Updated October 2022.
I’ve been fortunate to do a mini cut diet a few times now and I have a much better idea about what is required to successfully cut body fat and weight as quickly as possible.
One thing I would say is that the leaner you are when entering your mini cut, the better and easier it will be to cut the fat. In my experience, if you are holding too much body fat and you miscalculate the calorie intake that’s required to preserve your existing muscle and trim the fat off your frame, you will be in a mini cut for much longer than you expect.
Really, a mini cut should go for 4 to 6 weeks. I’ve experienced staying in a mini cut for up to 12 weeks simply because my body weight wasn’t coming down fast enough.
How do you do a mini cut?
Find out the amount of calories your body needs to maintain your current weight and body fat.
For me, my baseline weight is around 2100 calories a day.
You will need to measure your calories week on week (aim for 2000-2500 to find the number that keeps your weight and body fat the same week on week.)
Once that’s done, you will need to work out how aggressively you want to lose your body fat whilst preserving as much muscle as possible. (If you are natural, you will lose muscle. If you take performance enhancers, you will be able to use a stack that will preserve your muscle whilst you are cutting.)
Calculate how aggressively you want to lose your body fat.
If you want to lose 500g per week, you will want to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500g per day. 1000g or 1kg will be 1000 calories per day.
This would allow you to lose 2-4kg of body fat in 4 weeks. And up to 3-6kg in 6 weeks if everything goes to plan.
Aim for 4 to 6 weeks to complete your mini cut.
You want to get in and out of your mini cut as quickly as possible. If you are fairly lean, you will find that you can make significant progress within 4-6 weeks.
If you are greater than 15% body fat, you will struggle to lose the body fat quickly and you may end up staying in deficit for a longer amount of time until you reach your desired goal.
Focus on losing as much body fat as possible with your nutrition only.
Focus on losing as much with your nutrition so that when you want to be more aggressive, you can add more cardio elements to trigger more fat loss.
Accelerate your body fat loss with walking as your cardio exercise.
Commit to 8000-12000 steps a day of walking to trigger a low-impact cardio.
Accelerate your body fat loss with HIIT cardio sessions.
Accelerate your body fat loss with spin cycle HIIT cardio sessions. 5 minute warm-up with 8 rounds of 15 second sprints with a 45 second rest.
What are some things that you should keep in mind?
You need to be as strict as possible with your nutrition during a mini cut.
I didn’t realize how sensitive my body was to holding fat if I didn’t remain strict with my nutrition. When I did the first mini cut, I was consuming extra oils and slightly higher fats. Nothing excessive, but week on week, my body fat and weight would remain the similar and would be decreasing very slowly. If you enter a mini cut, stick to the calories and the macro nutrients suggested to accurately trigger fat loss at the rate that you need to shed down as quickly as possible.
Don’t cut your calories too low.
There is a fine balance between losing weight quickly that is body fat and the erosion of lean muscle tissue. You want to preserve as much of your body’s tissue as possible. This means you will need to keep your lean protein up, and also consume enough carbohydrates to ensure that your muscles have enough energy to do the exercises and help the muscle with repair and recovery.
I also found that when my calories went too low for too long, I would start to experience pains, strains, and niggles that could lead to a long-term injury. In my experience, I’ve noticed this flares up in my shoulders when doing incline and flat bench press, and in my knees.
I’m currently going through a mini cut diet in order to lose the body fat that I accumulated as I was going through my bulk phase. This experience has shown me that I wasn’t aware of how much body fat I was actually carrying. When I’d looked at my photos in the past, I’d estimated that I was around 15% body fat. Although, I think that I was over when I had checked at the time.
In this mini cut, I’m probably somewhere between 11.5-12.5% body fat. And it sees to be quite challenging to get my body to response well when compared to others that undergo a minicut.
A mini cut is a phase during the bodybuilding technique whereby we strip back the body fat for a few weeks, and then get lean enough to continue with another bulk phase.
To be successful in a minicut, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit that will aggressively consume your body fat as an energy source.
What were some of the challenges that I faced when doing the mini cut?
My body requires a very low amount of calories per day to trigger a deficit. (1809 calories per day)
I also have a very sedentary lifestyle, which means I don’t move during working hours. So a cardio element needed to be introduced to help trigger the fat loss.
The cardio elements were:
- Walking 10000 steps a day
- 2 x HIIT cycling per week. (5 minute warm-up, 20 seconds 100%, 1 minute recovery)
How much body fat am I able to lose with this approach?
800g-1kg per week.
What nutrition allowed me to accomplish this?
- Very limited starchy carbs (70g oats per day)
- Fibrous carbs (Spinach, cucumber, cabbage, pumpkin, watermelon, garlic, leek)
- Lean protein (Lean beef, chicken breast, egg whites, and Greek yogurt)
How long should a mini-cut go for?
4-10 weeks from what I’ve been told by my coach. Now that we have the data, it should be much quicker to do a mini cut by doing a switch with the cardio to trigger fat loss over a 1-3 month period.