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Bulking and Cutting – The Basics

Bulking and Cutting – Holiday Body Goals

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If you’ve been involved in weightlifting or have been going to the gym regularly  you’ve probably heard the phrase “bulking and cutting” a thousand times. If you’ve never followed this regimen of muscle growth and fat loss in your health and fitness journey or researched the approach, we’ll help explain exactly what they are.

Bulking means that your goal is to gain weight through an increase in muscle mass. You’re eating more than you’re burning in a day and therefore creating a caloric surplus. In the simplest terms, you are growing. The end goal, new muscle mass and more strength.

Cutting is the opposite. Your goal is to lose weight so you are burning more calories in a day than you are taking in, creating a caloric deficit. In the simplest terms, you are leaning. The end goal, a ripped and shredded physique.

If you’re looking to increase muscle size, a bulking plan should include:

  • A daily calorie surplus that includes suitable amounts of protein to maximize muscle protein synthesis
  • Sufficient fat consumption to optimize hormone levels (20-30% of total calories) and higher carbohydrates to withstand an increase in training volume
  • Eating an extra 200-500 calories a day, starting on the low end and monitoring so that you find the right amount for you. Generally, aim for 0.25 – 0.5% of weight gain every two weeks. Every body is different, so these guidelines are generalized
  • Listen to your body and adjust accordingly
  • Lifting should be in the 6-12 repetition range to see proper growth from the workload you are completing
  • Get adequate, uninterrupted sleep (7-9 hours)

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Aiming for a reduction in body fat ?  A cutting regimen will need to include include:

  • A daily calorie deficit that includes increased protein to help with the maintenance of lean muscle during the cutting phase
  • Increased fat consumption to mitigate hormonal disruptions that typically occur during a calorie deficit
  • The remaining calories in your plan will be comprised of carbohydrates to maintain productive training sessions
  • Generally, you can aim for losing up to 1% per week of your bodyweight during this regimen
  • Lifting should be high reps and involve compound exercises to maximize caloric output. Minimal rest time between sets will keep your heart rate up
  • Cardio should be present, ideally in the form of HIIT

The main focus is to plan and be consistent. You’re far more likely to keep on point if you have a detailed plan rather than creating an abstract idea of how you want to achieve your goals in your head.

Set your daily calorie target and stick to it. Set your weekly gym schedule and abide by it without fail. If you face an unavoidable cancellation of a gym session, make plans to get back on track immediately by making an adjustment in your schedule. The only way positive changes occur is if you commit to a workout and diet plan and follow to at least 90% of it. Obviously, roadblocks and inevitable situations do arise, but it is how you overcome and modify your plan to keep you on target that saves your goals from becoming unattainable.

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