A Quick and Easy Guide to Bulking and Cutting

For a long time now, many people have been doing “bulking” and “cutting” cycles in an effort to build a great physique. Bodybuilders at Club Fitness talk about it all the time. A bulking cycle is a phase in which you eat a surplus of food and then bodybuilding to grow muscle mass. After this phase, you will proceed to the “cutting” cycle in which you eat significantly less than what you consumed during the previous phase (caloric deficit) to burn fat without losing muscle.

Bulking for Beginners

During the bulk phase, you should be aiming for a caloric surplus so you can have significant muscle growth. Your caloric surplus needs to be monitored and controlled. Don’t overdo it and instead, eat slightly above your maintenance calorie requirement. You can use apps like MyFitnessPal to get an estimate of how much calories you need to target, and also to keep track of how many calories you’ve consumed so far.

You also need to consume a substantial amount of carbs on top of a moderate amount of fat and protein. When bulking up, you don’t want to go with a low-carb diet. In this phase your body needs glycogen to power heavy lifts.

At the gym, you should focus on moderate rep-range and lift heavy. The point of bulking is to grow more muscle mass which means you should lift heavy with about 8-12 reps for each set.  Focus on specific muscle groups and base your workouts around squat, bench press and other compound lifts while adding assistance exercises.

Finally, steer clear of dirty bulking. This pertains to eating junk food in an effort to bulk up. You will most certainly gain weight when you consume lots of junk food but you’ll gain fat, not muscle. When you build more fat instead of muscle, your cutting phase will be very difficult to do.

Cutting for Beginners

While the objective of bulking is to have a caloric surplus, with cutting you need a caloric deficit.  That means you should keep your calorie intake below maintenance.

The thing is, you should not resort to fad diets during the cutting phase. You might think you need to consume as few calories as possible to get the best results but this is not the case at all. It’s a lot more important to get all the essential nutrients and take time to achieve your fitness goals. What you can do is to supplement your diet with activities that get your heart rate up. Basically you need to do a lot of cardio exercises and HIIT workouts to burn more calories in a shorter span of time.

During your cutting phase, you should also increase your protein intake. It’s a lot more necessary to have more protein during the cut phase than the bulk phase because it prevents muscle wasting.

Strength training should be done during this phase, in addition to your cardio. However because you’re in the cutting cycle, don’t expect significant gains. You can focus on resistance training to help maintain muscle mass.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning to incorporate bulking and cutting into your fitness regime, it’s important to have a good understanding of the benefits and the risks.

Here’s a guide to know more about bulking and cutting:

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