For decades, cutting and bulking cycles have been widely used by bodybuilders to gain an impressive physique.
Throughout the bulking phase, you essentially pretty much eat quite a bit as well as concentrate on lifting very heavyweights. Cardio is either kept to the minimum or not done at all. The extra calories provide the muscles with a great deal of fuel to get big, but throughout the bulking cycle, you unavoidably add some additional, unwanted body fat.
Throughout the cutting stage, you decrease the number of calories you take in every day as well as ramp up the cardio so that you may melt away all the excess fat you put on throughout the bulking phase.
You have probably heard of measurements and terms such as Body mass index, Lean body mass, etc. These are all indicators that you will begin to use to measure and adjust your future gains in bodybuilding.
Invariably cutting and bulking through manipulation of calorie intake could cause your metabolism to slow down so ultimately many bodybuilders use supplements such as legal steroid alternatives (more info below) to get maximum effects while reducing metabolism problems.
Cutting is when you attempt to reduce your body fat to be able to show your ripped muscles. Cutting is normally done in spring and summer as opposed to bulking which is normally in the winter months. It is also normal for bodybuilders to undergo a cutting cycle just before any competition.
To cut you would normally reduce calorie intake and increase your calorie burn-off with a lot of cardio exercises. But before you jump onto some crazy crash diet I do need to warn you that excess calorie reduction could lead to you losing some of your hard-earned lean muscle. To preserve your lean muscle, you need to reduce calorie intake to slightly less than calorie burn-off.
You should ideally measure and weigh yourself weekly and adjust your diet and exercise accordingly. I would highly suggest that you consult your trainer at the gym for some expert advice on the best diet and exercise routine to suit your needs.
A great calculator that will help you to measure your BMI, as well as your body fat can be found here ( opens in a new window).
You would typically eat more protein during the cutting stage as protein keeps you feeling full for longer. ie. 100 calories of protein will keep you satisfied for far longer than 100 calories of carbs. Additionally, up to 30% of protein calories seem to disappear in the digestion process. Please do note that you need to eat carbs as well in this process as they are essential for maintaining your metabolism.
If you are serious about cutting I would suggest that you also use a cutting stack to enhance your effects. Brutal Force is the worlds leading supplier of bodybuilding supplements and they have a specific stack of supplements designed to maximize your cutting.
Bulking increases your body mass (hopefully muscle) by increasing calorie intake and weight and strength training. During this phase, you concentrate on building muscle strength by feeding protein and calories into your system and then converting it into muscle through strength training.
Bulking is usually done in the winter months as invariably you will also gain a little extra body fat while building the muscle. Winter clothes tend to camouflage the extra weight. Additionally, you will find that in winter you tend to eat more food so it is the natural time choice for bulking.
One of the key factors that you must bear in mind is that while you need to feed your muscles while bulking, excess calorie intake is going to result in some extra fat that needs to be trimmed off in your next cutting cycle. Invariably when cutting you will also lose a little bit of hard-earned lean muscle. The less fat you gain in your bulking the less chance you will have of losing muscle when cutting.
Once again I highly recommend that you discuss the ideal diet and exercise routine with your trainer at the gym.
As with the cutting cycle, Brutal Force has a cool stack of excellent supplements that you can use to maximize your bulking results.
Maintenance mode is when you have reached a body image that you are happy with and wish to keep stay as you have become. You neither wish to be bigger or smaller or different in any way. You are basically 100% satisfied with your body.
During maintenance, you will have a balance where your daily or weekly calorie intake matches the calories that you burn off so that you neither gain weight nor lose weight. Your exercise routine is maintained so that no lean muscle is converted to body fat. While some may not consider this important the image below will show you just how important it is for your body image.
5 Pounds of fat compared to 5 pounds of muscle!
Using Steroids for gains
The temptation to take shortcuts is always high and many bodybuilders have resorted to using steroids to improve their results. Steroids are dangerous especially to the novice.
Most anabolic steroids are banned due to the serious side effects that they can cause. More info on anabolic steroid side effects. It is really not worth taking a risk using steroids. Additionally most banned black market steroids are produced under less than ideal circumstances so you have no idea of what is really inside that pill or injection.
However, you can freely use legal steroids which are supplements designed to replicate the effects of steroids without the side effects.
Cutting and bulking is the process of building up and then trimming down. In reality, you are really building a foundation and then chiseling it down again to create an ideal body.
Excess reduction of calorie intake while in the cutting phase can result in a loss of hard-earned lean muscle gain. Increasing calorie intake by too much during your bulking phase can result in excess fat gain. There needs to be a careful balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditure through exercise. For this reason, it is advisable to discuss your eating and exercise routine with your trainer at your local gym.
Your results will not show overnight but constantly working at your routine will result in some huge improvements in both your body and your mind. Once you start to look good and become proud of your body your self-esteem and confidence in yourself will skyrocket.
There is nothing more appealing to the opposite sex than a confident person.