While most of those who visit the gym wont need to bother with this cycle, for anyone serious about bodybuilding it is essential that they know when they should cut after a bulk.
9 Part Guide to Bigger CHEST (if clicking doesn't work- right click and hit "Save link As")
Note: This is a Guest Post from Jay of Skinny2Fit.
What is bulking?
It is important to remember that rather than cutting activity levels that you instead increase calorie intake when bulking.
Protein is essential for muscle protein synthesis, but you should also ensure that you are consuming good fats and carbs too.
While bulking there are to methods you can use. You can either eat everything in sight without giving a second thought to the excess body fat you will gain, or you can go for a more methodical method.
This second method would involve you tracking your macros and calorie intake, and while a more complicated method is the best for ensuring maximum muscle gain with minimal body fat increase.
With the second method you should keep track of how your body is changing week on week. Increase your calorie intake gradually, and if you are noticing that your body fat is increasing too rapidly then cut back a little.
What is cutting?
It is probably not a surprise that cutting is the opposite of bulking. So instead of increasing your calorie intake and creating a surplus, you will now need to create a calorie deficit.
A deficit will force your body to burn off the excess body fat gaining during the bulking process.Follow @AboutLifting
Again, as with bulking the best method is to cut back on your calorie intake slowly over a long period.
Your aim is to maintain the muscle gained while bulking, while dropping your body fat percentage.Follow @AboutLifting
To help you to achieve this I would recommend maintaining your protein intake. Perhaps try to reduce your calories by cutting back on a few carbs.
How to work out your calorie intake?
The Mifflin MS St Jeor Equation is the best method you can use to work out how many calories you should be consuming:
- Male: 10 x Body Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (Y) + 5 = REE
- Female: 10 x Body Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (Y) – 161 = REE
This formula gives you your Resting Energy Expenditure, which is the total number of calories you burn while sedentary.
The next step is to look at how active your lifestyle is and how many calories are needed to maintain your current weight:
- Sedentary (REE x 1.2)
- Light Activity (REE x 1.375)
- Moderate Activity (REE x 1.55)
- Very Active (REE x 1.725)
Of course this tells only part of the story, you also need to look at what type of foods or macros you consume.
It is recommended that your protein intake is between 2.3 and 3.1g per kg in bodyweight. That means that if you weighed 90kg you would need to consume 207-279g per day.
You should also aim to consume 15-30% of your calories from fats, and the remaining calories from carbohydrates.
Remember to bulk you need a calorie surplus, and to cut a calorie deficit.
When should you be cutting?
The short answer to this question is it depends, and will be determined by an individual and their own needs.
You should plan each step in advance, so determine how long you are going to bulk for and your end goal. Again, you should plan your cut in advance too.
This is doubly important if you are serious about your training and wish to bulk in the off-season then cut ready for the start of competitions.
If you have bulked correctly and gained minimal fat then the cutting process wont take too long. You should be able to get competition ready in just a few months.
Just remember to take it slowly, to ensure not only that you are not gaining too much fat while bulking, but also not losing too much muscle mass while cutting.