When it comes to bodybuilding, there are two main goals: bulking and cutting.
But what’s the difference between both? And which one is right for you?
In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between bulking and cutting and help you decide which goal is right for you at any given point in your fitness life.
We will also cover bulking and cutting in terms of:
- Ideal diet and food for bulking up and cutting weight
- bulking and cutting workouts
- proteins and calories
- cutting and bulking for males and females
Before then, lets take a look at what is…
Table of Contents
What is Bulking?
Bulking is the process of adding muscle mass. When bulking, you should aim to eat more calories than your body burns each day. This will allow your body to build muscle tissue.
In order to bulk up, you need to lift weights and do resistance training. You should also focus on eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein and carbohydrates.
The goal of bulking is to eat more calories than you burn, which allows your body to build new muscle tissue.
There are two main ways to bulk:
Clean bulking and dirty bulking.
Clean bulking involves eating healthy foods and lifting weights regularly, while dirty bulking includes eating anything and everything (usually junk food) in an effort to pack on as much muscle as possible.
We and other bodybuilding experts strongly recommend clean bulking because it’s a healthier way to add muscle mass.
However, dirty bulking can be effective for some people who are struggling to gain weight. But it’s not as healthy and can lead to excessive fat gain.
In the cause of the post, we’ll be referring to bulking as a whole, when it encompasses both clean and dirty bulking.
Some people bulk for months at a time, while others only bulk for a few weeks before cutting (losing fat) again.
It all depends on your goals. If you want to gain a lot of muscle mass, you may need to bulk for a few months. If you just want to add a little bit of muscle, you can probably bulk for a week or two.
What is Cutting?
Cutting is the process of losing weight and body fat. When cutting, you should aim to eat fewer calories than your body burns each day. This will cause your body to lose weight and fat.
To cut down, you need to do cardio exercises and focus on eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein and vegetables.
Cutting can be effective for weight loss, but it’s important to note that you will likely lose some muscle mass (slightly) as well.
The goal of cutting is to eat fewer calories than your body burns, which causes your body to lose weight and excess fat.
Most people think of cutting as a way to get “ripped” or “shredded.” This is when your muscles are very visible and you have very little body fat.
To get ripped, you need to have a low body fat percentage (usually below 12%). This is achieved by cutting for several weeks or months.
The length of time you need to cut depends on how much body fat you have to lose. If you have a lot of body fat, you may need to cut for several months.
While some think of cutting as a way to lose weight, it can also be used to maintain your current weight and body composition.
If you’ve bulked up and added a lot of muscle mass, you may need to cut for a few weeks or months to make sure you don’t get too big and bulky.
How to Start Bulking
If you’re interested in bulk, the first step is to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs each day to maintain its current weight. Once you know your BMR, you can start adding 500-1000 calories per day to your diet.
Make sure you focus on eating healthy foods and lifting weights regularly. You should also focus on getting enough protein, as it is essential for muscle growth.
In addition, start with basic compound exercises like squats and presses, and work your way up to heavier weights as you get stronger. Finally, focus on getting enough sleep and recovery time, as this will help improve your results.
You can also track your daily caloric intake and bulking progress with a calorie counter mobile app or online tool.
Endeavor to weigh yourself frequently and take progress pictures every two weeks to track your bulking success.
To get the maximum results you desire, I’d recommend you add bulking supplements (legal steroid alternatives) to your workout routine.
As they will help speed up building muscle mass, getting stronger, increasing energy levels, and recovering faster. More on this (with examples) later on.
To summarize, here’s a step or process required to bulk efficiently:
- Know your BMR before embarking on your bulking journey
- Eat healthy foods with an emphasis on protein as it’s essential for muscle growth
- Lift weights regularly, starting with basic compound exercises, and increase the weight you’re lifting as you get stronger
- Eat carbs only after your workout.
- Get enough sleep and recovery time to help improve your results
- Drink water to help you stay hydrated
- Weigh yourself frequently and take progress pictures
- Supplement with bulking supplements for an added edge to maximize muscle mass, strength, and recovery
How to Start Cutting
In order to start cutting weight, you need to figure out how many calories you need to eat each day in order to stay at the same weight. Similar to when trying to bulk up.
Then you’ll want to reduce your calorie intake and increase the amount of exercise you do which would help your body lose fat.
You can either cut out specific foods or eat fewer overall calories. Either way, make sure that you’re still getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy.
You should also gradually reduce your carbohydrate intake while increasing your intake of healthy fats.
