The Best Workout Routine For Cutting Up For Summer

“How do I get shredded?” is one of the most common questions you hear as a personal trainer, especially in the build up to summer.

As the only way to bring out a magazine six pack and achieve the beach ready physique of your dreams, it is a skill that everybody who works out wants to master.

However, in practice, it is a lot easier said than done.

Getting cut up and reducing your body fat to a point where you have visible abs not only takes extreme dedication but also an incredible amount of know how.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know how.

That is why, in today’s article, I want to help you discover the best workout routine for cutting up for Summer.

We will go over the principals and look at what it takes to get shredded, before I outline exactly the sort of workout you need to be completing to achieve your goals.

That way, when summer rolls around this year, you really will be beach body ready.

What Is A Cutting Workout?

A cutting workout is a type of training designed to help a person tone up and shed or “cut” fat.

Unlike more traditional workouts, a cutting workout won’t prioritise helping you to improve the size or strength of your muscles.

This means your style of training will need to be altered accordingly.

A cutting workout is designed to train the body as a whole, using compound exercises, rather than isolating individual areas or focusing on particular movements.

This will allow gradual development of your entire physique, while burning calories and fat to make the results more visible.

It will also usually involve a combination of both weight training and cardio, in order to generate maximum fat loss and toning throughout your entire body.

Weight Training

Weight training will be the core of any cutting workout.

Not only will it help you to burn through your consumed calories, forcing your body to enter fat burning mode, but it will also help you to tone your muscles, making the results more visible than ever as you shed fat.

Increased muscle mass will also lead to a long term boost in your metabolism.

This means your results will continue to improve the more your physique develops, while also helping to prevent you from gaining any additional fat in the future.

During a cutting program, it is important that your weight training sessions work all of the different fibres in your muscles.

This will allow maximum development, without focusing in on one area. As a result, you will want to use a combination of both light and heavy weights and low and high rep sets.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a style of fitness training that sees a person move from one exercise to the next in a circuit, rather than completing all of their sets of a particular exercise in a row.

It can be used to train the entire body and can incorporate all manner of equipment, as well as bodyweight exercises.

It is a great option for keeping things fresh, as you are constantly doing something different.

The speed at which you cycle through exercises also helps to keep your heart rate up and stop your body from being able to adapt, ensuring weight loss and muscular development continue.

PROS

  • Allows you to train your entire body in every session
  • Fast paced and great to keep things entertaining
  • Constant movement burns a great number of calories

CONS

  • Provides limited development for individual muscles
  • Often requires lower weights than other styles of training
  • Requires space to set up a circuit

PHAT Workout

The PHAT workout stands for power hypertrophy adaptive training.

It is a style of training designed to combine elements of both bodybuilding and powerlifting into a single workout routine.

The idea is that it will help you improve in both areas, and then the improvements in one will help develop the other.

It is a great option to use as a basis for a cutting program, as it develops all of the fibres throughout each muscle in your body, without ever focusing too heavily on one area.

This will provide a great level of all-round toning and offer maximal increases in your metabolism, as well as the rate at which you burn calories and fat.

PROS

  • Works your entire body
  • Trains both fast and slow twitch muscle fibres
  • Develops size, strength, and tone

CONS

  • Very little in the way of explosive exercises to help maximise calorie burning
  • Incredibly intense and only suitable for extremely fit individuals

PHUL Routine

The PHUL Routine is similar to the PHAT Workout in many ways.

It is another training method that combines both power and hypertrophy training, while separating your lower and upper body.

This is where the acronym PHUL comes from, power, hypertrophy, upper, lower.

However, there are a few differences. Firstly, you only train four times per week on the PHUL Routine, as opposed to 5 on the PHAT Workout.

There is one day dedicated to upper body power training, one dedicated to lower body power training, one day for upper body hypertrophy training, and another for lower body hypertrophy training.

The other difference is that, on the PHUL Routine, you train the entire upper body on each of the upper days, whereas you split it in two on the hypertrophy section during the PHAT Workout.

The PHUL Routine offers all of the same benefits as the PHAT Workout. However, the additional day off gives you extra flexibility.

While it is designed to provide greater rest, when cutting it gives you the chance to add in a longer cardio session each week.

