Monday, January 2, 2012

Transition Between Bulking and Cutting

Hopefully by now you are an expert on both bulking and cutting. You are well on your way to knowing exactly how to maximize your muscular gains and getting into the best shape of your life. There is is just one more aspect that we need to cover. How do we transition from a bulk to a cut and from a cut to a bulk?

From Bulking to Cutting

At the beginning of a cut, it's very common to get anxious and want to see progress at a faster rate than what is possible. People have a tendency to drop calories drastically and do a lot of cardio from day one in hopes of shedding off the fat as quickly as possible. This is a huge mistake. Although it's understandable that you want your abs to show sooner rather than later, cutting calories too quickly and doing too much cardio can make your cut miserable. By making such a drastic change, your metabolism will take a huge it and slow down. Now that your metabolism has slowed, the amount of calories you are eating is the new amount that your body needs in order to keep losing weight whereas it would have been higher if you didn't make such a drastic change. A similar thing happens with cardio. Your body may get used to the amount of cardio and now needs that amount in order to continue to make progress. The problem now is that you don't have much room to make adjustments when you stall.

The correct approach is to bring calories down slowly and start off with just a little bit of cardio. You may not even want to lose any weight for the first two weeks. First, just bring calories down to maintenance for a couple of weeks. After that, drop calories by another 200-250 per day and add in 2-3 days of cardio. Worst case scenario is you don't lose any weight. If that happens, you just need to drop calories a bit more and do a little more cardio. It's not a big deal. The opposite situation would be that you start off dropping calories by 1,000 and doing cardio 5-7 days per week. Now, if you stall, you don't really have much room to adjust any further. You are already eating very little and doing a lot of cardio. If you lower your calories further or do more cardio, you risk harming your metabolism and burning yourself out. You will then need to bring your calories back up in order to repair your metabolism just so you can start cutting again in the future. Lower your calories slowly and introduce cardio little by little to ensure your cut goes smoothly. It's always better to make too small of an adjustment rather than too big because you can always adjust further in the future. When you make too big of an adjustment, it's much tougher to reverse it.

From Cutting to Bulking

By the end of a cut, it's highly likely that your appetite is through the roof after being on restricted calories for so long. You probably also rather take a bath in ice water than do another second of cardio at this point. On top of that, you may feel small after dropping a chunk of weight and seeing your clothes fit a bit looser. All these factors lead to wanting to jump right into a calorie surplus immediately to start making gains.

This would be a terrible idea. After cutting, your hormones and metabolism aren't at optimal levels due to eating a restricted amount of calories for an extended period of time. If you immediately stop doing cardio and increase calories substantially, you will put on a nice chunk of fat pretty quickly. Your body simply isn't in the right condition to add muscle just yet. It doesn't make too much sense to put the fat back on in a couple of weeks that you just spent months trying to lose. You can make the muscle gains you are hoping for and remain lean at the same time. You just need to follow the correct approach.

The proper approach is to take it slow. After all, a bulk is a long term process. It's much better to set yourself up for a successful long term bulk than to jump right in and regret your mistakes for the remainder of it. You need to get your hormones and metabolism back to optimal levels so that you can make muscular gains. To do this, you should first bring your calories up to maintenance. Keep calories at maintenance for a couple of weeks and in the meantime, you can begin tapering down cardio. Don't cut it all out at once though. By increasing calories slowly, your metabolism will begin to recover. Depending on how lean you got, you may even continue to lose some weight while you begin increasing calories. This would be an ideal situation since it's a sign that your metabolism is burning through the extra calories as it repairs itself. After the initial two weeks of eating your maintenance calories, you can then begin increasing calories above maintenance slowly in increments of 100-200 and eliminating cardio little by little if you choose. You should continue to do cardio throughout your bulk for a variety of benefits so don't cut it all out at any point. At this point, your bulk has begun. You should continue to increase calories in small increments as your weight gain stalls.


To sum everything up, taking it slow is always the way to go. When going from bulking to cutting, making drastic changes can severely hurt your metabolism and ensure that your cut is a miserable one. When going from cutting to bulking, making drastic changes will reverse most of your cutting progress in a matter of weeks. It's always better to underestimate your adjustments rather than overestimate them. An underestimation can always be adjusted further but an overestimation can't be undone too easily.


The Dude said...

Sup Brah,

I really like your blog. You seem incredibly knowledgeable. I'm currently going through a bulk. I'm 6'1 around 175. How high should I bulk if I want to cut back down to 175-180 shredded. Like I said I'm 175 and I've always been a pretty extreme ecto so I'm still at a pretty low body fat. I'd say I'm about 12%. Thanks a lot

OoFaP said...

Thanks I'm glad you like it.

If you stay at 12% as you continue bulking then you probably need to be about 200 if you want to be 175-180 shredded. I wouldn't focus on that number though or else you will be tempted to gain too fast. Just gain slowly and you will get there eventually.

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