The Mini Cut: A Method For Staying Lean Whilst Bulking

Building muscle is a slow, arduous process so if your main goal is to build muscle but you spend half the year in a calorie deficit trying to stay lean then you’re not doing yourself many favours.

This is where using a mini cut could be useful.

It works like this…

Step one

First I’d advise that you get fairly lean, maybe 13% body fat or less for men and roughly 19% or less for women.

Step two

Start bulking.

Go in a slight calorie surplus and train to gradually build muscle.

Aim to gain 0.5-1.0% of your body weight per month.

This will be good progress without gaining too much body fat.

Some of it WILL be fat though.

Step three

Keep measuring your body fat levels every 2-3 weeks and after 6-12, maybe even 16 weeks or if you go above 15-16% body fat (men) or 21-22% (women) then it’s time to consider doing a mini cut.

Step four

The mini cut.

Spend 3-6 weeks in a more harsh calorie deficit than you normally would.

Body weight in pounds x 8-9 would give you a decent calorie figure for this.

Then stick to this calorie target for the duration of the mini-cut.

This allows you to quickly lose some body fat and stay lean so you can get back to bulking and building muscle.

The pros of doing this are…

1. You spend more of the year bulking which is good if that’s what your main goal is

2. You spend more of the year eating in a calorie surplus which is always nicer than being in a calorie deficit

The cons of it are…

1. You’ll probably be lean for a lot less of the year – so if you struggle mentally with not looking lean when you check yourself out in the mirror then you probably won’t like this.

2. Even though they’re short, mini-cuts on a big calorie deficit aren’t that much fun and require more discipline – so if you’re someone who tends to go over their calories target regularly then you’ll find this hard and won’t reap the full rewards.

The whole mini-cut protocol was most recently pushed hard by Dr Mike Israetel so if you want more info on that Google his name + mini cut and you’ll find a loads of articles and podcasts on this topic.

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Mike Waywell