PROS

  • Four weight training days provide extra time for rest or additional cardio
  • Develops all of the muscle fibres throughout the entire body
  • Develops size, strength, and tone

CONS

  • Won’t burn as much fat or as many calories on its own as the PHAT Workout
  • Requires a good level of fitness to complete

Cardio

Cardio is a love it or hate it part of fitness but is an essential component to virtually any successful cutting workout.

On the surface, it is a great way to boost your heart rate, raise your body temperature, and use extra calories.

All of these things will cause your body to burn fat at an enhanced rate, reducing the time it takes you to cut weight and achieve that “shredded” look.

However, cardio also has a secondary, less known but perhaps even more important function, which is the effect it has on your metabolism.

Cardio doesn’t just boost your metabolism while you are doing it and shortly after though. Instead, the effects can be seen for hours or even days after.

By adding regular cardio to your workouts, your body will continue to burn fat at an enhanced rate, even while at rest. This means it provides maximum weight loss bang for your buck and dramatically speeds up cutting.

Steady State Cardio

Steady state cardio is the most common kind and is best described as an endurance activity.

A person will select an activity, such as running or cycling, and proceed to perform said activity for a predetermined length of time at roughly the same intensity throughout the duration of the exercise.

While steady state cardio isn’t necessarily the best option for using calories, it is one of the best ways to get your body into “fat burning” mode.

It can be a great option for those who aren’t looking to lose an obscene amount of weight or those who already have their diet completely in check.

PROS

  • Puts your body in fat burning mode incredibly quickly
  • Relatively easy and suitable for people of all abilities
  • Reasonably low impact

CONS

  • Not the best option for burning calories
  • Results are more modest than other options
  • Takes longer to complete and can be quite boring.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

High intensity interval training, often referred to as HIIT, is a method of training where people will perform exercises in short bursts, followed by even shorter periods of rest.

They will then repeat the cycle continuously, until they reach a predetermined length of time.

HIIT can be performed using traditional cardio options, such as sprinting, rowing, or cycling, although can also be achieved using exercises usually associated with weightlifting, as well as unique options, such as battle ropes or plyometric exercises, making it incredibly versatile.

HIIT training is a great option for cutting as it sends the body’s metabolism into overload, burning through calories and fats at a ridiculous speed.

If performed using anything other than traditional cardio exercises, it also has the added benefit of being able to build additional muscle at the same time.

PROS

  • Stimulates an incredible boost in the burning of calories and fats
  • Versatility stops it from becoming boring
  • Can tone and develop muscle at the same time as shedding fat

CONS

  • Extremely intense and not suitable for less conditioned people

Fartlek Training

Fartlek training is a version of interval training.

However, unlike traditional options, such as HIIT, the intervals are completely random, instead of at regular intervals.

The benefit of this is that your body doesn’t have the chance to prepare for what is coming next.

Much like when you are weight training, your body adapts incredibly quickly to what it is being asked to do when performing cardio as well.

The better prepared your body is for what it has to do, the less effective the workout and the smaller the results.

By ensuring you constantly keep your body guessing, it will never have a chance to adapt and you will keep achieving optimal results for as long as possible.

As some people struggle with incorporating “random” intervals, a great option is something called the “fish game”.

A setting on many indoor rowers, it randomly generates intervals for you, so is the perfect option for fartlek training.

PROS

  • Doesn’t give your body a chance to adapt
  • Capable of producing optimal results for an extended period
  • Great for burning both calories and fats

CONS

  • Incredibly intense and will be too challenging for some
  • Creating random intervals can be challenging without the use of dedicated programs

Important Cutting Workout Details

You should now have a good idea of the different methods and types of training that go into an effective cutting plan.

However, it requires more than just a basic understanding of what should be in a program for you to build one.

We will now look at some important cutting workout details, that are essential to get right if you plan to build an effective program and achieve the shredded physique of your dreams.

Training Frequency, Body Type, & Session Length

In order to see the results you desire, you will need to be committed and willing to follow a taxing training program during a cutting cycle.

While some people suggest 3 days per week as an absolute minimum, the majority will require somewhere between 4 to 6 days, depending on their body type and style of training.

It can also be beneficial to train twice per day if hoping for dramatic results.

Splitting your workout into one weight training session and one cardio session each day is a popular option if you are willing to commit to that sort of schedule.

