10 Quick Fire Facts : ‘Cutting’ & 'Toning'

Want an insight into world renowned fitness model and personal trainer Rob Riches cutting regime? Then check out these quick fire tips on how you can (with some caution thrown in there too) do it too!

FACT #1 - Increase salt intake (Days 1-5)

Monitor your sodium intake. At approx 1 week prior to the time you want to be ‘cut’ i.e. before competition, gradually increase your sodium intake by adding a sprinkling to your meals. The reason for this is that salt increases water retention within the body, when this happens your body reduces the fluid retaining hormone aldosterone (a key hormone in the regulation of blood pressure via the retention of water). This is the first step to tricking your body into becoming SUPER CUT!

FACT #2 - Increase fluid by 50% (Days 1-5)

Whilst increasing sodium levels, be sure to increase your fluid by 50% as this maintains fluid levels as well as increasing the potential for cutting later on in the process. Approx 1 week of increasing your sodium levels, you should reduce the salt to normal levels because during this time the aldosterone levels stay elevated meaning you excrete more water enabling you to look defined!

FACT #3 - Reduce carbs by 50% (Days 1-5)

At the same time as you reduce your salt intake to normal levels you should begin cutting Carbs by 50% for 5 days. Your main source of carbs should be of the complex variety, including sweet potato, porridge oats or wholegrain pasta etc. Aim to consume these earlier on in the day for a sustainable ‘drip feed’ of energy. During the time of reducing carbs, it is vitally important that you increase protein intake to compensate for the calorie loss, as well as maintaining lean muscle mass.

FACT #4 - Deplete Glycogen stores (Days 1-5)

Adjust your training method by reducing the weight you lift, and thus increasing the rep range of each exercise. You should be able to increase the amount of sets you perform, increasing the total volume of training e.g. if you normally perform 10 sets for chest, increase this to 15 (increasing the volume of exercises). The reason for this increase in volume is to deplete glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate) enabling you to store more carbs during the repletion phase (Carb Loading phase) of your prep to competition, maximising the bulk and tightness of your muscles for competition!

FACT #5 - Further reduce Carbs (Days 1-5)

At around day 3 you should look to reduce your carb intake to 100-150g per day (approx 1-1.5g per kilogram of bodyweight) which further reduces the glycogen (carb) stores in your muscle. As this happens the body increases the glycogen STORING enzyme glycogen synthase, this is a compensatory mechanism that serves to increase the body’s carb storage capacity the nearer you get to competition. This will help you to draw fluid into the muscle increasing muscle bulk and size, giving the impression of fuller and thicker looking muscles.

FACT #6 - Reduce salt to 'no added salt' & prepare to Carb load (Days 5-7)

Day 5 is the day before the eagerly anticipated ‘Carb Loading’ whereby you increase the amount of carbs you consume, but before you do this you need to reduce the amount of salt you add to your food. Once you reduce your salt intake back to ‘no additional salt’ to your meals your bodies aldosterone levels rise, increasing urine output and reducing fluid retention under the surface of the skin. Remember to still drink approx 35ml fluid per kilogram body weight during this time!

FACT #7 - Carb Loading (Days 6-7)

So you’ve just spent 5 days depleting your carbs and manipulating your salt intake…but this is where the fun begins! Your poor muscles are extremely depleted of energy and carb stores and crying out for replenishment, therefore when you come to increase your carb intake, almost all of the carbs will be stored in the muscle. A sensible level for carb loading is around 6g carbs per kilogram of body weight, and be sure to minimise low glycaemic (quick absorbing) carbs such as glucose and fructose, ensuring the bulk of your carb intake is complex carbs such as sweet potato, porridge oats and wholegrain pasta/rice.

During the carb load, be sure to titrate protein accordingly i.e. reduce protein as carbs increase in order to not exceed calorie requirements. A good rule of thumb for protein is to consume just 0.5g protein per kilogram of body weight during this time.

FACT #8 - Reduce fluid intake (Days 6-7)

You were previously told to raise your fluid intake by 50% as salt intake increased, but now that salt is back to normal you should aim to REDUCE fluid intake to what you would ordinarily consume a day, and then reduce it by a further 50% (approx 17ml fluid per kg body weight). Through reducing your fluid intake your body has to draw water from your subcutaneous fluid stores beneath the surface of your skin, this enables the muscle to form more glycogen increasing muscle bulk as well as increasing tone and definition.

FACT #9 - Minimise training (Days 6-7)

Minimise the amount of training you do, in fact, knock it on the head  prior to competition as exercise will deplete the glycogen stores you’re trying to lay down in the muscle, reducing muscle fullness!

Fact #10 - Get a muscle pump (Show time)

Afford yourself a few minutes of pumping some iron or body weight moves, perform light weight low reps as this will increase perfusion of blood to the muscles. Keep reps low in order to spare muscle glycogen and thus overall bulk!


Rob Riches Fitness, (2012). Final Cutting. Retrieved 8th July, 2013, from https://www.robriches.com/nutrition/view/85#.Udp0mvn2a_R

NOTE: None of the above is prescriptive, should you decide to manipulate your diet in such a way, it is entirely at your discretion. For more information on whether this diet is appropriate for you, please consult your Doctor or Dietitian who have access to your medical history.

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!


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