How to Stay Ripped When Getting Bigger

Now comes one more bodybuilding-versus-the-world question: should you bulk and cut?

For those not in the know, bulking and cutting means alternating between trying to pack on muscle (maintaining a caloric surplus and getting lots of rest) and then trying to burn off the fat (maintaining a caloric deficit and doing lots of cardio). Seeing as the methods are so different, some people believe it’s impossible to do both at the same time.

But others disagree.

One argument, is that if you hover just around your daily calorie burn (you can work this out with a fitness tracker, or just by calculating your AMR), then you can slowly add muscle without adding too much fat.

Another option is to use something like intermittent fasting. This means eating normally for growth 5 days of the week and then eating a very low calorie count (about 500) for two more days of the week. When you do this, you can reliably maintain growth but then just cut away the excess fat and increase your insulin sensitivity two of the days. It’s like bulking and cutting every week and it prevents your body from becoming too well adapted to any one type of eating.

But the problem with this is that it’s a very tough way to eat and often it’s also very inconvenient. You try explaining to your gran why you can’t eat the delicious cake she just cooked you!

So instead, all you need to do is to do something similar but not so extreme. That means that you’re going to be eating a caloric surplus some days and then going lower on other days when it suits you. This doesn’t have to mean ‘fasting’ at all though – it’s perfectly adequate to simply eat a lower amount of calories, such as 200-300 below your AMR (active metabolic rate).

Combined with the fact that you’re training both for size and power and that you’re incorporating two types of CV in as well, and you should find that this allows you to ‘clean bulk’ while retaining your definition. This is the best way to get what is known as ‘athletic aesthetics’. That means a body that performs but that looks the part too!


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