How were your workouts the last week?
I’m now finished with my HST cycle and testing my new strength this week, after that, i’ll design a new plan for me.
But for today, i’ll share a few thoughts on the following with you:
Bulking and Cutting
Everyone who does BB wants to either build up mass or lose bodyfat, or both, preferably. There are many opinions around how to do it best.
Obviously, the exact plan depends on the individuals starting point. It makes a difference if you’re an advanced bodybuilder who wants to lose the last 10 lbs of fat before a competition, or if you’re a beginner who’s first goal is a loss of 60 lbs.
- The diet
In my opinion, bulking and cutting in BB are NOT that far apart as many seem to think. The principles for bulking i’ve stated before. Of course, both, bulking and cutting, require to adjust your diet also, not only the workout.
For both goals, some general things apply.
- Don’t eat too much in one meal. Eating too much will prevent fast digestion, slow the metabolism and make you feel bloated and fat
The nutritients can be absorbed better if you only eat a small portion.
- Drink water. Everything else is not a drink, but food (except tea). Drink enough that your urine is clear, not dark.
- Fresh fruits and veggies!
- Whole grains are better than white ones.
- Eat as much organic as you can afford. It’s not only better for your body, as it contains less chemicals, it also supports more environmental friendly ways of agriculturing.
- Enjoy every meal.
- Listen to your body! Never eat “when you must”, or don’t eat when you’re hungry.
- Try to eat as few as possible of the following: processed, industrial, pre-made food, especially those containing: artificial flavour, artificial sweetener, artificial color, preservatives, hydrogenated fat, modified starch, flavour enhancer (sodium glutamat), and so on.
I do NOT believe that you can only build muscle when you’re on a high calorie diet, i mean, taking in more calories than you need. Of course this will lead to weight gains, but who wants to gain fat?
I know that you can build muscle without taking in so much calories. The keys are proper amount of protein, rest and an intelligent workout. If your program is specifically desigend for it, you can even burn fat and at the same time build muscle. There are limitations to this, though. An intense program like that shouldn’t be followed over a long time.
Beginners usually do automatically lose fat AND gain muscle. That is possible for advanced athletes also, it’s only more difficult.
So my advice if your primary goal is to gain muscle is to eat enough protein but don’t exaggerate with the calories and watch your bodyfat. It will be hard to lose again and by doing so, you’ll probably lose some of the hard earned muscles, too!
When you’re the skinny, hard-gainer type, eat whatever you find and try to make it protein-rich foods. Don’t worry about getting fat, the intense workout will prevent that.
If you’re on the other hand someone who easily gains weight, don’t worry about having to eat much in order to gain muscle. The key to muscle growth is the workout! Watch the simple carbs, though.
When i say “proper amount of protein” i do NOT mean the often recommended 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. I think that much is not necessary, not for natural athletes. For vegans it’d be especially hard to get that much anyway.
I think around 1 g per kilogram
of bodyweight is a good aim for most of us. If you aim a little higher, it won’t hurt. I don’t recommend to count and calculate too much on a daily basis. Better estimate your numbers (protein, fat, calories). While bulking, you shouldn’t restrict yourself too much. Eat healthy food, and listen to what your body says, it knows how much is enough!
Another point is that you don’t need to - rather: should not – eat the same amount of protein and calories every day! It’s perfectly okay if one day you only manage to get 80g of protein and the next two you’re around 130! The body adjusts not only to work out, it also adjusts to calorie and protein intake. An excessive protein intake over a long time can actually weaken your performance. Give your body a break now and then from forced protein/calory intake!
Again, it strongly depends on the individual.
What is different here from the bulking diet, which we (as bodybuilders) eat most of the time?
Mainly, the amount of calories
When you start a cutting cycle, decrease the calories slowly. First, cut out all the crap you usually eat sometimes, which is okay when you’re bulking, but now you’re not, remember that!
Cut out all sugar, except fruits, first. No sweets, no cakes, no cookies. After a while, cut the white flour stuff, too: pasta and bread.
If you want to, or have to, lose quite a large amount of fat, slowly decrease your calories by decreasing the amount of carbs and fat you eat. That really depends on your normal diet – i only decrease the carbs, for i always eat low fat. Do not decrease the protein! It’s not so easy to keep the protein high and get the fat low, though.
Eat lots of veggies, replace the carb-loaded foods by them. Salads and veggies replace pasta, potatoes and rice. Don’t go too low with the carbs, though, they’re still your fuel.
Later in the day, reduce the carbs. Eat your carbs early, and don’’t eat them in the evening or at night. That’s the time for salads and protein.
I recommend doing a “refeed day” once per week. That means, one day per week you are allowed to eat anything that, and as much as you want.
This day will prevent your metabolism switching to hibernation mode.
When cutting, the same golden rule as for bulking applies: BE PATIENT!
When you cut down your calories etc, too fast, you’ll lose too much muscle in the process. Not a good exchange in the long run.
Another point that comes to my mind: don’t use “light” products! They are usually unhealthy, processed, artificial, industrial “food”, designed to copy a special taste without delivering the calories. Therefore, they contain lots of artificial substances, such as sweeteners. Beside that these substances are unnatural and unhealthy, artificial sweeteners actually can make you GAIN weight! They work as appetizers, not a good thing on your diet!
Don’t weigh yourself every day and get excited about the outcome. Once or twice a week is better, always on the same day and time, under the same circumstances (in the morning, before breakfast, after toilet, naked). If you’re mentally strong enough
to deal with the fluctuations, you can weigh yourself everyday and make a cross in a system of coordinates. Then, every three days take the average and make a cross in a different color. Draw a line between crosses of the same color. It’s a way to make your way visible.
- Cutting program
In order to lose fat and at the same time maintain your muscles, you have to lift heavy. That means, do NOT go for high reps in order to burn more calories, but stick with the heavy weights.
In general, i wouldn’t recommend that you try to increase the weights during your cutting cycle. Take a heavy weight and try to increase the number of reps instead (say, starting with 5 reps). If you’re making good process (which i doubt, when you’re on a calroy-rectricted diet
), it’s okay to increase the weight, though (when you reach 12 reps).
In general, the same principles as for bulking cycles apply, with the following differences:
- Work out more often. Heavy weights with a reasonable volume every day burn lots of calories and at the same time increase your metabolism. Moreover, it will prevent losing your muscles.
- Obviously you can’t simply work out more often without changing anything else. Go for a slightly lower intensity and a slightly higher volume.
- Add some cardio. Cardio training is a great way to burn some calories more. I recommend to do that in the morning, just after getting up. Kick your ass out of the bed an hour early and burn some before breakfast. Important is that you don’t do the weights and the cardio in one session! Never! If you don’t have enough time for both, then choose one.
Yes, it IS that simple. It’s still the same exercises.
Forget the high rep bla bla – muscle growth is induced by heavy weights, and that is especially important on a cutting diet!!
I hope i haven’t forgotten anything.
Let me know what you think about the above infos. Do find them useful?
If you have any question, whether general or specific or on your individual program, DON’T BOTHER ME WITH IT!
No, i’m just kidding – of course, PLEASE ask!
Have a great day,
Love and peace,