Should you be bulking or cutting?
Should you be bulking or cutting? Bulking or cutting you probably heard about this before. These are terms to say if you are eating extra or too little calories.
Both have different results, necessitates and things you need to keep in mind. But what do you know what you should do?
If you should be bulking or cutting depends on different factors, where you are in your fitness journey, what you want to achieve, etc… Let’s start off with defining what bulking and cutting is and then you can decide what works best for you!
Bulking is being in a calorie surplus, meaning you eat more calories than you burn on a daily basis. The best thing is to be in a surplus of around 200 calories.
This makes sure you won’t gain too much fat. The goal of bulking is to gain muscle mass. The more calories you are above your maintenance the more fat you will gain.
You can approach a bulk in different ways. Some people still track very strictly, some a bit less and some people just stop tracking in general. The last one is most often refeed to as a dirty bulk, this is where you eat whatever you want and how much you want.
This is a nice diet break if you’ve been dieting for a long time but you’ll gain a lot of fat.
To avoid this you can start a lean bulk. With this, you still are in a surplus but you take it slow. Being in a surplus of 200-500 calories will give you the best result together with tracking your intake.
This does not have to be very strict but it is nice to have a rough idea. Up your calories slowly so your body can adjust.
When bulking your protein should still be high in order to build muscle but it can be lower than when you are cutting. Because you are in a surplus there is no danger your body will use muscles and break them down for energy.
Cutting is the opposite of bulking. You put yourself in a deficit, eating fewer calories than you burn. A good range is 200-500 calories less. Start off slow and increase overtime when weight loss plateaus.
When you dive into extreme it can have some negative effects like cravings, easy plateaus and it is overall harder to sustain. The goal of cutting is to lose fat and get a more toned body. This shows your muscles and abs.
While cutting maintaining your muscles mass is pretty hard. The deeper you get into your cut the harder it is for your body to maintain this. Because you deprive your body of the energy it will try to find every energy source it can to use.
Muscles are made up of proteins that contain amino acids, these amino’s can be turned into fuel. To prevent your muscles from completely breaking down up your protein intake.
The time most people start their cut before summer to make sure their body is beach ready. One pound of fat contains 3500 calories, if you are in a daily 200 deficit it takes 17.5 days to lose one pound. You can use this to calculate when you should start your cut, to make sure you start on time!
There is one other stage your body can be in, maintaining. This is when you eat enough calories to not lose or gain weight. To be honest this does not have many benefits for you.
You will not start to look better since you will not lose fat but you won’t put on too much muscle either. The only time maintaining can be a good idea is after a cut, to stay lean.
The calories you burn on a daily basis are called your maintenance calories. These are pretty important. They are your starting point when you know if you are going to cut or bulk.
It is good to know how much your body burns on a daily basis, to get an idea of this you can use your own experience or an only calculator to get a rough idea.
What do you need to do?
So which one is something for you? Well, there are a few situations where this is easier to answer. For example, when you are a skinny person joining the gym for the first time, bulking is the best way to go to make sure you build some muscle.
If you are overweight a cut might be smart. Maintaining your calories is a good idea if you’ve done a long cut, let your body adjust slowly to extra calories.