Bulking and cutting aren’t only meant for weight trainers. Anyone looking to get in shape, and muscle up can do it and benefit from it. Whether you’re a newbie to weightlifting or searching for ways to build muscle, this is the best way to achieve your fitness goals. No argument there.
Why Even Do it?
The sole reason why people decide to go through this cycle is to gain muscle. The two phases always go hand in hand, because each one targets a different goal. When bulking ,you have to consume more calories than you need, meaning that you’ll be eating a lot more than you normally would.
This helps you build muscle. Afterwards, it is followed by a period known as cutting, where you do the opposite – you consume much fewer calories. This phase allows you to shed the extra fat that you gained from bulking, leaving you behind with a lean muscular physique.
This phase prepares your body to build more muscle. This is done when you are eating calories (particularly protein) in surplus. Your body uses the extra calories to repair your muscle tissue after a workout, allowing them to grow bigger in size. This phase can last up to six months and sometimes longer.
What To Eat
Our muscles are made up of protein and amino acids. That’s why during this phase, experts recommend eating tons of protein to gain the proper nutrients to build muscle.
Here’s a few suggested foods to incorporate in your diet during this period:
- Lean protein: chicken, Greek yogurt, beef
- Quality carbs: brown/white rice, sweet potatoes
- Fruits and vegetables: berries, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, etc.
However, bulking does not mean you can eat whatever you want. Eating junk will only bring fat into your body, and could hamper your progress towards a fit body.
How Many Calories are Enough?
You must first determine how many calories you need to consume to maintain your weight. There are plenty of online weight calculators that can give you this information. To have a ballpark of how many calories you need to increase your weight, add another 10-20% to your daily calorie.
For example, let’s say Alex is a 5’5 tall female who weighs 135 pounds. She needs to consume 1881 daily calories to maintain her current weight. That means that if she’s looking to bulk, she needs to consume at least 2069 calories a day. For someone not used to eating this much, this could be a lot more than what they’re used to.
If you’re getting tired of eating, protein shakes and other alternatives make it easier to reach your target calorie intake. Depending on your fitness goals, bulking anywhere from 1 month to 8 months works.
More calories mean more energy in your system to take on a killer workout. You’ll find yourself lifting heavier, going for more reps and overall higher intensity workouts as a result. And if you’re worried you can’t get a burning workout in from home, we’ve got you covered.
Mighty Fitness offers barbells, kettlebells, weights that go up to hundreds and all gym equipment in general that you might need to continually challenge yourself at home.
Picture this. You’re standing in front of a mirror and you notice, you’ve definitely put on some weight(as intended), and you feel strong and energetic, but you still can’t flex your muscles. I know, I’d be disheartened too. But don’t despair.
This is a sign that it's the right time to stop eating at a caloric surplus, and start cutting. Your muscles are there, but you can’t see them because they’re covered in fat. So, the sole purpose here is to trim down that extra fat, and get you in shape.
What To Eat
During this period, you’ll be eating much fewer calories, even less than your maintenance calorie intake. The reason for this is that when you’re not meeting your maintenance calorie count, your body starts to burn fat, to make up for it, shedding all excess fat off your body.
Here’s a few suggestions for your diet plan during this period:
- Lean protein: chicken, fish, beef
- Low carb: quinoa, brown rice
- Lots of liquids: low sugar drinks, water, black tea/coffee.
How Many Calories are Enough?
The general rule is to consume around 500 calories less than your maintenance calorie intake. Like our previous example, Alex who normally needs 1881 calories to maintain her weight, so she needs to lower her calorie intake to around 1381 instead for this phase.
The cutting cycle can be really difficult, especially in the very beginning. As a suggestion, consume lots of liquid to make yourself feel fuller. Luckily for you, this cycle doesn’t have to last as long as bulking. It generally takes around 2-4 months to shed the fat.
When you workout during the period, you will notice your body tiring out more easily or it’s hard to do as many reps as you used to. This is all because you’re working out on a reduced number of carbs and energy in your system. Just know that this is completely normal and expected.
Always consult with a doctor before you go on this cyclical diet. Additionally, you should only go through bulking and cutting if it aligns with your desired fitness goals.
So, if you’re simply looking to lose weight, then won’t get you the results you want. It definitely requires some self-discipline and training to undergo this cycle properly. But trust us, here at Mighty Fitness when we say the results are completely worth it - we believe in you and we’re right there beside you!