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Bulking Or Cutting: What Should You Do First?

Disclaimer: The article reflects opinions based on the personal experience of the coach. It might not match with the beliefs of other fitness coaches.

Should I bulk or should I cut? How do I start? These are some of the most poignant questions in the lifting community.  Now, there is no concrete answer to these questions as it depends on various vital factors. What are they? Let’s find out:

Some Basics About Bulking And Cutting

Bulking Or Cutting: What Should You Do First? © Youtube

We all know the fact that for cutting, one has to be in a caloric deficit diet whereas for bulking, a caloric surplus diet is required.  However, for any optimum diet, setting up adequate macros according to the respective goal is imperative.  Though, protein remains the king no matter what your goal is (except in the ketogenic diet).

1) Cutting

The basic bullet points that one has to keep in mind while going into a shredding phase is to stay away from all kinds of crash diets/ detox juices and of course, overdoing cardio. Also, avoid cutting down calories drastically in order to prevent metabolism slowdown.

2) Bulking 

While on a bulking diet, it is imperative to understand that the goal is to pack on muscle mass, not fat mass. A majority of lifters trying to get buff, hog on junk food to get into a surplus and end up getting fat. This is called a dirty bulk and of course, makes you filthy fat. No doubt, there will be slight fat gain during the bulking phase but if the ratio of fat gain in is 3:1 where 3 is the fat, you need to look into your macro breakdown.

3) What Should I Do First- Bulk Or Cut?

Bulking Or Cutting: What Should You Do First? © bodybuilding

Alright, so coming to the point, the decision of choosing between bulking or cutting depends on the following factors-

• Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR is the primary factor that one has to keep in mind before choosing between the two phases.  BMR is basically the number of calories that your body needs at rest for its vital functions. Sedentary lifestyle, loss of appetite, too much cardio and poor sleep are key contributors to a sluggish metabolic rate.  As a matter of fact- higher the BMR, the better will be the body’s ability to burn fat and absorb nutrients.  

• Muscle Mass

If a person has good muscle mass, chances are that he will be have a good BMR. Also, muscle is an active tissue and requires a constant energy supply (calories) to sustain itself. 

In case, a person has negligible muscle mass, I will always suggest to bulk up first in order to pack on decent muscle mass. However, understand the fact that it is a slow process and it will take you sometime to get muscular. Moreover, the muscle gaining process also accelerates the BMR which is again the key element for any transformation.

• How Much Are You Eating? 

Bulking Or Cutting: What Should You Do First? © Youtube

Now, a lot of you might not realize this but the fact is that you are under eating. Under eating not only halts anabolism but also slow down metabolism. While over-eating leads to obesity, under eating leads the body to hold fat in obese subjects. That’s why drastically cutting calories while on a cut can prove to be counterproductive. Reduce calories slowly while losing weight and increase calories slowly while on a bulk.    

Conclusion

If you are fat with less muscle mass and a lagging appetite, you should first get on maintenance calories and try putting on muscle mass and reduce fat at the same time- straight up bulking in not for you. If you are fat with solid muscle mass, get on a cut. 

For skinny fat people, starting with a cut is ideal. Remember, by cut, I mean putting on muscle and losing fat at the same time.

Note:  Irrespective of the goal, weight training supported with a high protein diet should be a staple protocol to achieve your goal. Remember, more the muscle mass, higher will be the BMR.

Rachit Dua is an advanced K11 certified fitness coach for general and special population (people with medical issues, old age people, pregnant women, and children) and a certified sports nutritionist. You can get in touch with him facebook and Instagram.

Photo: © Thinkstock/Getty Images (Main Image)

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