Will higher repetitions with shorter rest intervals make me “cut”?

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NASM nailed it but I want to offer an addition to the answer.  Your basic metabolic rate or resting metabolic rate is largely dependent on the amount of muscle that you carry.  If you have more muscle it takes more calories to maintain the muscle and relatively your body will burn a greater amount of calories at rest (or i.e. metabolism).

A huge mistaken is made when repetitions get too high because too high of repetitions generally results in less weight being used and a greater aerobic versus anaerobic state.  If you at least maintain your muscle you will not see as significant or any drop in your resting metabolic rate and therefore you can get more cut quicker.  So yes reduction of body fat is the key to getting cut but so is the maintenance or building of lean muscle tissue.

Think of a balloon.  A balloon that is red when blown up turns pink because the wall of the balloon is stretched and therefore becomes more transparent.  Definition of the body is no different.  The key is to get the skin as thin as possible (reduction of body fat) but then to make things as transparent as possible by increasing lean muscle (or maintaining) as much as possible.  

If you train lighter you will lose muscle and although you will be lean you will not be as transparent because you are reducing lean muscle tissue.  However that lean tone look comes from a combination of the amount of muscle in your body in relation to the amount of stored body fat you have.

In general I will say lighter training is not advisable for getting cut, you can still accomplish the look you desire with higher reps.  The key is your focus on building muscle, you can build muscle using 12-20 reps if you are being progressive and continually increasing your intensity and amount of weight used for the same repetition range.

If you purely are going high reps with short rest (in a circuit) you will not necessarily get more cut.  However if you are maintaining your muscle or building muscle by going higher reps and shorter rest and using more weight or more reps each workout and getting leaner then yes, then you will get more cut.

In my opinion the goal is a caloric balance that reduces fat and weight training program in the 6-12 rep range that has a focus on increasing overall skeletal muscle.

The only way to get cut is to lose bodyfat. Getting cut or leaner means that you have reduced your bodyfat to a level that allows you to see muscle separation and striations (the rippled lines in muscle). This is achieved through a combination of exercise and a calorie-restricted diet that focuses on fat loss. You can workout as hard or as long as you want, but if your calorie intake is not less than your calorie burn, you will not lose fat and you will not get cut.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.