6 weeks done. I love the end of a particular phase. When I finish a cut, I'm ready to bulk. When I finish a bulk, I'm ready to cut. It's always the same.
I feel like this mini cut was really successful, even if it was done in a strange, apocalypse style scenario. I got down to the weight I wanted to, and I also feel like I've left myself in a really great place to push on with my next bulk. Not just from a body fat point, but also from a digestive and mental stand point as well.
Before I get on to a round up of everything I've done over the last 6 weeks, I want to start off by saying that everything in this sport is about consistency. It's not about buying magic pills, or doing a funky exercise. Just eating the correct amount, going hard in the gym, and focusing on recovery is enough for most people. Yes, things like supplements, meal timings, etc. can give you a 1% advantage but, if you aren't doing the basics, there's really no point in bothering with the finer details.
Training throughout my mini cut was a 5 day split of push / pull / legs / upper (excluding back) / legs & back. Dropping down to 5 training days a week was a decision that I made a few months back. The intensity to which I train at now means I can't train 6 days, and I also don't need to. This doesn't mean I think 6 days is wrong, it's just not right for me anymore.
I did also transition back into the studio to workout last week. I know I said I was going to wait until I finished this training block but, quite honestly, I couldn't wait any longer. It feels so good to be back. However, I have been being sensible. I've kept as many of the same exercises in my studio workouts as were in my home workouts. I've even still been using bands for some exercises. Once the bulk starts, it will be a brand new plan, so know need for the bands (thank god!).
Here's my pull session from the other day. I'm also going to type next to each exercise what I was doing at home, so you can see how I made the appropriate switch when going back to the studio:
- Straight Arm Cable Rope Pulldown
At home I was doing banded straight arm pulldowns
- Bent Over Barbell Row
I was lucky enough to have my olympic bar with me at home during lockdown, so nothing changed here.
- Prone Single Arm Cable Lat Pulldown
2x10 each side
I was doing this movement at home but with a band.
- Cable EZ Bar Curls with D Handles 2x15
I wasn't really able to replicate this move too well at home. I was having to do dumbbell curls, but these aren't great for my wrists. The movements are very similar, it's just the D handles allow for a more optimal wrist movement.
- Single Arm Cable Hammer Curls
2x10 each side
Again, at home, I was using a band for hammer curls.
Steps during my mini cut went from 7-10K per day, to 10-12K per day. This happened around week 3, when I found my weight starting to stall.
Hitting a daily step count was the only form of "cardio" that I did. As mentioned previously, I steer clear of standard cardio (i.e. treadmill, stairmaster, etc) when doing a mini cut. I'd rather save that for an actual cut.
When I started my mini cut 6 weeks ago, I started out on:
After around 3 weeks, my weight started to stall and I upped my steps, but this wasn't enough. So I dropped my macros down to:
Because I was mini cutting during lockdown, being picky about food wasn't really an option, so I didn't once put together any meal plans. I just remained sensible, made sure I was getting in plenty of fruit, veg and whole grains, alongside a couple of treats. But not once did I go over my calories for the day.
I filmed and uploaded a Full Day Of Eating for the members site the other day. Click here to give that a watch. Here's another example day from over the past week:
Breakfast (2.5 hours pre-workout)
1x Packet Quaker Golden Syrup Oats
160ml Semi Skimmed Milk
30g Lemon Cheesecake Whey (mixed in to a paste)
1x Shot Espresso with 150ml Semi Skimmed Milk
30 Minutes Post Workout
Chocolate Brownie Protein Flapjack (store bought)
Lunch (2 hours post workout)
50g (dry weight) Couscous
10x Sprays Low Calorie Butter Spray
2x Quorn Mini Breaded Fillets
2x Homemade Mini Chocolate Protein Brownies (recipe on my Instagram)
1x Scoop Blueberry Muffin Whey with water
50g (dry weight) White Pasta
50g Frozen Peas
50g Quorn Chicken Chunks
30g Grated Cheddar Cheese
1.5 hours Before Bed
100g Skyr Yoghurt
Recovery & Data
I've found myself repeating my recovery work over the last few updates, so I'm not going to go into the specifics of my recovery routine again, so if you want to read more about that, head here. However, I am going to list a ton of data that I collected throughout my mini cut. So you can see exactly what I track and how it helps me.
Scale weight: This is an obvious one, but it's also very important during a cut and a gaining phase. The only people I don't advise to use a scale are people who have had past eating disorders, and also people who find that their mood is heavily dictated by their morning weight. Other than that, it's a valuable tool.
Sleep: Not just something we should track, but something we should strive to improve on all the time. I've done plenty of Instagram posts on sleep before, so I won't go over all the science on sleep now, but making sure your sleep hygiene and quality is as perfect as possible is incredibly important. Up until I bought myself an Oura ring, I was tracking my sleep on the app SleepCycle. Here's a couple of shots from my Oura ring app, so you can see what the tracking function looks like.
Blood Pressure: This is something I take every other morning. My blood pressure is naturally very low, but as long as I don't have any side effects (i.e. dizziness, nausea, etc.) it's not really an issue, or anything to worry about.
Daily Step Count: Again, up until I got my Oura ring I was using my phone to track these, which isn't the easiest thing to do. Being able to track my steps more accurately with my ring is a dream.
Resting Heart Rate & Heart Rate Variability: These are two things I've also been able to start taking due to my Oura ring. RHR is the number of times your heart beats per minute when at rest. HRV is the time interval between each heart beat. Both of these measurements help to show you how you're doing in terms of recovery. Your HRV is also a good indicator of your overall fitness levels.
Scale Weight & Body Composition
Here it is, my final weight and photos. Initial weight was 63.5kg, this morning I weighed in at 59.4kg. This is exactly where I wanted to be. Go back to my original blog post and you'll see I said I wanted to be around 58-59kg. 0.4kg off, can't really moan about that. I'm feeling like I'm in a great place to crack on with my bulk.
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For the next week of deloading I'll be eating at 2,100 calories. After my deload I'll go straight back into a surplus as I enter my bulk. I'm hoping to make this season of bulking last for the rest of the year. I'll then probably end up doing another mini cut at the beginning of 2021.
I'll do 3 full body sessions for my deload over the next week, with an even bigger focus on recovery than usual (extra sleep, foam rolling, etc.). I have a bit of a tradition of having an ice bath the night before entering a new phase, so that will be something I'll find myself doing next week (that's more of a personal ritual than anything else).
I will no doubt go into my new training block in more depth at some point over on the members site, so if you aren't already, make sure you're signed up to watch that here.
That's everything from me. If you've enjoyed these blog posts let me know by clicking the heart button. I'll speak to you all in the next one✌🏻