in order to have a reserve before they begin cutting, which literally draws from adipose tissue and eventually muscle tissue!
It’s therefore only natural that physical performance would decline. For the ego and the mind, this can be very difficult to deal with.
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7. Cutting increases the risk of injury
While cutting, training is still necessary in order to maintain muscle mass.
Physical recovery is therefore essential. This is summarily achieved through sleep, hydration and nutrition. But if nutritional intake is low and fatigue levels are high, you can bet that you’re opening yourself up to the risk of injury.
8. Cutting also interferes with sexual activity
Between hunger, fatigue and lack of energy, hormone levels are no longer optimal. Sexual desire is lost. Cutting hinders the libido. The expression “no longer able to perform” takes on a whole new meaning. You’d rather save your energy simply for living.
9. Cutting affects your mood
With so many negative impacts on the body, it’s no surprise that impatience, irritability and hypersensitivity come into play for anyone who’s cutting.