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The thing is, how successful these bulking and cutting cycles have been for you in the past and how successful they will be for you in the future depends on a bunch of factors, the most important of which may just be understanding what these terms DO and DO NOT mean and applying them accordingly. Honestly, they are just stupid words used to describe building muscle and losing fat.
The final constant about the scenarios these words entail is that they are typically done in alternating cycles. You know… bulk for X amount of time, then cut for Y amount of time or vice-versa depending on your initial goal. This is how countless people have gone about trying to reach their fat loss and muscle building goals for decades and will likely still do it decades from now.
What sucks about these words is that they lack details and specifics. The general concept of each is well known and widely agreed upon, but exactly how those concepts should be applied will vary.
The typical old-school approach to bulking up tends to take things literally. There is some truth to this of course, as a caloric surplus is definitely required for building muscle.
What this means is that there is also a limit to the amount of calories the human body can actually put towards the process of muscle growth. It just leads to you getting fat as hell. See, once you have supplied your body with the extra calories it needs to build muscle, any additional calories you consume beyond that point will just be stored as fat.
And with this style of bulking where little to no attention is put on monitoring calories, and the attempted rate of weight gain is often hilariously high , this is something that always ends up happening. But who gives a shit? No one wants to unnecessarily gain extra fat, period.
Even the super skinny. But, all of the advice I was hearing at the time made it seem like someone as skinny as I was needed to ignore everything and just eat a ton.
Eat big, get big, right? Why should someone who is barely lbs and the width of a broomstick waste time closely monitoring their calorie intake or try to gain weight at a slower more moderate pace?
Someone with my body type should be gaining 20lbs in the next 10 weeks!!! And do you know what happened? I built some muscle, but I also got fat as hell in the process. So fat that looking back at those pictures right now still makes me feel terrible. One day I may even fight the embarrassment and post them as proof that a super skinny guy can easily become disgustingly fat as a result of old-school bulking methods and just eating big with no real regard for closely monitoring the exact extent of the caloric surplus and the rate of weight gain taking place.
Even for the super skinny. Because the majority of that weight will always be fat, not muscle. Trust me, I know. And I know how tempting the thought of fast weight gain is to someone super skinny.
I also know how the weight gain feels awesome at first regardless of what the composition of that weight is. Instead, the goal here is to build quality lean muscle mass while keeping fat gains to an absolute minimum.
The same goes for the rate of weight gain. Since muscle can only be gained so fast, the focus is on slow and gradual yet still consistent increases in body weight to ensure muscle is being gained without a ton of fat coming with it. But the goal should be to adjust diet and training to ensure the ratio of muscle to fat gain is as ideal as it can possibly be.
The typical old-school approach to cutting is really about just losing weight as fast as possible. If all of that sounds right to you, then please have a close friend or family member kick you square in the nuts or, for those without nuts, somewhere equally attention-getting. And believe me, when following these methods… you can bet your ass that a significant amount of the weight you lose will be quality lean muscle instead of body fat.
And now for the new-school approach to cutting. This is really just the smarter way to cut. The goal here is to lose body fat while maintaining all of your hard-earned muscle and strength. Similarly, the rest of the diet plan especially protein intake is set up accordingly to suit the goal of preserving muscle while losing fat in a way that is the perfect combination of highly effective, enjoyable and sustainable.
So whereas an old-school cut ends with you having lost fat but also a significant amount of muscle and strength right along with it, a new-school cut ends with the desired amount of fat being lost without any problem, and muscle and strength levels maintained perfectly or, in some cases, possibly even increased.
Feel free to check it out: And alternating between these types of bulk and cut cycles is really the ultimate recipe for disaster. Sounds pretty terrible, huh? No real new muscle or strength, and not really any leaner either. Just spinning your wheels.
Anyone who does is an idiot, and you can tell them I said so. That means if your goal is building muscle, bulk in a way that allows you to slowly but optimally build that muscle while simultaneously keeping fat gains to an absolute minimum. Superior Muscle Growth is tailor made for this exact purpose. If your goal is to lose fat, cut in a way that allows you to lose that fat optimally while simultaneously maintaining all of your lean muscle mass at the same time.
Wondering which phase to start with first? I just had one follow up question. Are they more effective if they are shorter or longer? That will vary based on each person and their specific starting point, experience level, goals and preferences for how fat or lean they want or can tolerate getting.
I was told there are two types of fats, one locates beneath your skin and the other reside in or around your internal organs. When cutting I always find that my libido goes out the window. What I hear is that this is not uncommon and kinda comes with the territory. Is this your experience too and any tips to minimise or even avoid this?? Beyond that, I got 2 words for ya… calorie cycling.
This is the easiest I can remember it being for sure. Jay…how much cardio do you recommend during a cutting phase? At what point does cardio become too much cardio? The right way this time.
In addition to my own time in the gym, I usually go to a spin class once a day with my wife. By the way…just finished the Best Workout Routines…completely awesome. Definitely a core book for me from now on. Thanks for putting the time into it.
It depends on the specific person. For example, the intensity walking 4 days a week is nothing compared to doing HIIT 4 days a week. Not to mention, it depends on how or if your weight training routine is being adjusted to compensate for the cardio being done.
So another example… someone doing 2 lower body workouts per week who wants to add in some HIIT would be wise to maybe drop one of those lower body workouts to compensate for the added stress of HIIT. I will write it at some point, I swear. I mean, playing basketball while bulking just gives me a bigger job to do in terms of now having to eat more to make up for the extra calories burned.
But, I like playing basketball. Thanks for the info. To less than desired effect. And no, I meant that we do a class just about every day we can depending on my work schedule, ect. Obviously if you have some sort of conditioning related goal in mind, this changes. But if you just want to get really lean and not lose muscle in the process, I generally recommend no cardio for fat loss, or, if anything, some low intensity walking possibly fasted on your off days from weight training.
But cutting back is doable. My questions is whatis, what is the best way to start if you are a beginner who needs to lose at least 15 lbs but also wants to gain 10lbs muscle hence the beginner status. Not sure what to do if goal is to loose weight and gain muscle at same time. The fatter you are when you start, the worse calorie partitioning will be which means the worse your ratio of muscle to fat gains will be.
Good question, but it would take a full article to answer it properly. So going with that silly old school cutting method can still result in muscle loss even in that situation. Third, in that situation a fat beginner , the person would actually have the short term ability to build some muscle while losing that fat.
I still have excess fat around my lower stomach and back, but in general I look good. I have not yet bulked once since I started gym almost a yr ago I have been following a similar program to the new style cutting.
My personal goal is to get lean whilst keeping the muscle I have got, however would I be beeter off building more bulking then cutting as I have never bulked before? Geeting rid of the excess fat on the stomach is probably most important to me. Two things instantly stand out here. Largely due to a long period of being out of shape and being the fattest I had ever been in my life , I dieted for for about 4 months and hit my goal quite successfully.
From 92kg now 75kg. The experience gave me an understanding of the feed back I get from my body, and I have been hovering quite successfully between I almost do it sub-consciously. Glad to hear it dude. It sounds like a pretty solid approach.
Hi, good informative article!!! What is my goal weight before cut?