Bulking Up And Cutting-Offseason Bodybuilding Guide

Bulking and cutting and offseason bodybuilding are still popular topics since everyone wants to improve their physique for their next contest, photo shoot or beach season. Sadly, too many people are stuck in the old school thought process of “more is better”.

How To Bulk and Cut The Right Way

They eat more food…

They gain more weight (not muscle)….

That’s suppose to happen in the off-season right? When you’re bulking up you’re suppose to do that right? Do you need to bulk and cut?


You need to stay lean in the offseason. Check out my articles on why you get hungry on a diet, believe me, all the bulking up that you’re doing has a role to play.

Here’s the question…

If someone focuses on bulking up and gaining weight, do those few pounds actually make an improvement in your physique?

Or would you be better off taking a long time to add more muscle?

How long should a bulking phase last?

Are there any ways to measure how good a offseason bodybuilding bulking phase was?

I’ll cover all of that here. Yes, this article is for men and women.

A few pounds of muscle isn’t going to make a huge difference to your overall physique. That being said, we have to realize how much 1 pound of muscle really is. Ever have a huge T-bone steak with little fat? That’s about a pound of muscle. So 1 pound of muscle is actually a lot. Taper your expectation for your offseason from the beginning and you won’t get fat.

Over the course of a few months, adding 1-2 pounds per month with proper dieting and training, can represent a visual difference in your physique.

The length and success of a offseason bodybuilding bulking phase should be based on the two following factors.

1. How you were when you started bulking or how fat your were when you started and how lean or fat you are when your bulking up cycle ends?

2. How much body fat that you’re willing to gain?

You really need to ask yourself these two questions before you start your bulking cycle then switch and start to cut.

Here’s some common bulking up off season bodybuilding mistakes that people make.

1. Bulking up isn’t a free pass to get fat. That’s the “old school” way and it just flat out sucks. Sure, you need to take in extra calories to build muscle but pigging out for months on end leads to unwanted and unhealthy fat gain. You’ll need to diet eventually and why make it harder on yourself? Unless you have the right diet for you, you’ll lose muscle on a diet.

2. Trying to stay super lean when bulking up is a recipe for disaster. You can’t expect to not gain some fat. With new muscle comes fat, they just go together like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that you want to eat. Trying to stay photo shoot or your best lean condition will aid ZERO muscle to your frame.

3. With my bodybuilding and model clients that are bulking up, we set a cut off point. Most people don’t.

It could be a waist measurement. visual bodyfat gain, caliper readings or just the plain old mirror staring back at you.

At this point, I usually advise a specific mini-diet phase in order to help the body increase its sensitivity to insulin, which is damaged with consistent fluxes of carbohydrates. Believe me, you’ll like this phase. Your appetite will spike again and you’ll be back in bulking up offseason mode faster then you think.

You see there’s a trade off point. The fatter you get the more your incoming calories go to fat stores. There’s not some magic cut off point that stores nutrients as fat or muscle. If you’re bulking up for a long period of time, every day you’re increasing your ability to gain fat. Following a bulking up period with a short mini bulk diet will help you out alot. Mini bulks work better then long bulking and cutting cycles.


Bulking and Cutting For Newbies

The idea that you can add pounds of weight, some of it being muscle, and cut down and lose bodyfat while retaining most of that muscle doesn’t make much sense. Your starting position gets moved higher and it makes it harder for your body to drop those additional pounds. Not to mention that you’ve caused your metabolism to have to work harder. Each pound of fat does damage to your metabolism. Enzymes are down regulated and we have to work that much harder to overcome that deficit.

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