Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blueprint To Cut: Nutrition

Is your goal to lose weight or get completely shredded? Here's the Arnold-approved nutrition program that will help you do it!

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If you have a clear vision of looking ripped and peeled like a golden-age bodybuilder, you'll have to pay close attention to your diet. Losing body fat without losing any hard-earned lean mass is not an easy task, but if you're up to the challenge, you've come to the right place!

The Blueprint to Cut nutrition plan is easy to follow, Arnold-approved, and, if followed correctly, will bring you amazing results. The nutrition plan below will provide you with enough energy and nutrients so you can hit your workouts hard, but will limit your number of total daily calories and carbohydrates so your body will effectively burn fat.

Stay on the plan for the full 8 weeks and you will see an amazing transformation. Your body will look more dialed than it ever has!

What Are You Hungry For?

For most people, it's the diet, not the training, that is the most difficult part of a cutting program. Arnold Schwarzenegger was no stranger to hunger pangs, but he knew his goals were far more important than any craving. "I'd ask myself, 'What are you more hungry for? Am I more hungry to be Mr. Olympia, or to eat what I want and look like everyone else?'" he says.

It was this mindset that set Schwarzenegger apart from his competition. "I was hungrier to win Mr. Olympia and become a champion than anything," he says. "I knew that if I were to just have a temporary cheat, then someone else was going to walk right by me and win. Any mistake could cost me the title."

Your goal may not be as grandiose as winning the Mr. Olympia contest, but Arnold says you still need to have a clear vision in your mind and work as hard as you can to complete that vision.

"The worst thing is losing or not reaching your goal because you didn't do everything you could do," he says. "If you're about to eat and cheat, think about what your goal is. Is this piece of food going to help you? That original vision needs to remain clear, no matter how difficult things get."

Rules to Cut By

Just like Arnold had his rules for training to cut fat, which were discussed in the training overview, he had rules to guide his nutritional approach to cutting. He outlined them in his classic text "The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" as:

  1. Continue to eat a sufficient amount of protein--at least 1 gram of protein for each pound of bodyweight--on days in which you are training. The demand is somewhat less on your rest days.
  2. Eat low fat: about 20 percent of your total daily caloric intake. But research shows supplementing your diet with fish oil each day lowers body fat and increases muscle mass with no change in diet.
  3. Reduce carbohydrates as far as possible without going into a state of ketosis.
  4. Try to do 45 minutes to an hour of aerobic training, 4 or 5 times a week.

To be clear, Arnold is by no means anti-carb, nor anti-fat. This is a guy who put heavy cream and juice in his shakes, after all! He just recognized that when calories drop, cuts had to be made in other nutrients in order to prioritize protein. Keep protein high and the other nutrients "reasonably low," he advised, and you can rest assured that you're dieting "as hard as you can without suffering from nutritional or caloric deprivation."

Blueprint to Cut Nutrition

The goal of the Blueprint to Cut program is to help you get as lean as possible while preserving as much muscle mass as possible. To do this, you'll need enough protein to keep your muscles fueled, with limited carbohydrates so your body uses stored fat for fuel.

The meal plan below is designed for those who train first thing in the morning. Feel free to customize the layout to fit your training schedule. You may also need to adjust the overall amount of food depending on your height, weight, and sex.

Since the meal plan presented is a twist on Arnold's original cutting plan, you may want to cut 1-2 meals entirely, or simply reduce your portion sizes if you're not walking around with the amount of mass Arnold had in his golden days. For many people, 6-8 ounces of meat or one scoop of protein per serving are sufficient portions.

As you refine Arnold's meal plan to fit your personal stats, stick to these underlying dietary principles:

  • Eat fairly frequent meals
  • Include a protein source at nearly every meal
  • Limit your carbohydrates to vegetables, leafy greens, and a small amount of complex carbs
  • Include beneficial fat sources like almonds and eggs, but otherwise keep overall fat level fairly low
  • Strategically use supplements to support your diet

Sample Meal Plan

Meal 3

Water 8-12 ounces

Meal 4

Whole eggs 4

Oats 1/2 Cup

Meal 5

Grilled Meat 8-10 ounces

Vegetables 3 Cups

Almonds 1/4 cup

Meal 6

Nonfat cottage cheese 2 cups

Almonds 1/4 cup

Meal 7

Grilled Meat 8-10 ounces

Vegetables 3 cups

Meal 8

Water 8-12 ounces

Main | Vision | Training Overview | Nutrition overview
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