Bulking and Cutting have been around a long time, and its constantly confusing to people when and how they long they should each of them
I’m going to clear up the muscle growth myths.
1 – Bulking and Cutting comes from the bodybuilding world
Bodybuilders train to maximize muscle mass, and the longer you train for, the harder it becomes to gain muscle mass. When you are a BEGINNER, you can lose fat & gain muscle at the same time through eating at maintenance.
2 – Bulking and Cutting is for advanced trainees who already maxed out their novice gains
If you’re in year 4 or 5 of lifting, your muscle gains have slowed down considerably. The way to Reliably gain muscle is to literally GAIN WEIGHT. Ie, you need to “bulk”
3 – Bulking when you are muscular and lean is VERY different from when you’re a novice
Bodybuilders will “bulk” by going from single digit bodyfat up the mid teens, hypothetic, say 5% bodyfat to 15%. Thats 10% gain, but look their start point
They’re not 14% going to 20%, with only 2 years of lifting under their belt and nowhere close to their natural muscular potential. They can afford to gain a lot of weight, they’re not fat and have a lot of muscle already. This is why “bulking” is an advanced strategy.
4 – In your first 1-2 years of training, you can readily GAIN muscle and LOSE fat at the same time
This simultaneous effect is not uncommon at all. If you eat at caloric maintenance and eat high protein (1 gram per lb bodyweight) it can happen.
This is an example I posted earlier. This guy’s weight actually went down a pound, yet he looks more muscular, because he IS. He experienced roughly equal fat loss and muscle gain. This is called “noobie gains”. Its super common if you ate and train right.
5 – If you’re in years 1-2 of lifting, you don’t need to “Bulk”
You can eat at maintenance or a minor surplus, and gain muscle. It doesn’t require dedicated periods of trying to gain TONS of weight. Again, look at the chart. It’s not until year 4 that gaining muscle becomes SLOW.
6 – If you’re overly fat and metabolically unhealthy
Yes, you SHOULD lose the body fat first. But that doesnt mean no muscle growth can happen. Still train to get stronger, & build muscle. Eat high protein 1gram/ln. Drink enough water. Don’t neglect strength & focus only on scale.
7 – You’re starting point is what matters
Are you skinny fat with 22% bodyfat? Or you are an ectomorph body whose never lifted weights but naturally has abs? DIFFERENT FOLKS, DIFFERENT APPROACH. The diet strategy will NOT be the same obviously, and why would it?
People who are overly fat before training don’t need to bulk for obvious reasons. People who start off very lean might NEED to “bulk”, ie, increase their calorie intake because they struggle to gain weight. Diet is contextual to the individual. There is no “do this” magical answer.