In terms of the length of your sessions, you should be looking at around 90 minutes to 2 hours if you train once per day, or a 30 minute cardio session and a 60 to 90 minute weight training session if you split them up.

Of the three body types, ectomorphs and mesomorphs will find it the easiest to cut up and may be able to get away with doing a little less.

Ectomorphs are naturally slender and struggle to put on weight, while losing what they do gain incredibly easily.

Mesomorphs, on the other hand, gain muscle mass easily, so usually have relatively low body fat and a high metabolism, which will help to burn off what fat they do have.

Unfortunately, the third body type, the endomorph, is the most prone to gaining fat.

If you fall into this category, you will likely need to look at the top end of all of these ranges to see good results.

Weights, Length Of Sets, & Rest Periods

The resistance you use during a workout will effect which type of muscle fibres you use.

If you want to work the fibres throughout a muscle, you will need to use a combination of both heavy and light weights.

This will naturally lead to a variety of different set lengths. When lifting heavy, you will only be able to complete a shorter set.

However, when you lower the weight, it is important to extend the set, so that you are still working the muscle as hard, just in a different way.

You will also often need to use longer sets when training your legs than you do when training your upper body.

A combination of the sheer size of the leg muscles and the fact that they are constantly in use to support our weight or let us walk means they adapt extremely easily, so will take a bit more work to break down and develop.

Regardless of whether you are training light or heavy, you will want to keep your rest periods to the bare minimum, usually around 45 seconds.

This will help to keep your blood pumping, your heart rate high, and you metabolism up, ensuring you burn as much fat and as many calories as possible.

You can make the rest periods a little longer if you are training with extremely heavy weights though, as your muscles will simply need more time to recover before they are ready to go again.

Workout Timing

While the time you work out largely comes down to personal preference and how it fits into your routine, there are some benefits to be gained from performing certain activities at specific times.

Performing fasted cardio of a morning has been shown to be incredibly effective for weight loss. Fasted cardio is where you exercise with no food in your stomach. With no calories to burn, your body is forced to use its fat stores to produce energy, helping to burn through them much quicker.

Opinions on weight training differ. While some feel more alert and energetic in the morning, others feel stronger when they have a day’s worth of food inside them. In this instance, it is best to go with whatever works for you.

That said, it is important not to lift weights after cardio, as this is when you will be at your weakest.

The optimal option for a cutting cycle is to split your session in half. Perform fasted cardio in the morning, then hit the weights room in the afternoon or evening, when you have fully re-energised, to produce maximum results.

Intensity

If you hope to achieve anything on a cutting program, you need to keep the intensity high at all times.

Unless you push your body to the limits, you will make minimal improvements and are unlikely to achieve the results you desire.

Whether you are doing your cardio or lifting weights, no matter how heavy they may be, try to keep your intensity level at around a 7 out of 10 for the majority of the session.

Alter Exercises

The body adapts incredibly quickly to any stimulus it receives.

This means, while a workout may be incredibly effective at first, you end up finding the results are dramatically reduced just a few weeks down the line.

In order to avoid this from happening, you need to constantly be mixing things up.

Whether it be altering the exercises you perform or simply changing the order in which you perform them, if you keep your body guessing, it won’t be able to adapt, and you will continue to produce impressive results.

Example Cutting Workout Routine

You should, by this point, have everything you need to completely plan out an effective cutting routine.

We will now look at an example cutting workout routine. This is an incredibly effective option that utilises a great deal of the methods and styles we have looked at so far.

You can either follow it in its entirety, modify it, or use it as a basis for your own routine.

Monday

MORNING

  • 30 mins on treadmill or exercise bike at an intensity of 6 to 7

AFTERNOON / EVENING

  • Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Bench Press – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Wide Grip Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Barbell Rows – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Reverse Grip Barbell Rows – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • T – Bar Rows – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Weighted Pull Ups – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Military Press – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps

Tuesday

MORNING

  • 22 mins HIIT with battle ropes: work for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 8 times then rest for 2 full minutes.
  • Complete the full cycle a further 3 times.

