A very common question and misconception is if we should bulk or cut. If you want to know what cutting is and what bulking is, which will suit you best and why you want to keep reading this post.
What is Bulking?
Bulking is when you gain weight consciously (with the purpose being gaining muscle) this is often referred as “off-season”.
A typical bulking season in the old days of bodybuilding consisted in just eating as many calories as possible and focus on a really high protein diet. Some even went as far as adding a gallon of milk per day to gain weight.
While all of these strategies may work for some to gain weight, they are not the best way to build lean muscle. And if your goal is aesthetics, health and real progress, these may not be the best strategies for you out there.
Why lean bulking is the best option for natural lifters
The problem with doing an old school bulk, also known as a “dirty bulk” is that you do gain lots of weight, but the majority of that weight ends up being body fat. Body fat is not bad by itself, but that is simply not the goal when doing a proper bulk, the goal of doing a proper bulk is maximizing you muscle gains.
Since muscle building is a slow process and the more you gain the more it takes to gain, bulking if you are a beginner or intermediate should be about this:
- Slowly gain weight
- Slowly gain strength
For more about bulking, check out this article: How to gain muscle and weight
When should you bulk?
If you are starting in a bodyfat percentage relatively low (around 10%-12% bodyfat) and you are interested in gaining muscle and strenght you should bulk. I don’t really advise to bulk if you are on a higher bodyfat percentage, but if you are okay with looking a little soft for a while, you can still bulk on around 15% bodyfat until you get to 20% bodyfat. Is that simple!
You should aim to gain around 2 pounds per month, or .5 pounds per week.
What is Cutting?
Cutting is the opposite of bulking, you will be in a caloric deficit and will try to lose FAT not muscle. You will lose fat and you should be losing weight to get to a lower bodyfat percentage. Getting around 10-12% bodyfat for men of 20-22% bodyfat for women is a good standard.
For all the specifics of cutting, check out this article: How to lose weight and maintain it
You should lose around 1-2 pounds per week for a succesful cut.
When should you cut?
If you are overweight, or you are in a high bodyfat percentage, you should cut. Make sure that you choose a bodyfat percentage that suits your life, for example some men can stay around 15% bodyfat and look/feel great.
If you are going in a vacation and want to look better, or going to the beach, you should cut to reveal that muscle definition. Once you are done with your cut, you can maintain that bodyfat percentage and keep training or you can go into a lean bulk.
That’s it for cutting and bulking, do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments!