Bulking and cutting are terms thrown around the gym culture every day. Today we talk about what it means, and why it isn't for most people.
Bulking means to consume a large amount of calories in order to increase body mass (lean and fat). The purpose is to get bigger for strength and muscle gain. For bodybuilding competitors (bodybuilding refers to those competing in aesthetic competitions), it is planned based on when their next show is. For people not competing, it is usually in the winter (No suns out, no guns out).
On the other hand, cutting is the opposite. Cutting means to lose weight rapidly (fat mass, lean mass, and water mass). Again, for competitors, this is done after bulking and a few weeks before their show. For non-competitors, it is done near and during the summer time (Suns out, guns out).
With those defined, here is why it's not for everyone.
The term "yo-yo dieting" means to go on a diet for a short while then falling off. It is common for most people. For example, a person may have a vacation coming up, and will diet for about 2 weeks, only to fall off of it after the trip. Another example is the traditional New Year's resolution; a few weeks of good habits, then falling off. When those habits are done repeatedly, their health goes up temporarily, then down again, which ends up showing no long-term change anyways.
Are you catching on? Most people who do not compete still say they are bulking and cutting, but they are no different from a yo-yo dieter. The only difference is that those non-competitors are saying it is intentional. The problem with that? Well, if it's intentional, have they been actually improving? Do they have more muscle mass than when they first started out or did they still have the same muscle mass through their bulking and cutting cycles regardless of their weight? Numbers do not lie people! It's best to stick with a program that is not restrictive and based around short-term "seasons".
Below are some results from a client of mine that was looking to gain weight and strength. No bulking and cutting season, no supplements except protein; just life-long habits being developed. He sees me twice a week has no burnout, and is still getting steady gains in muscle mass and strength.
Of course this blog is for general fitness (meaning those who do not compete in anything), and remember that athletes are different in terms of goals and programming.
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