If you are thinking that working out and building muscles only involve you lifting weights and running the miles day in, day out. Then you are mistaken big time. There is more to it than just lifting the heaviest dumbbells, or doing as many reps as you can.
You must know what type of physique you’re targeting for, bulky or lean? By knowing the physique type you want, you’ll be able to decide which workouts and training you should do, and which diet plan to follow.
Know Bulking and Cutting
In bodybuilding and sculpting there are two phases; bulking and cutting.
Bulking is the phase where you will be bulking up muscle mass and body size. In this phase, you will usually eat a lot without adhering to a strict diet plan (caloric surplus). Weight training and workouts are the choice during this phase. The point of this phase is to build up muscles in your body and to do this you will need a lot of calories, else it would cause the muscles loss along with fat. The foods you eat will serve as energy fuel for your body during and after workouts, though you will gain caloric surplus with it.
The cutting phase is where you want to lose all the fat and calories you have accumulated, by following a strict diet plan, doing more cardio workouts, and less weight workouts. This, of course, if your target is to have a lean physique but for those whose target is to have bulky and buff physique. They may skip this phase and continue to maintain the workouts and diet they have been doing.
So what’s the point of these two phases?
It is to allow the muscles in your body to be properly strengthened and developed first in the bulking phase. Once you have gained well developed muscles, you can then start the cutting phase to shred all those unwanted fats while maintaining your muscles. But if you do it wrong during the cut phase, you could lose all the muscles you have developed.
Getting That Lean Physique
To get the lean physique, you will need to cut and a cut phase length depending on the amount of fat you have accumulated.
5 pounds or less: will require 4-6 weeks of cut
10 pounds or less: will require 6-12 weeks of cut
20 pounds or more: will require 20-24 weeks of cut
Though there is a general guideline that most people can follow; lose 1 pound of body fat per week.
Maintaining Nutrition During Cutting
You can use the said general guideline; lose 1 pound of body fat per week. To achieve this goal, you will need to burn more calories than you use; caloric deficit. The best way to achieve a caloric deficit is by increasing the amount of cardio workouts, and reducing your caloric intake by changing to a diet plan that is low in caloric intake.
From this point onward you only have to adjust and refine the nutritions plans based on your body. You will need to keep track of weight every week. Get on the scale twice a week, at the start of the week and the end of the week.
Maintaining Muscles During Cut
During cutting, calorie loss should be done progressively every week. This is to avoid muscle loss because a rapid calorie reduction means you are having a severe calorie deficit; where the body will burn muscle to fuel it. Hence why you should do it progressively.
The amount of calorie reduction you want is 200-500 calorie every week. Example;
You are planning to cut 5lbs of fat. The plan is 6 weeks of cuts, that will be an average of 1 pound every week. So the calorie maintenance should be: 2700 calories. From there, you plan to decrease 300 calories by the first week, and so you will be left with 2400 calories. So weigh yourself on Monday and take note of your current weight, and then once again Sunday, the end of the week. If you see 1.2 pound loss, then you can maintain and keep going with the same amount. So for the following weeks you should lose 0.5 pound. Then you should decrease calorie intake of 200-300, and repeat this process until the final week.
This is just an example, in actuality it will be different from one person to another. Some men only need to cut 200 calories and they already can see the results. While others may have to cut 500 calories to see results.
What’s important here is that you keep track of the progress, don’t lose weight too fast, get on the scale twice a week and if there’s no reduction in your weight, try reducing your calorie intake.
Workouts: Which and How Long?
You can either add or don’t for cardio workout because it is not a must, but will be a good addition. Cardio workouts boost reduction of calories and fats, so if your diet seems to be on the slow side, then adding cardio workouts routine is a good idea to add it.
Unlike during the bulking phase, you will have less energy to fuel your body. So you should opt for a more moderate/lighter workout routine.
Duration For Workout Routine
If during the bulking phase you spent 2-4 hours working out, then you’d want to do a shorter workout length. Two reasons; the first is because you don’t have enough energy to sustain and recover your body during and after workout.
Second reason it could lead to catabolic state (muscle loss) because you don’t have the same amount of muscle glycogen. Besides, by doing short workouts will leave you with shorter rest between workouts and this will help burn more calories.
Supplements For Men
You should consider taking supplements to help you progress better with the cutting phase. Besides, some of the supplements not only help increase your muscle gains, and fat/calorie reduction but also improve your male libido and make you last longer in bed.
The road to getting your dream body is hard and challenging indeed but the reward outweighs it all. Follow these tips, and use them to come up with your own cut phase program that suits you.