Ever wondered what bulking and cutting meant and how you could go about doing both things?
Well, I have put together all the key facts for you in this post.
Bodybuilding is all about these two things and I will explain them to you so that you can start building your body the right way ASAP.
What is Bulking?
In the cold winter months, most bodybuilders usually opt to get big or bulk up. Simply put, bulking is eating more food and training harder to add a significant muscle mass.
The period of time taken to bulk up is known as a bulking phase.
For a bulking phase to be successful, it ought to be done the right way. Otherwise, you may end up adding more fat weight than muscle weight resulting in a look that you will not like.
A well-planned bulking phase will build you a massive but powerful physique with very little fat.
And it will make the cutting phase easier and shorter resulting in a ripped physique that is competition and beach-ready.
Lastly, bulking is the main part of bodybuilding.
If you do not do it, there is very little chance that your body will end up looking as good as you expect it to be, especially as a man.
When to bulk up?
The successful bodybuilders, I know, bulk up after dieting for a bit.
By dieting, I mean eating less than they need to maintain their current bodyweight.
So if you weigh whatever number of pounds, you should first get losing pounds for a couple of weeks until you see a four pack.
When you do this and then you start bulking, I tell you your body will be sponge.
It will absorb all the nutrients you will be consuming and building you up efficiently to become what you want to become.
Of course, you can start bulking up right now or tomorrow but if you want the bulking phase to be very effective for you, you should prime your body up by dieting and lowering your body fat percentage first.
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Bulking phase vital facts
- The bulking phase will always increase your body fat
Whether you are clean bulking (eating the right foods) or dirty bulking (eating all kinds of food including junk food) to bulk up, you will increase your body fat.
This is because bulking fundamentally involves eating excess calories than what your body needs.
Some of the excess calories will build up your muscles, while the rest will be converted into fat for storage.
- The bulking phase must involve heavy training
You cannot bulk up without heavy training. Heavy training is what will force your body to convert protein calories into muscle.
So work out hard several times a week to jolt your body into building more muscles to support the new strength and power demands on your physique.
- A well-balanced protein-rich diet is necessary
Protein is what is needed to build muscle. If your diet does not involve focusing on protein, most of the mass you will gain will be body fat.
To bulk up you need to increase your protein intake to 1.5g for every pound of your bodyweight. This means that if you weigh 220 pounds, you will need to consume at least 330g (220 x 1.5g) of protein daily.
The best sources of protein include salmon, egg whites, tuna, lean meats, turkey, chicken, dairy, and beans.
You also need to similarly increase your intake of complex (slow digesting) carbs such as brown bread, brown rice, cassava, wholegrain, sweet potato, to give your body the energy to grow.
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What is cutting?
Cutting is the opposite of bulking.
The cutting phase involves reducing your daily caloric intake to a number of calories lower than what you need to maintain your current bodyweight.
Doing this, will put your body in a caloric deficit. When your body is in this state, it will turn to stored fat for daily energy resulting in the reduction of stored fat.
The cutting phase is often the second phase after the bulking phase.
Its purpose is primarily to cut away all the fat gained when during the bulking phase, which, as explained, involves increasing one’s caloric intake.
For a successful cutting phase, you need to change what you eat and how you exercise in the gym. As for what you eat, you need to, generally, start eating less.
As for exercise, you need to incorporate plenty of cardio and other fat-burning exercises to start burning more calories daily.
When to cut?
Cutting only comes after bulking. It is never the other way round.
This is because cutting is a very serious and dedicated way of losing fat weight. If you don’t have plenty of fat weight to cut, you will become extremely lean like a long distance runner.
If that is what you are going for, then by all means, go for it. But if you want to go a bodybuilder kind of lean, you should only cut after a proper and well-executed bulking phase.
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Cutting phase vital facts
- Cutting involves reducing your caloric intake
If you don’t reduce the quantity of calories you consume daily, it is unlikely that you will record any success in the cutting phase.
It is suggested that you should calculate your daily number of maintenance calories and reduce them by 10 to 15 percent. Doing this will create a caloric deficit and force your body to consume stored fat.
- You must engage in plenty of cardio to cut
Changing your diet and eating slightly less than what your body needs will force you to burn stored fat.
Cardio exercises will help you to burn even more fat.
Other exercises also help with fat burning. Research them and include them in your training schedule.
- Successful bodybuilders tweak their cutting diets and routines
If you are not losing enough weight every week, you should change your diet and routines. You should perhaps cut out certain foods or eat even less.
As for routines you may need to train even more or run longer distances on the treadmill.
Bulking Vs Cutting
As you can see in the paragraphs above, bulking and cutting are two very different things.
There is no bulking vs cutting dilemma because the two phases have different objectives.
You should bulk if you want to build muscle and cut if you want to lose body fat. It is only logical that you bulk first and then cut as explained earlier.
Is it Possible to Bulk and Cut at Same Time?
Not really. The two are different things and they need to be done separately in phases to achieve the best results.
You can obviously try to eat more and work out really hard at the same time to minimize increase in body fat weight.
However, it is better to just bulk properly first and then to cut later. Focusing on one phase at a time will give you better results.