There is no ideal number of calories that everyone should eat every day. This number can vary depending on a person’s age, metabolism, and level of physical activity, among other things. The recommended daily calorie intake for women is 2,000 calories and for men, it is 2,500 (source).
This means that if you’re a woman and you want to start cutting, you would need to eat around 500-1000 fewer calories every day. And if you’re a man, you would need to eat around 1000-2000 fewer calories every day.
There are a lot of different cutting diets out there, so you may want to do some research before starting one.
The best way to lose weight is by gradually making small changes to your diet and exercise routine. This will help you stay motivated and prevent any major weight loss or gain.
Just as in building muscle mass, there are quite a few cutting supplements that could help you shed weight faster while preserving your lean muscle without sacrificing your health.
Keep reading as we approach closer to reveal them.
And finally, here’s a summary of what you need to do when cutting:
- Calculate how many calories you need to eat each day
- Gradually reduce your carbohydrate intake while increasing your intake of healthy fats
- Do more cardio and strength training exercises to help your body lose fat
- Start by cutting out processed foods and sugary drinks from your diet
- Make sure you’re eating enough protein and fiber. Protein helps maintain muscle mass while fiber helps keep you feeling full, so both are important when trying to lose weight
- Stay motivated and make small changes to your diet and exercise routine
As you can see, both require making changes to your diet and exercise routine.
You know, it is just like doing the opposite of bulking when cutting. Bulking is adding more calories to your diet, lifting heavier weight, and doing less cardio whereas cutting would be reducing calorie intake, lifting lighter weight, and doing more cardio. bulking is a process of gaining muscle where cutting is to reduce body fat, so they are both important for different reasons.
Bulking and Cutting for Females
For females who want to bulk up, it’s important to keep in mind a few key things.
First, you need to be at a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle mass. This means eating more calories than your body needs for maintenance.
Second, you need to be lifting heavy weights and doing compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups.
Third, you need to be patient. It takes time to build muscle, so don’t expect results overnight.
As a woman, if you want to cut or lose body fat, then you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means eating fewer calories than your body needs for maintenance. In addition to cutting calories, you also need to up your cardio and lift lighter weights. Lifting light weights will help you preserve muscle mass while you’re in a calorie deficit.
The thing is: it is much more difficult for females to bulk up because they have less testosterone. However, with the right diet and training program, it is possible to bulk up and build muscle.
Cutting for females is always going to be easier because they have less weight and body fat to lose. But bulking up is definitely doable, it just takes a bit more time and effort.
Bulking and Cutting for Males
For males, the bulking and cutting process is a bit different than it is for females.
When bulking, you want to be in a calorie surplus and lift heavyweights. However, you also want to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Protein is essential for building muscle, so be sure to eat plenty of high-protein foods and supplements.
When cutting as a man, you still need to be in a calorie deficit and do cardio. But males have an advantage when it comes to cutting because they can lose body fat without losing much muscle mass. This is due to higher levels of testosterone.
So if you’re a male and want to cut, don’t be afraid to cut your calories a bit lower than a female would. Just make sure you’re still getting enough protein.
Both bulking and cutting take dedication, hard work, and time. There’s no easy way to get the body you want. But if you stick to a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you will eventually reach your goals.
Bulking vs Cutting Diet
Dieting is a crucial part of any bodybuilding or fitness plan. In this part, we are going to discuss the cutting and bulking diet.
First, you need to be at a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle mass. This means eating more calories than your body needs for maintenance. A common bulking diet is to eat around 500 calories more than your maintenance level. This will help you gain about a pound of muscle per week.
To bulk up, here are the type of food to eat:
- Lean protein: chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, pork, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, reduced-fat cheese, and protein powders
- Complex carbohydrates: brown rice, oats, quinoa, white and sweet potatoes
- Healthy fats: avocado, olive oil, nuts,
- Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, carrots, tomatoes, and cabbage
- Fruit: banana, apple, orange, and grapefruit and berries
- Beverages: water, unsweetened tea, black coffee, and diet sodas
- Supplements: bulking stack and protein powder
The bulking diet is not just about eating a lot of food. It’s important to eat the right kind of food in order to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. You also need to be drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated.
On the contrary, here are foods to avoid when bulking:
- Junk and highly processed food: fast food, chips, fries, cookies, and cake
- Beverages: sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages
Now that we’ve gone over the bulking diet, let’s talk about the cutting diet.
When cutting, you still need to do cardio but males can lose body fat without losing much muscle mass.
To cut, or lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means eating fewer calories than your body needs for maintenance.
