Bulking And Cutting: What Is It And How To Do It Right
If you have been in the fitness world long enough, then you have probably heard of the bulk and cut strategy. It says that to build muscle mass you need to put on weight by eating a lot more calories than your used to, along with workouts that focus on larger muscle groups. This will increase your weight in the form of both fat and muscle. Then when you get to a certain weight you start the cutting phase. Which you eat fewer calories to lose fat. This is supposed to increase your muscle production in a healthy way. The bulking and cutting usually takes place in cycles.
The Bulking Phase
This is where the magic happens. In the bulking phase of your journey you want to increase your calorie intake substantially to gain muscle and also fat. (Don’t get crazy- I’ll explain later.)
The bulking phase is simple. Eat, eat some more, and eat again. Too confusing? It shouldn’t be.
As you bulk, ask yourself this question, “Am I eating?” If the answer is no, then you need to change that. Well that’s probably an exaggeration, but still, you should make it your job to eat as much as you can. But just eating foods won’t give you the results you’re looking for either. You also have to eat foods that are healthy.
Just because you eat a lot of food at a fast food place doesn’t mean your implementing the bulking stage correctly. You have to be eating lean healthy foods, you know, the kinds of foods that you know are healthy, I don’t have to tell you.
The way to implement this healthy diet, but still be able to stuff your face with food, will be an article by itself, but for right now, let’s just talk about the basics.
Goals When Bulking
- Eat as much as you can, to a point where you feel like you’re going to throw up. (Don’t worry in all my experience I have never thrown up.) This could be done with multiple smaller meals throughout the day or could be done with bigger meals a couple of times a days.
- Make sure you are eating from healthy sources, like complex carbs, vegetables, fruits, dairy, etc. No fast food!
- Eat as much dairy as you can. The best dairy products to consume when bulking are eggs and milk.
- The extra calories your body will take in, will promote a high protein synthesis in your body, which will in return give you more muscle. As your body gets used to the overload of food, your stomach will get larger so you can eat more. The more you eat the more you will gain potential muscle mass. I say potential because it’s up to you on if that excess amount of nutrients remains fat or muscle. Which leads us to…
Common Concerns With Bulking And What You Should Look Out For
A lot of people say that in the bulking phase you shouldn’t eating in excess amounts because you will only gain fat and that weight will only be lost in the cutting stage. They say that this is the “wrong way.” Well, screw them. This is not the case, at least not for me. Although, yes depending on body type you may want to keep an eye on your weight in the bulking stage, but it shouldn’t worry you, you can always lose that fat in the cutting stage.
As you eat everything in sight, you will gain more muscle than fat, that is, if you are religiously working out. Here’s a great workout I outlined in a previous article.
Don’t worry about adding fat in the bulking phase, no matter what you do, you will at lease gain a little fat, it’s inevitable. But if you gain too much fat you should eat less. Maybe stop drinking milk or something that is causing an over wanted amount of fat, but still eat a lot of carbs.
The Cutting Stage
If you are a skinny guy like me, then this shouldn’t be that hard for you. Just stop eating the diet you did too bulk up. You will lose the little fat you accumulated and then your muscles will be more defined.
But if you have a hard time losing that fat then you should implement cardio in to your regular workout routine. Running longer than half in hour, every time I workout burned all of my excess fat.
You should still be eating a healthy diet, but just a lot less food than you did in the bulking stage. You should also be concerned more with the protein consumption rather than carbs. Protein will help you shed that extra layer of fat faster.
Putting It All Together: There Are No Rules
Some people associate bulking and cutting with cycles. If you have a set time limit on your cycles then that’s fine, but I personally do not like that thinking. I generally determine my transitions from a bulk stage to a cut stage by taking inventory of my body. How does it look? Does it look like I need to bulk or cut? Or if I want to get crazy I’ll set a desired weight that I want to achieve.