Sanctus Nutrition

Start Your Summer Cut In January

Are you tired of feeling the pain of regret?

That pain that happens every year when June rolls around - and your body doesn’t look the way you had planned.

I’ve got a simple idea that will save you from this pain.

Be warned - I said simple, not easy.

The plan is this: if you want your body ready for beach season, you need to start now.

sanctus nutrition summer body

Starting early helps maintain muscle mass

I hate cutting because, no matter how hard you try, you WILL lose muscle mass.

It’s not a matter of “will I lose muscle?” - the real question is, “how do I minimize muscle loss as musch as possible?” That’s just how things work.

Starting your summer cut early gives you more time to lose fat. This means you can be less aggressive with your diet, which will help you maintain muscle mass.

Let’s look at an example.

Say you’ve had a damn fun winter and now you need to lose 15 pounds to have your ideal summer bod. Would you rather lose 15 pounds over 12 weeks, or 20 weeks?

Under ideal conditions, you can lose 0.5 - 1 pounds per week without losing excessive muscle mass - and unless you have a lot of fat to lose, you’re going to be much closer to the lower end of that range most of the time.

Assume your target date is May 24th (Memorial Weekend 2019!) and you have 15 pounds to lose.

If you wait until March 1 to start your cut, you need to lose 15 pounds over 12 weeks to get your ideal summer bod. That’s over 1 pound per week. It can be done, but you’re going to lose a significant amount of muscle mass.

Let’s say you do the smart thing, and start January 1. Now, you have 20 weeks to get your body ready for summer. Because you’ve extended your time period for losing weight, you can be more conservative with your diet, and loss of muscle mass will be minimal.

Starting early gives you time to adjust

Losing weight is hard. It’s not an exact science.

Like life, cutting weight never, ever goes exactly as planned. You’re going to have to make adjustments, likely multiple times, over the course of your cut.

By starting your cut early, you give yourself time to adjust without creating chaos.

We’ve already established that if you wait until March 1st to start your cut, you only have 12 weeks to get your body ready for summer.

What happens when your first 4 weeks go according to plan - and then you don’t lose any weight week 5? When you GAIN weight week 6?

Something isn’t working. You have to make changes. You only have 6 weeks left to reach your goal.

If you make the wrong change now, there’s a good chance you’re not hitting that Memorial Weekend goal. No pressure.

If you start in January, you leave yourself a LOT more wiggle room. Giving yourself 20 weeks to cut means you can experiment with adjustments and find what works best.

Starting early gives you wiggle room to cheat

Part of what makes cutting so hard are the restrictions it places on you. It doesn’t just affect your diet - it affects every aspect of your life.

You’re going to have less energy at work. You may be more irritable with friends and loved ones. Maybe the worst is the impact cutting has on your social life. You shouldn’t let physique goals stop you from going out, but you’re going to have to make sacrifices - trading a couple of beers for ONE vodka diet tonic, resisting the appetizers, watching your friends split dessert.

Waiting until March to start your cut means you get to avoid these situations for all of January and February - but once March hits, you HAVE to clamp down and go Spartan.

Got a wedding to go to in April? Bachelor party in May? You better be on your A+ game every. Single. Other. Day. And even then, those two weekends will likely set you back if you let yourself go.

Start in January and it’s totally different playing field.

Because you gave yourself 20 weeks - that’s 140 days - to hit your goal instead of 12 weeks (just 84 days), you can afford to have an extended cheat on occasion.

I’ve written before on how eating healthy 90% of the time will earn you an “A”. To cut fat while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible, you HAVE to eat clean at least 90% of the time. If you have lofty goals - such as hitting 6% body fat - you have to take it even further - let’s say 95% of the time.

Some simple math shows how much wiggle room you have when you start you cut in January compared to March.

Start in March = 84 days to cut.

  • 84 days x 90% clean eating = 76 clean days. 84 - 76 = 8 “cheat” days, and 8 x 3 (representing 3 meals per day) = 21 cheat meals.
  • 84 x 95% clean eating = 80 clean days. 84 - 80 = 4 cheat days, 4 x 3 = 12 cheat meals.

Now, let’s see how it compares to starting in January:

Start in January = 140 days to cut.

  • 140 x 90% clean eating = 126 clean days. 140 - 126 = 14 cheat days, 14 x 3 = 42 cheat meals.
  • 140 x 95% clean eating = 133 clean days. 140 - 133 = 7 cheat days. 7 x 3 = 21 cheat meals.

By starting your cut in January, you’re giving yourself nearly double the number of cheat meals compared to starting your cut in March.

This means you don’t have to think twice about your diet at your best friend’s bachelorette party or your brother’s wedding. In fact, you can take the whole weekend off and still be on track.


Look, it’s tempting to put your cut off until March. That’s an extra 8 weeks to bulk, pack on muscle, and eat with less restrictions.

It’s also 8 weeks of you putting off the work you KNOW you need to do.

It’s 8 more weeks of making excuses.

Those 8 weeks are the difference between you, and your dream summer bod.

Are they worth it?

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