Author: Troy Theodosiou
Bulking and cutting are two very different things that are done mostly by bodybuilders and athletes. They tend to bulk up to put on muscle and then cut down, usually before a competition.
A person would “bulk” when their primary goal is to build muscle.
Bulking does not mean eat whatever you like because ‘you’re bulking’ so put down the takeaway menu! To bulk the smart way, keep to the ultimate goal which is to build muscle whilst keeping fat gain to a minimum and maintaining a healthy balanced diet. After all, it is muscle you want to gain right? At some point, you’ve got to get that fat off so don’t make this stage harder for yourself!
A person would “cut” when their primary goal is to lose fat.
When cutting, the ultimate goal is to lose fat whilst maintaining all of the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build. You should then alternate between phases of bulking up and cutting down until you’re as lean and muscular as you desire. If you do it the wrong way you’ll gain too much excess body fat while bulking and/or lose too much lean muscle while cutting down – you’ll basically spin your wheels and get nowhere!
Which phase should you start with?
For the majority of people bulking before cutting makes the most sense. Building a good solid base of muscle before stripping away excess fat to reveal the muscle below. Having said this, if you are already extremely overweight your primary goal may be to lose fat, so I would suggest a fat loss diet to get your weight under control before returning to the bulking phase and back to cutting (should you desire).
It is possible to gain muscle whilst dropping fat but completing the phases separately will give you maximum results. In order to cut down, you need to use more calories than you take in. In order to bulk up, you’ve got to take in larger amounts of calories to support the strenuous training sessions. As you can see it would be pretty difficult (but not impossible) to do both of these things simultaneously. Remember to bulk smart and eat clean and then you shouldn’t need to spend every waking moment during the cutting stage on the stair master.
Whether you choose to do the bulking vs cutting phases or both, make sure you are doing it properly. Slow and steady is the best way to go so that your body has time to adapt to the changes properly.
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