Friday, 9 August 2013

Bulking And Cutting Phases!

Jamie Eason

So you want to gain some muscle but stay lean?
Well if you are serious about making some gainz you are going to gain a bit of fat as well but don't let that scare you as then you go through a phase of leaning out. There are 2 phases that you need to know about, they are known as Bulking: Gaining muscle and Cutting: Dropping body fat. Here is your guide on bulking and cutting! 

Bulking Phase: Bulking is where you are aiming to gain lean muscle mass. In order to gain lean muscle mass you need to be eating above your daily maintenance calories for your body to use it to repair and grow the muscles stronger and bigger. As well as having a great training programme, clean healthy diet and rest. During this phase you will gain some fat which your body needs to grow more muscle. Bulking phases can typically last from anywhere from 3 months to 1 year depending on your body type, goals and how you're feeling. Muscle growth can be slow and you shouldn't be aiming to put on a whole load of weight fast because most of it will end up being fat. Slow and steady wins the race. 

My Top Tips For Bulking!
  • Food: There are many methods out there that people use some will work for you others won't, the two things that need to remain constant is the majority of your diet is clean and healthy foods and your eating above your maintenance calories to grow. The methods I know of are:
Tracking calories: Using a calorie counter app or website such as Calorie Counter or My Fitness Pal you can track the amount of food you are eating and adjust accordingly to your progress. Bulking usually requires you to eat 300-500 calories ABOVE your maintenance, you can work out your maintenance calories here and then I personally like to add 100 calories and see how my weight is for a couple weeks and slowly increase every couple of weeks if it isn't going up . With this method as well you can track your Macros: percentage of carbs, proteins and fats which some say is important to make sure you have enough protein, carbs etc. A basic standard people follow for bulking is 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fats. Everyone is different so these numbers may mean nothing for a lot of people but they are a good starting point. I personally use this method and find it works well for me.
Food diary: Keeping a food diary allows you to keep track of what and how much you're eating, if your not seeing progress, it's too fast or not eating enough protein for example you can look at your food diary and add in food, take out or adjust accordingly.
Just eat: Dana Linn Bailey said in a video at one point that she didn't track calories or macros and just ate good food majority of the time, she would measure out her carbs e.g. rice and would just increase or decrease food in her diet depending on her goals. A guy at the gym I know tracks his calories for 2-3 days in a month and makes changes from there and just eats majority of the time as he is aware of what he eats on a daily basis.
If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM): Whatever your macros are say for bulking 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fats you can eat what you want as long as you hit that amount of macros and your calorie allowance you need to gain weight and muscle. It basically means that you need a certain amount of nutritious foods that are going to help build muscle or lean down but you can also add in what ever else you want to eat, also known as flexible dieting.
80/20: 80% of the time healthy food and good exercise regime, 20% of the time whatever you choose. If you're bulking using this method just remember to track your progress through the mirror or body fat testing to ensure you're making progress.

Cheat meals: Cheat meals are eating what ever you want in moderation so you don't give up on your regime and enjoy what you want. Some people will have one or two a week, others will have a cheat day this depends on what works for you and your goals.
  • Training: I suggest investing in a Personal Trainer to provide you with great training plans. My training plans have always consisted of 4-6 days lifting for 45minutes -1 hour and no to minimal cardio due to my petite body type. For some body types you may need a couple of light cardio days but make sure you have at least one rest day.
  • Tracking progress: There is also different methods people use for tracking progress.
Weight and body fat testing: Tracking your weight to see if it's going up and how fast/slow it is but the true test of progress is in your body fat measurements. This allows you to see how much muscle vs fat you are putting on and if anything needs adjusting.
Mirror: Tracking your progress through what you see in the mirror and how you're feeling with your body.

Cutting Phase: A cutting phase is where you are aiming to drop body fat and maintain muscle and strength. To do this you drop your calories below your maintenance, lower your carbs, increase protein and some might need to add in light cardio or HIIT training.

My Top Tips For Cutting!
  • Food: When entering a cutting phase you want to slowly decrease your food, if tracking your calories drop 100-200 first off and slowly taper down over weeks until you're slowly losing weight. It's also important to drop your carbs and increase protein, a basic starting point in cutting for macros is 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% fats. If your not tracking calories or macros try decreasing the amount of carbs you're having and increasing your protein while also slowly tapering down your food intake. Remember just as slow and steady was the key in bulking it is also the key in cutting, if you cut to fast you begin to also lose a lot of muscle as well as fat and your goal during this time is to MAINTAIN the muscle and drop body fat.
  • Training: Same with bulking I suggest a Personal Trainer even if it's just to get programmes from. My lifting routine is usually again 4-6 days during cutting and sometimes cardio is added in, I find I do quite well with HIIT training, others will add in light cardio, some have no cardio and can all be done through weights and diet. (Running will chew away at your muscles which is exactly what you don't want). 
  • Tracking progress: Again track your progress through weight and body fat testing and/or mirror.
Bulking and cutting is going to take time, hard work, determination, patience, planning, set backs and steps forwards but if you want it what's stopping you?

With love
Rainbow :) xoxo

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