Junkyard Training hosts athletes of all sorts, including bodybuilders. If you are new to the world of bodybuilding or are interested in getting into it, you may hear terms like ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’ thrown around. What do those terms refer to and how can you incorporate the practice into your own bodybuilding routine?
The purpose of bulking is to gain as much muscle as possible. Gaining muscle and gaining fat go hand in hand, so during a bulking phase, you will be eating in a caloric surplus. The extra calories are what your body needs to feed your growing muscles.
While you should be eating in a caloric surplus during a bulk, it shouldn’t be a free for all. It is important that you moderate your macros to ensure that your muscles are getting what they need to be in an anabolic state. The two most important macros to focus on are protein and carbs. Most people know that protein plays a vital role in muscle development, but probably more important is carb intake. To lift heavier, your body needs a boost from glycogen, something that carbs have in spades. Carbs also spike your insulin, which is essential to muscle growth as well. Some bodybuilders even inject insulin directly for this purpose.
In addition to increased protein and carb intake, you want to couple that with lifting progressively heavier. Afterall, the purpose of a bulk is to get stronger and gain muscle. Focus on increasing your weight a little each training session. Aim for moderate reps, around 8-12 per set. Make notes of your progress so that you can hit the gym with purpose and remain consistent in your progress.
The reason that bulking and cutting are often referred to in the same conversation is because bulking requires that you gain weight. Once you have reached your goal of gaining muscle, you may want to lose some of the remaining fat to show off your improved bodybuilder physique. At first, you may be tempted by crash diets to achieve this goal, but crash diets are not sustainable, and the results are not usually lasting. It is better instead to focus on slow, healthy fat loss.
While on your cut, it is more important than ever to focus on your protein intake. Muscle is expensive for the body. So, it is often sacrificed when your body is in fat loss mode. Don’t let all your hard work during your bulk go to waste. Focusing on protein in your diet will ensure that muscle tissue is not wasted.
As far as training goes, cardio is a friend. Pair increased cardio sessions with strength training sessions. Doing both will help you maintain your muscle mass even when in a calorie deficit.
And there you have it! A quick rundown of what bulking and cutting seasons mean. If you would like expert advice tailored to you and your needs in reference to your bodybuilding training, reach out to our experienced trainers.