Most of us hit the gym so we can create a body we can be proud of. Either that means cutting our weight or bulking up to a larger size. For some our aims are entirely based on the sport we hope to play that season, for others it’s all about body positivity and feeling content.
Of course, there is no real perfect male physique, but that doesn’t stop us from aiming for the perfect body in our minds.
Bulking is when you try to gain muscle. Cutting is when you try to lose muscle. Depending on which phase you are in your body-building workout, you will need to know how to complete both.
How To Bulk
Eat Slightly Over Your Calorie Needs
To build up your muscle, you need to eat more than you are burning off. Depending on your current workout routine, the number of calories you need to maintain your body will be different.
However, once you work out that figure, you should begin eating more than this amount. But just a little bit more. This additional energy will give your body the ability to grow new muscles.
Eat Protein, Fat, And Carbs
The food you eat should be entirely geared toward muscle growth. This means consuming lots of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Fat will give you the most glycogen (the nutrients needed to bulk up your muscles), however, having too much can harm your heart. This is why you should balance it with protein and carbohydrates.
Lastly, you should be focusing on heavy lifting for around 10 reps per set. Lifting heavy with consistent reps will help to tear your muscles, making way for new muscle growth.
In between general weight lifting, you should focus on body weight lifting. This means practicing squats, bench presses, and resistance training. This type of training will force you to use every part of your body while lifting your own body weight.
Remember that simply completing a deadlift in your workouts will not make your whole body strong, nor will it allow you to bulk up evenly.
Work on every area of your body with either body weight or heavy weights.
How To Cut
Eat Slightly Less Than Your Calorie Needs
Do not rush weight loss. It can be tempting to reduce your diet far below your calorie needs, knowing that your body will reduce its overall weight quickly. However, this weight loss will not last and it will put a strain on your body, causing bulking to be difficult later on in your weight training.
Instead, figure out your caloric needs and then aim to eat slightly less. This will force your body to reduce your muscle to use the energy. However, it will not put you at risk of dizziness, or strain.
Remember it is better for your cutting cycle to take longer than expected, than to force yourself into dangerous territory.
Eat Protein And Vegetables
Protein can help your muscles repair themselves quickly. This is important in cutting as you need your muscles to stay strong while it reduces. Unlike fat, protein doesn’t add to your muscle gain as it repairs.
You will also need carbohydrates to help avoid losing too much weight, while the main bulk of your meals should be vegetables to help keep vitamins and minerals high.
Eating the right foods will keep you healthy during the cutting process, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Otherwise, you may become dizzy, weak, and unable to concentrate.
Although you can continue strength training during the cutting stage. You should use low weights with lots of reps, instead of heavy weights.
The best workout is cardio. Cardio will keep your muscles strong, however, it will also remove any unused fats or muscle. This will help you create a leaner body type, which is the overall aim of cutting.
Just like with weight lifting, you shouldn’t be aiming to run fast. Instead, you should be completing your cardio exercise for a long time at a steady pace. This will help you train your muscles while reducing weight.
You can continue to aim for a higher weight-lifting ability during this time, however, do not expect significant improvements.
To bulk up, you need to eat more than your calorie needs. These meals should include fats, protein, and carbohydrates, and you should weight lift.
To cut down, you need to eat less than your calorie needs (within reason). These meals should include protein and vegetables above all else. Your exercise should be less weightlifting and more cardio.