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Blog Nutrition Diets Bodybuilding 12 Week Cutting Diet Plan: Losing Fat While Maintaining Your Muscles

Bodybuilding 12 Week Cutting Diet Plan: Losing Fat While Maintaining Your Muscles

bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan

A bodybuilder goes through two main periods in their bodybuilding cycle. During one of the periods, the bodybuilder tries to add as much muscle as they possibly can, while in the other period, they try to get as lean as they can. Getting lean means losing fat mass while keeping muscle mass. The first period where they try to add as much muscle mass as they can is usually referred to as the bulking phase and the period where they try to get lean is referred to as the cutting cycle or phase (3). In this article we shall look at the cutting phase to provide you with a bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan.

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What You Need To Know About The Cutting Diet Plan

A cutting diet plan is a meal plan that bodybuilders and other pro-athletes use when they want to lose fat mass while keeping their muscle mass (2). This meal plan helps you achieve weight loss while doing all it can to help you preserve your muscle mass. Unlike other fat loss diets, the main difference between the cutting diet plan and the rest of them is that this diet tends to encourage higher amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and is accompanied by a lot of weight lifting. 

Why Do You Need High Portions Of Carbohydrates In The Cutting Diet Plan?

Most diets usually emphasize cutting the carbs, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Even though that would help lose those extra pounds of fat, those diets won’t have you working out as hard as this plan will. To lose weight, not only do you need to stick to the cutting diet meal plan, but you also need to work out and in this case we are not referring to the weight lifting that is involved but the cardio exercises you need to do. Cardio exercises are very effective when it comes to burning off those extra pounds. To be effective in the gym, you need to have energy which comes from carbohydrates (3).

You shouldn’t need to worry about gaining weight from those carbohydrates if you truly follow the portions that are listed in the later parts of this article. Apart from the portion sizes, cardio exercises combined together with weight lifting exercises will have you burning all the carbs you eat and even more. It is also important to eat enough carbohydrates as it helps you not to lose muscle mass which is the main aim of the cutting phase.

Read More: Cutting Diet Plan: Lose Body Fat And Maximize Your Lean Mass In No Time

bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan
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Why Do You Need Proteins In High Portions During The Cutting Stage?

Proteins are required in high portions because they help prevent muscle mass loss and help you build muscles. Since you will be doing a lot of weight lifting, proteins also help with the recovery after a workout session. Proteins will  keep you fuller for a longer period and this will help reduce your daily calorie intake, which should lead to your fat loss journey. In addition to all that, proteins also have a higher thermic effect. It means they need a higher amount of energy (calories) to be broken down. This is something you want during your cutting phase (4).

Why Is Weight Lifting Important During The Cutting Phrase?

Weight lifting is important because it will help you build more muscles and maintain the ones you already have (2). Building muscles will also help in your fat/ weight loss journey. This comes from the fact that muscles burn more calories at rest than fat mass, which helps you burn more calories.

Although fats were not mentioned, it does not mean you don’t need them during your cutting phase. You need them just as much as any other diet plans because you need to consume a healthy and balanced diet  to prevent malnutrition. Apart from that, fats are also responsible for producing powerful muscle hormones like testosterone and also help in absorbing vitamins and nutrients (3, 2).

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12-Week Fat Burning Diet Plan 

The bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan consists of 3 types of eating days; high carb days, moderate carb days and low carb days. The high carb day is usually one day a week, the moderate carb days are usually 3 days a week and the low carb days are usually the remaining 3 days of the week (1). With this diet, you are reducing your calorie intake every week till the last week. With that said, here is how you can structure your 12 week fat burning diet plan; the section is into two sections on the basis of gender.

Bodybuilding 12 Week Cutting Diet Plan For Men

Week 1 (1)

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 2 

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 3

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2100 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 4

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2000 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories
bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan
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Week 5

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 6

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 7

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2100 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 8

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2000 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 9

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2300 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories
chicken
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Week 10

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 11

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2100 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Week 12

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 2000 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 2200 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 2700 calories

Here are some things to note while making your meal plan, following this structure. The number of calories given are not appropriate for everyone, so it’s better for you to get an individualized calorie intake from a dietitian then use this structure to create your diet plan. You should take a minimum of 180 grams of proteins per day. 20% -30% of your calories should come from fats then the rest should be carbs (3). 

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Bodybuilding 12-Week Cutting Diet Plan For Women

Week 1 (1)

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1600 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 2

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1600 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 3

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1300 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1600 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 4

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1200 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1600 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories
bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan
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Week 5

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 6

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Read More: Cutting Workout Plan: How To Get Rid Of Extra Weight While Preventing Muscle Loss

Week 7

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1300 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 8

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1200 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 9

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1500 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories
meat
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Week 10

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 11

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1300 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

Week 12

  • 3 low carb days with a total intake of 1200 calories on each day 
  • 3 moderate carb days with a total intake of 1400 calories on each day 
  • 1 high carb day with a total intake of 1900 calories

You should have at least 100 grams of proteins everyday while 20% – 30% of your daily calorie intake should come from fats. The remaining should come from carbohydrates.

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The Bottom Line 

The bodybuilding 12 week cutting diet plan is meant to help you lose fat without losing any muscle mass. There is no one shoe that fits all when it comes to this diet and so this means that you need to make adjustments using the structure provided in the article. You still need to eat  carbohydrates to provide your body with enough energy to work out and you need proteins to help preserve the muscle mass you already have and help you increase it. This diet should be complemented with a lot of cardiovascular training and weight lifting for more efficient results.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 12 Week Fat Destroyer: Complete Fat Loss Workout & Diet Program (n.d., muscleandstrength.com)
  2. Cut Mass, Not Muscle: The Basics of a Cutting Diet ( 2020, greatist.com)
  3. How To Cut For Bodybuilding | Cutting Diet Plan & Top Tips (2019, myprotein.com)
  4. Your 12-Week Transformation Guide: Nutrition (2019, bodybuilding.com)
B. William
B. William

Ben is an experienced writer who is no stranger to fitness. His career goal is not only to educate people on proper exercising but also help them recognize the profound importance of healthy nutrition. As a writer, his top priority is to foster awareness about healthy lifestyle and encourage more people to transform their bodies and kick their deep-rooted habits. Ben strongly believes that anyone can achieve their fitness goals, as long as they work hard, stay on track and keep a positive mindset.

S. Ziou
S. Ziou

Hi everyone! I am a Canadian Registered Dietitian (RD) who graduated from the University of Ottawa, Canada. I worked at the Montreal Pediatric University Hospital and the Ottawa Heart Institute before joining the International Clinic of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. With a strong interest in community nutrition, I worked in Haiti and in Syrian refugee camps affected by the scourge of malnutrition. I am passionate about food and its science!

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