AFTERNOON / EVENING

  • Barbell Squats – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Hack Squats – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps
  • Static Lunges – 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps per leg
  • Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps
  • Seated Hamstring Curls – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps
  • Toe Press – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps

Wednesday

  • Rest

Thursday

MORNING

  • 30 mins on treadmill or exercise bike at an intensity of 6 to 7

AFTERNOON / EVENING

  • Lat Pulldown – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • High Row – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Straight Arm Pulldown – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Low Row – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Rear Fly – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Arnold Press – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Lateral Raises – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Front Raises – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Upright Rows – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Superset: Barbell Shrugs / Rear Barbell Shrugs – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Friday

MORNING

  • 22 mins HIIT with battle ropes: work for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 8 times then rest for 2 full minutes.
  • Complete the full cycle a further 3 times.

AFTERNOON / EVENING

  • Leg Press – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Goblet Squats – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps
  • Lying Hamstring Curls – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps
  • Abductor Machine – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps
  • Adductor Machine – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps
  • Single Leg Toe Press – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps per leg
  • Toe Press – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps
  • Single Leg Calf Raises – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps per leg

Saturday

MORNING

  • 30 mins on treadmill or exercise bike at an intensity of 6 to 7

AFTERNOON / EVENING

  • Superset: Dumbbell Bench Press / Dumbbell Pullover – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Flyes – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Cable Crossover – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Close Grip Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Superset: Barbell Curls / Close Grip Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Superset: Incline Curls / Skull Crushers – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Superset: Preacher Curls / Overhead Dumbbell Extensions – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Superset: Reverse Grip Curls / Seated Wrist Curls – 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Sunday

  • Rest

Cutting Diet

No matter how hard or often you train, you aren’t going to achieve results if you don’t have your diet in check.

This is the number one reason why people who are putting in the effort fail to achieve results and is even more important on a cutting program than normal.

Firstly, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is where your body requires more calories than it is receiving just to maintain your current weight, so is forced to turn to your fat stores in their absence.

To ensure you are in a calorie deficit, the best way to start is by finding put your BMR.

BMR stands for basal metabolic rate and is the exact number of calories you need to survive.

There are various BMR calculators available online which can help you to determine this number, based on things like your age, weight, gender, and level of physical activity.

Once you know your BMR, try to consume between 400 and 600 less than it each day.

Any less than 400 and you are likely to achieve minimal results, while deficits greater than 600 can start to see you burn more muscle than fat.

Protein is important when cutting, as it helps to preserve and build lean muscle.

Consuming too little can cause you body to break down muscle for fuel, both reducing the amount of fat you burn and limiting the development of your physique overall.

Fat is also incredibly important, as it is the macronutrient that satiates us the most.

Consuming plenty of fats from healthy sources will keep you feeling fuller, which will help you to avoid cheating on your diet, while also actively encouraging your body to burn more fat in some instances.

In terms of carbohydrates, there is some level of debate about their role in a cut. For some people, they are a primary source of energy and should be used to fuel your training.

For others, however, they cause you to hold water and are an obstacle to achieving your goals.

Many people even swear by cutting them out altogether and forcing your body into ketosis when on a cut, to help you lose as much weight as possible.

The best option here is to play around with your diet and gradually increase or decrease the carbs in it, to find out which option works best for you personally.

How Quickly Can You Expect To Achieve Results?

Results can begin to be seen incredibly quickly if you follow a suitable cutting workout to the letter.

Many people claim to have lost noticeable weight and seen visible physical improvements in as little as a week, particularly when using a keto diet.

However, the results will usually begin to level off after the first week or so and become more gradual.

If you are already in great shape and just need to lose that last pound or two, you may be able to achieve your goal in six weeks.

However, for the majority of people, you will want to allow 12 weeks to really see the true benefits of following a cutting workout.

Other Factors To Consider

As with any type of workout, even if you follow both the diet and training to the letter, two people are unlikely to experience identical results, as all of our bodies are different.

For example, older people will struggle to lose weight as fast, as their metabolism will be lower, while heavier people will burn fat at a faster rate, as they simply have more to spare, and their bodies need more fuel to survive.

Everything from pre-existing medical conditions to how physical and active your job and social life are will alter the rate at which you achieve results.

Conclusion

That concludes our guide to the best workout routine for cutting up for summer.

Hopefully, you will now be completely clear in what you should be doing and eating, in order to achieve incredible results.

So, whether you are aiming to look younger, feel healthier, or simply want a physique you can show off on the beach to the envy of all your friends, there isn’t anything standing between you and achieving your goal anymore.

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