What Is Dirty Cutting?

When people talk about cutting or gaining, they usually do it as if these were black and white concepts. Even I used to think so before I got deep into it. I used to start …

When people talk about cutting or gaining, they usually do it as if these were black and white concepts. Even I used to think so before I got deep into it. I used to start cutting and along with it came clean eating and healthy habit formation. But soon I realized that there was more than one way to skin the cat. 

Now, most of you who’re not familiar with the term “dirty” must be very confused. For you who’ve been living your entire fitness life in binary, it’s either a cut or a gaining phase. What you fail to realize is that there’s something called dirty cutting and another more popular one commonly known as a clean cut.

By now, most fitness gurus will either be shouting out obscenities at the top of their voices or the remainder of them will be turning in their graves. Dirty cutting, you say? There’s no such thing! But in this article, we’re going to see what dirty cutting is and how you can use it to your advantage. So without further ado, let’s get started.

What Does Dirty Mean?

pizza and past for calorie surplus
pizza and past for calorie surplus

It’s easy to guess what the dirty in dirty cutting might mean. If you’re familiar with dirty bulking then it’ll be even easier for you to understand what dirty actually entails. If you haven’t quite guessed it yet then no worries, let’s understand where this jargon comes from.

A dirty bulk or dirty cut means that you don’t pay attention to the quality of your macronutrients or micronutrients as long as you meet the calorie requirements. When people do things “clean”, they usually get very paranoid about their food and what nutrients it constitutes. This is so because we’ve been fed the idea of perfection by the fitness influencers and models all around us.

In reality, nothing is perfect and neither are these sources of inspiration. Sure, you can go ahead and stick to doing everything “clean” and by the books, however, sustainability is an entirely different issue altogether. Dirty bulks or cuts have their own advantages and learning about those will help you form a better and well-rounded opinion on the subject.

Clean Cutting vs Dirty Cutting

clean cutting
clean cutting

There are always advantages and disadvantages to the different methods you try. While dirty cutting has its own advantages, it doesn’t mean that clean-cutting is obsolete. There are various good reasons to stick to a clean-cut and various others to mix things up from time to time. 

First of all, clean cuts aren’t sustainable for very long periods of time. You only have a set amount of mental endurance and sooner or later, it’s going to run out. When you eat only green veggies and bland proteins, you start getting bored very quickly. This boredom is the reason why many people quit midway through their fitness journey. 

A dirty cut will keep your morale high since you’ll often be able to witness the results much faster, provided you do it right. You’ll be able to eat all the things that you love without being obsessive about the little things. The only thing you have to remember is that you maintain your caloric deficit so that your body has to burn fat. 

As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you don’t need to worry about what you eat because despite what everyone says, all calories are created equal. Sure, the satiation might not be as high, but the freedom to consume whatever you want is usually worth the trade-off.

Isn’t It a Myth?

The only people who say that dirty cutting is a myth are those who haven’t tried anything beyond the usually prescribed diets. These are the people who’re too afraid to experiment because their bodies are a snowflake, according to them. If they miss out on even a single calorie then their body will start using up their precious muscle made of snow to sustain itself.

Do you really believe that this human body that has helped us survive through the ice ages, will melt away if it doesn’t get the clean nutrients it deserves? I don’t think so, and nor does anyone with a hint of sanity in their heads. 

Calories are calories and it doesn’t matter whether you get them from a boiled chicken breast or a hamburger drenched in cheese. At the end of the day, if you want to lose weight, you have to watch your calories. If you eat 5000 kcal of lettuce every day then you’ll still get fat (and probably very sick).

So, no, dirty cutting isn’t a myth because cutting isn’t a myth. As long as you have the discipline to count your calories, you’re free to eat whatever delicacies you want. 

Things to Keep In Mind

Before you jump in and start cutting while being on a diet of burgers, fries, and pizzas, there are a few key things to note. The first critical piece of information is that your body needs its micronutrients. Surprising, isn’t it? You don’t have to be obsessed with your micronutrients, but you’ll still have to make sure you eat enough healthy foods to keep your body up and running. Try and mix in some healthy foods with the unhealthy ones so that your body doesn’t dry out on these essential nutrients. 

Another thing to remember is that dirty cutting shouldn’t be a long-term thing. It’s just as sustainable as 100% clean eating all the time. You have to mix things up from time to time so that your body doesn’t start adapting to anything. If you eat dirty all the time and maintain a high calorific deficit then not only will you be deprived of essential micronutrients, but you’ll also be slowing down your metabolism.

Deviating from your macros might not be bad in the short term, however, the detrimental effects will start showing up in 2-3 months. This is why you shouldn’t keep on eating only dirty foods continuously for more than a couple of months at max. If you can stick to these guidelines and follow a proper schedule, you’ll benefit a lot from a dirty cut which will be much more flexible and satisfying in the long term.