It is common to cycle between “bulking” and “cutting” in order to get ripped.
To build muscle mass, create a surplus calories during the bulking phase.
You create a calorie deficit during the cutting phase to lose any extra fat that you gained during the bulking phase.
This is a very popular method, but does it really work?
Do you really have to choose between bulking and cutting? Or can you achieve both simultaneously?
Here are the facts.
Introduction to Bulking and cutting
Bulking and cutting are two different processes. This is why some bodybuilders prefer one goal at a given time.
Krista Maguire (R.D.), C.S.S.D. and Beachbody nutrition manager, says that bulging, or building muscle is an anabolic process. “Cutting or losing weight is a catabolic process (breaking it down).
It is possible to pursue both of these goals simultaneously.
Maguire says that it is difficult to do both simultaneously, but not impossible if one finds the right balance and takes things slowly. This is called body recomposition.
How do you achieve that perfect balance?
She explains that in addition to weight training and resistance, it is important to have a moderate caloric deficit. However, this will allow you to eat enough protein to build and maintain lean muscle.
It doesn’t matter if you are bulking or cutting simultaneously, or switching between them, consistency in your nutrition and exercise routine is key.
How to Bulk
Gelhbach explains that bulking is about gaining as much muscle as possible.
You can achieve this goal without gaining weight. To do so, you will need to be more challenging during strength training and ensure you are getting enough calories and protein to support your muscle growth.
Bulking requires a calorie surplus.
Maguire advises, “Increase your calories over maintenance mode, but not too crazy.”
However, if you are creating a surplus by eating empty calories (a.k.a. “dirty bulking”), your body will likely store those extra calories as fat. Your body will store these extra calories as fat if you do “dirty bulking”.
It is important to pay attention to where your extra calories come from.
Maguire advises, “Focus your strength training and consuming sufficient high-quality protein for refuelling and building lean body mass.”
You should aim to consume between 20 and 30 grams of protein each meal.
Maguire says that more protein doesn’t always mean better. Research shows that 20 grams of protein per dinner is significantly better for muscle protein synthesis than 40 grams.
A Workout Plan to Bulk
Gehlbach states that hypertrophy can be achieved by lifting heavier weights and stimulating growth.
He says that you can achieve this by using a range of rep ranges (8 to 15 reps per set would be a good starting point) and by incorporating training techniques such as supersets, drop sets and forced reps.
It is a good rule of thumb to choose a weight that will challenge you to do six to twelve reps.
Gehlbach states that rest periods between sets should allow you to take a deep breath, and then perform the exercise with perfection technique.
This means that you should limit your rest between sets to no more than 90 seconds.
How to Cut
Matt Gehlbach C.S.C.S. owner of Garage Gym Fit, states that “the goal of cutting” is to lose fat and preserve muscle mass.
He says, “You must ensure that you are getting enough protein to prevent your body from starting to break down muscle tissue for fuel.” To maintain the muscle you have, you must train hard.
Nutrition for cutting
Maguire states that a moderate caloric deficit is necessary to preserve or build lean muscle.
This is the keyword.
Maguire says that you need to ensure you are still getting enough calories, protein, and other nutrients to fuel your muscle growth. This could mean you lose weight slower than you would normally expect from following a diet plan for weight loss.
Maguire suggests aiming to consume 1.2 to 1.75 grams of protein per kg body weight each day.
She recommends that this should be spread evenly throughout the day, with “ideally 20-30 grams of protein per meal or snack to maximize protein synthesis.”
For cutting, you need a workout plan
Cardio may be the first thing you think about when it comes to fat-burning exercises.
Strength training can help you lose fat quickly and get your heart beating faster.
“Strength training should be sufficient, especially if it focuses primarily on compound movements like deadlifts and squats as well as rows and presses,” states Steve Theunissen, an R.D.N. and ISSA/IFPA certified personal trainer and author at Smart Fitness Results.
Theunissen suggests following a regular weight-training program that includes strength training and full-body exercises to reduce weight.
Rest periods should be limited to 60 seconds.
How to Bulk and Cut Right
How can I cut and bulk my hair?
These tips will help you choose the right approach for you.
1. Pinpoint your strategy
Some bodybuilders prefer to address cutting and bulking separately, in an alternating fashion as part of their body transformation plan.
The bulking phase is usually the first. This involves gaining as much muscle as you can and then cutting down on any excess weight.
You may find it easier to stick with a consistent routine that allows you to cut and bulk simultaneously.
LIIFT4 is an example of a program that combines intense cardio with heavy lifting to help you lose weight, build muscle and transform your body in just four days.
2. Be committed
Gehlbach states that it is possible to lose weight and build muscle. However, it requires a lot more effort and dedication.
It is important to improve your nutrition, eat lots of protein, and train consistently.
Gehlbach says, “If you stick to that diet and maintain a clean eating pattern, you should be able lose fat without losing muscle.”
3. Don’t skip R&R
This is crucial! This is crucial!
It is important to get enough sleep each night to support muscle recovery.
How to Bulk and Trim to Transform Your Body, The Beachbody Blog