Some of the best cutting foods include:
- Vegetables: lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, mushrooms, and onions
- Lean proteins: egg whites, cottage cheese, lean ground turkey, lean cuts of beef or pork
- Lower sugar fruits: grapefruit, berries, apples, peaches, plums, and pears
- Complex carbs: oats, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, low sugar cereals
- Supplements: Cutting supplement stack and appetite suppressants=
When cutting, you should avoid foods that contain fewer nutrients and are more calorie-dense.
- Junk food: chips, fast food, cookies, cake, candy, pizza, deep-fried foods, ice cream
- Sweet drinks: soft drinks, iced tea lemonade, nectars juices, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages
- Highly processed foods: bacon, sausage, ham, and salami, white bread, white pasta
- Fatty proteins: fatty cuts of beef or pork chicken with skin, full-fat dairy products, nuts, and seeds
Now that you know the difference between bulking and cutting diets, you can decide which one is right for you. It’s important to know which one you should be doing in order to reach your fitness goals.
Bulking and Cutting Workout
A workout plan is a regimented routine of exercises designed to improve the overall fitness of a bodybuilder or an athlete.
A good workout plan will target all the major muscle groups, and it should be tailored to your specific fitness level and goals: bulking/cutting up more or less.
It’s important to start slowly and progress gradually, especially if you’re new to working out.
Workout plans are also an important part of any fitness or bodybuilding journey. In this section, we will be discussing the bulking and cutting workout plan.
Now, when it comes to the ideal workout plan for someone looking to bulk up, there are a few things that should be considered.
Because it is designed to help you gain muscle mass. This type of workout plan focuses on compound exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time.
First and foremost is the frequency of your workouts. You’ll want to hit each muscle group at least twice a week in order for growth to occur.
Second, you’ll need to use heavier weights and do more sets and reps than someone who’s cutting. This is because you need to create a calorie surplus in order to bulk up.
Weightlifting does not need to be your only form of exercise when bulking up. HIIT, sprinting, and bodyweight exercises can also be incorporated into your routine for maximum results.
You should also focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once. These exercises are the most effective for building mass.
Some examples of compound exercises are the bench press, squat, and deadlift.
Finally, never forget to focus on your diet and nutrition. Eating a lot of calories is essential for bulking up.
On the other hand, the cutting workout plan is designed for those who want to lose fat and get shredded.
It comprises of workout routine that is specifically designed to help you lose body fat and improve your overall physical appearance. This type of workout plan typically involves a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and healthy dieting habits.
The goal of this type of workout plan is to burn calories and promote a calorie deficit.
This means that you’ll be doing a lot of cardio exercises and lifting lighter weights with more reps.
First, let’s discuss cardiovascular exercises. These are essential for burning calories and promoting weight loss.
Some examples of cardio exercises are jogging, swimming, biking, and elliptical training.
These exercises should be done for at least 30 minutes per day, five times a week.
Second, you’ll need to focus on strength training. This is important for maintaining your muscle mass and improving your physique.
You’ll want to use weights that are challenging but still allow you to complete the recommended number of reps.
Some good exercises to incorporate into a cutting workout plan are squats, lunges, bench press, and shoulder press.
Finally, dieting is essential for losing weight – more than anything else.
There are many different types of workout plans that can be tailored to fit anyone’s specific fitness goals. It is important to find a plan that works best for you and your lifestyle.
The summary here is that:
The goal when cutting is to increase your cardio while decreasing your weight lifting, and weight lifting on your days of weight lifting should be lighter weights and higher repetitions. While the goal for bulking workouts is to lift heavier weights and do fewer reps than cardio.
How to Start Cutting and Bulking for Beginners
Beginners are faced with a lot of questions when starting out in the gym.
What workout routine should I be doing?
How often do I need to work out each muscle group?
What type of diet should I follow?
You see people in the gym all the time who look like they know what they’re doing. They have their workout routine down to a science and their diet is on point.
But how did they get there?
The first step is figuring out what your goals are. Are you looking to bulk up and gain muscle mass? Or are you wanting to cut body fat and lean muscle?
Once you figure out your goal, it’s time to create a plan.
Like they always say, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Creating a workout routine and diet plan may seem daunting at first, but luckily there are plenty of resources available online to help you get started.
There are also a number of apps that can be helpful in tracking your progress and keeping you accountable.
When starting out in the gym, it’s best, to begin with a basic weightlifting program that targets all of the major muscle groups. A full-body routine is great for beginners because it allows you to work for each muscle group multiple times per week.
