Getting Cut is a Package Deal

So you’re pursuing a better body, are you? Maybe there’s room for improvement or you’d like better health. Or you simply enjoy the process and positive seeing changes in your body. Whatever your reasons, there are a few non-negotiables when it comes to getting cut.

Look, you know you have to be committed to get a lean, cut body. People with muscle definition are doing a lot of things right, not just one or two things. They’re living all of necessary components and more – like knowing how to keep things going and how to stay motivated.

You can get a lean, cut body and that V-shape if you want it. But you can’t skip any one area – it’s a package deal. And you need to be having fun or you’ll never stick with it. How badly do you want it? It’s all up to you – we all make choices about how we look and feel.

Reality Check: Diet is #1

The nutrition component of getting cut is the hardest for most people. It’s also the most important. You can’t see your muscles if you have a layer of fat over them. Those hard, ripped bodies you see? Diet first, then exercise.

A natural, clean diet is not an “I’ll eat this way every other day” kind of deal, and it’s not “I can eat fast food only for lunch” kind of proposition. You’ve got to make it your lifestyle. Once you do, you won’t want to go back, especially when those beautiful defined muscles are revealed. You also have to eat enough (and enough protein) to support muscle development.

Most People Cannot Skip Cardio

Cardio will help you maintain your caloric balance, but you shouldn’t overdo it. You’re trying to build muscle and excessive cardio can interfere with that. Each of you has different requirements; if you’re losing weight, focus on that goal first. Once you’re at about 24-26% body fat you’ll start to see definition and can cut back on cardio.

You can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuits, or steady-state sessions. HIIT is fast, intense spurts of cardio that can raise your metabolism and take less time. You can do HIIT 2 to 3 times a week as long as you’re not doing it back-to-back with an intense leg day in the weight room. (Rest is important in the get-cut equation too!)

The Best Part: Lifting Weights

In this blog I’ve written about weightlifting techniques, equipment, approaches, and exercises, so take some time to peruse the posts. The basics? Lift heavy. Use isolation exercises in moderation and focus on compound movements. Mix it up every 4 to 6 weeks. Rest for 48 hours before working the same muscle group. Use proper form. The bottom line is that weights are great fun so get in that weight room and act like you own the damn place.

Be proud of your body and the fun it takes. Post pictures of your cut and lean self. And let me know how it’s going.

This article originally appeared on

34 thoughts on “Getting Cut is a Package Deal

  1. Awesome Suzanne! The message I’m getting from you is simply commitment. If you want something, you’ve gotta take the necessary steps to achieve a goal; there are no shortcuts.

    Happy New Year’s to you and here’s to a great 2011!!


  2. When I started to lose weight I thought if I made would change I would see great results. Cut out a meal or only eat out twice per week. The reality is that all I did was give myself a pass to screw up all the hard work put in at the gym.

    Good post and good luck with getting certified.


  3. Very exciting that you’re going to be a professional trainer! I feel very safe in that I lives hundreds and hundreds of miles from you. 🙂

    Seriously though, that is awesome. You’ll kick ass. And what a blast it would be to help people go through a physical transformation.


  4. Wow Suzanne – I keep learning more and more about your wonderful self! You are so right – once you start, you’ll want to keep going. That has totally been my experience. It is very “body snatcher-ish” that I crave vegetables, water, and sweat – belieeeeeeeeve me. But I think our bodies so want to find a happy equilibrium if we can clear out the clutter and make space for the good stuff.

    And, uh…. YOU ARE HOT HOT HOT!



    • Garick: Happy new year to you too and thanks for reading 🙂
      Dawn: Nice insight Dawn. I admire anyone who’s had an epiphany like that. Good job, and thank you!
      Michelle: Haha, you will have to let me get my hands on you girlfriend, if only just to give you snuggles in between planks.
      Kris: Thanks babe, you are so good for moi! So good! Haha, bodysnatcherish indeed. But you are a new woman and the new woman is in charge. Luv ya!


  5. Suzanne, thx for stopping by yesterday! You have it right on. Food is at least 75% of the equation so people have to get that right. And yes, like you, I believe cardio is necessary for most people. Some lucky ones, maybe not, but for the most part, especially women, need it & it is good for the lungs & heart! And got to love that weight training.. my fav part!

    Happy 2011!


    • It’s so nice to see you Jody! It’s always nice to have feedback from such a knowledgeable gal. I’m one of those who doesn’t have to do cardio… but building muscle is very tough. Happy new year to you!


  6. Absolutely on the mark!

    I’ve been so much better about nutrition over the years. Sometimes I fall off the wagon. But I always get back on to perform the art of discipline.

    Cardio I’ve been doing more than ever before this year out of all the years I’ve been training and it has help. Unfortunately for most of the year I was going steady-state cardio due to nutritionist’s prescription. I later than realize it was bogus after I asked her time and time again. She was just looking at me as another business client. And now she’s fired.

    And weights are definitely my thing. 🙂

    Great post. Keep them coming.

    Oh and by the way, after reading your breakfast clean eats. I was inspired to eat the rest of the week very clean. Cream of Wheat, Oatmeal, egg whites, veggies and all. Thanks! 😉


    • Ines, I love hearing that something I said actually inspired someone. Good job on your breakfasts. I still see people going long and hard on the cardio machines… it’s too bad they’re not reading our blogs and finding out about much more fun options! With all the alternatives (circuit, HIIT, intervals, etc.), I doubt I’ll ever do steady state again. Thanks for stopping by, always good to see you :).


  7. Dear Suzanne,

    Rest…? REST…..? What is this “rest” you speak of….? Wait, don’t tell me — I just don’t want to know.

    Middle-Aged Overtrained Guy

    PS: Great post!


  8. I’m in the same position regarding becoming a CPT. Kind of a love/hate relationship with the whole concept. I really love participating in the sport, but at times I get discouraged by having to explain myself! Most importantly certification should serve a good tool for business opportunities.


    • Lindsay, thank you. I enjoy your blog a lot too!
      Kohy, also great to see you. Yes, love/hate is exactly how I feel about it. I do agree that it should provide some opportunities… not sure what yet. But it will be nice to have that certification to back up what I say even more (although I do thoroughly research my topics in addition to using personal experience).


    • Thanks Paj! I’ve been lifting on and off for years but when I got back into it, I saw great results after only a few months. I think this picture was taken after I’d been back at weights for about a year and a half.


  9. I’ve been so much better about nutrition over the years. Sometimes I fall off the wagon. But I always get back on to perform the art of discipline. 😛


  10. Wow! I love those biceps. Once I indulge myself on jogging but it only lasted for 2 weeks then back to my old ways. My sister in law who is a nutritionist made a diet specifically for me, since my work let me sit for 8 straight hours of sitting in front of the computer.


    • Nice – diet will certainly help get you there and is what sabotages most people. The key for exercise is finding what you love. If I didn’t love weight lifting I wouldn’t do it. Experiment with different things and see what hits home for you.


  11. Weight training is really good not only for the heart but for the body and mind. you look great there in your picture, just give me the boost to go on weights. Post like this inspire those who are planning to go to training.


    • This is the bottom line, really… weight training is good for the heart as well as the body. To feel strong, well, that is the underlying benefit that can’t be replaced. And thanks to you, comments like this inspire ME 🙂


  12. What a brilliant post. You should do a series! :)I did a sort of blogging for dummies over
    on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of
    emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young
    people today we have grown up with computers, but it’s easy to forget that even people just a few years older have not! Really good post! 🙂


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