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The Differences between the Bulking and Cutting Phases

Bulking up is to gain muscle weight as cutting down is to lose the body fat while preserving the muscle mass. Cutting-up is different to bulking-in.Bulking up is to gain muscle weight as cutting down is to lose the body fat while preserving the muscle mass. They can be defined as follows:

Bulking vs. Cutting

The bulk phase is a period of time where the primary goals are to build muscle, increase body weight, and increase strength via a surplus calorie intake in a diet. There is a positive energy balance during this phase, as working muscles need fuel from a diet to grow in size and mass. Bulking can also be known as a “prioritization or targeting period” for adding additional muscle to lagging muscle group(s).

‘The cut phase is a period of time when the main goals are losing body fat, reducing body weight, getting leaner and preserving the muscle mass gained during the bulk period. Calorie intake is reduced and energy expenditure may be increased via cardio in order to create an energy deficit. Cutting has been also called getting “ripped, peeled or shredded.”

Metabolic Conditioning

The Metabolic Conditioning Coach course will concentrate on the cutting phase after the bulk, it will discuss safe practices on how to reduce the % of body fat and preserve muscle mass. For the benefit of the course stage and to cut subcutaneous body fat with minimal muscle loss, these basic guidelines should be given to a client.

  • Create an energy deficit of total calories, by either reducing the macros intake or increasing energy expenditure (e.g. HIIT training).
  • Increase the anabolic hormones and reduce the impact of the catabolic hormones.
  • Increase protein intake and its turnover rate.
  • Increase the metabolic output of the body.
  • Tactically increase leptin levels and improve thyroid output.
  • Have tighter management of insulin

The Cutting Phase

In addition, cutting-up is different in many aspects to bulking-in.

The attention to detail now is what is important. Also, being analytical with the macros is what will get a client safely to their target % of body fat without a trade-off (muscle loss). During the cutting phase, muscle loss is often associated with the calorie deficit, a decrease in the anabolic hormones and an increase in catabolic hormones. The key principle to effective fat loss is to manage the hormonal states efficiently while simultaneously altering the fuel usage; thus creating an energy deficit. If you plan the macros and fuel usage appropriately, then reducing % of body fat loss and maintain muscle will happen with clients systematically.

The key to the whole process is definitely proper planning with clients, and then executing the plan in the right time frame before an event or competition. This is paramount to the success of a client. It is all about peaking on the day of the competition so that a client is in the best possible shape for their category.

If timing is poor, the following two scenarios may occur:

  • The client may feel weak on the day of the competition due to rushing to get the weight off following a poor nutrition and exercise plan. Therefore, they will not look their best!
  • The client will not have lost enough body fat and doesn’t look lean enough due to having a poor energy deficiency during the cutting phase. This is caused by not having enough HIIT, too many calories consumed and eating the wrong types of foods.

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