As you progress and get stronger, you can then begin to focus on specific muscle groups and add more targeted exercises.
We’ve covered some of the exercises and diet that you should be doing in your cutting and bulking workout routines above. So those should get you going.
Pros and Cons – Cutting and Bulking
- Bulking increases strength
- Gain muscle mass
- Enhances performance
- Increases bone density
- Promote recovery time from workouts
- May not see abs as easily
- Need to work out more to offset weight gain
- May lead to excess fat gain if not done correctly
- Retains lean muscle mass
- Sculpts perfect physique
- Promote improvement in blood values
- Increases athletic performance
- Better muscle appearance
- May lose muscle mass
- May have less energy
- Cutting can lead to overtraining
- Have to be more careful with diet
Both bulking and cutting have their own set of pros and cons, which is why it is important to know what your goals are before starting a workout routine.
FAQs on Cutting vs Bulking
Can I bulk and cut at the same time?
Can I bulk and cut at the same time? The answer is yes, you can bulk and cut at the same time by increasing your protein intake and decreasing your carbohydrate intake.
However, it is important to note that you cannot bulk and cut effectively if you do not have a calorie surplus or deficit, respectively. In other words, if you are eating the same number of calories as you are burning, you will not see any results.
What are the best cutting supplements?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each person’s body will react differently to different supplements.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are legal cutting steroids I discovered while writing this post. But it is best when you stack them.
Here are they:
You can more about them here.
Appetite suppressants are also great when you find yourself getting hunger cravings throughout the day.
What are the best bulking supplements?
Some of the best bulking supplements include:
- Protein powder
- Weight gainer shakes
Protein powders and pre-workouts are great for giving you that extra boost of energy to help you power through your workouts.
Creatine and weight gainer shakes are perfect for when you’re trying to bulk up and need to consume more calories than usual.
Also, there are also legal steroids that can help you bulk up.
Here they are:
- Deca Durabolin
You can learn more about them here.
Is bulking better than cutting?
None is better than the other. It all depends on your goals.
If you want to gain muscle mass and strength, then bulking is the way to go. However, if you’re looking to get shredded and sculpted, then cutting is the way to go.
Should beginners cut or bulk?
Beginners should focus on a full-body routine and work on all of the major muscle groups. Once they have progressed and gotten stronger, they can then begin to focus on specific muscle groups.
Should I bulk at 20% body fat?
Those who are below 10% (men) or 20% (women) body fat and want to gain muscle and strength as quickly as possible should bulk. This will help minimize the amount of fat you gain while bulking.
In addition, if you are over 15% body fat (men) or 25% body fat (women) and you want to lose fat quickly, you should cut.
Does bulking make you fat?
One of the careless reasons why people get fat is because they don’t control their calorie intake. So, if you’re not eating in a surplus, then you will not get fat.
Bulking will make you fat only if you eat in a surplus and do not work out. If you are working out regularly and eating in a surplus, then the weight gain will be muscle mass, not fat mass.
Can you cut while pregnant?
It is not recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding engage in any intense cutting or bulking cycles. This is because their bodies are already going through a lot of changes, and adding in a strenuous workout routine could be too much and may affect the baby.
How much muscle do you lose when cutting?
Well, it totally depends on how long your cutting cycle is and how much muscle mass you have to begin with.
If you have a lot of muscle mass and only cut for a short period of time, you may lose very little muscle mass. However, if you have less muscle mass and cut for a longer period of time, you may lose more muscle mass.
It is also important to note that if you do not give your body enough calories and protein while cutting, you will lose muscle mass faster.
A good aim to set while cutting is to try to lose no more than 0.25-0.75% of your body weight per week. This will help ensure that you lose mostly fat and not muscle.
How long should a cut last?
A cutting diet lasts anywhere from eight to sixteen weeks, depending on your goals.
What is the difference between bulking and cutting?
The main difference between bulking and cutting is that during a bulk, you are trying to add muscle mass, while during a cut, you are trying to lose body fat.
Final Thoughts – Should you Bulk or Cut?
Bulking and cutting are two of the most common methods for bodybuilders to achieve their desired physique.
However, there is a lot of debate over which one is better. So, which one should you choose? The answer largely depends on your goals and how much time you have to devote to your training.
If your goal is to gain muscle mass and extreme strength then bulking is the way to go.
But if you’re looking to get leaner, more defined, shredded, and sculpted, then cutting is the right choice.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which method works best for you – just make sure that you’re consistent with your training and eating habits so that you can see results.