In a previous article I have listed a few recommendations about nutrition when cutting. Now I would like to cover exercising, with one focus: how to lose fat and not muscle during your training sessions. Depending on digressions I will see how far it goes with this article 😉 In fact I would like to take this opportunity to do a refresher on some basics (aerobic vs anaerobic exercise, catabolic vs anabolic, fat oxidation, fasted cardio, HIIT vs LISS or LSD – in plain english, High Intensity Interval Training vs Low Intensity Steady State vs Long Slow Distance, etc..). And in all cases with lessons that non-bodybuilders could learn from cutting for a weight loss plan.
If I digress too much, feel free to tell me 🙂
Bulking and Cutting Cycles
Let’s start with a typical newbie question 😉 How long should a bulking and cutting phase ideally last?And what is the best time in year for that?
Regarding the first question, it depends on your metabolism but a reasonable period of time for bulking would be three months, due to the efforts and body changes. Regarding the cutting phase, do it until you have reached your fat loss goals. No hurry – cutting might be hard in the beginning until you find your own way, I will come back to that later.
Now the second question: best time for bulking and cutting. Years ago the leitmotiv was: bulk up in winter and cut down in summer! Then people thought that there could be a better way than alternatively building muscle and fat and then dieting for fat loss: they proposed a so-called «Clean Bulking» meant to increase muscle and a minimum of fat through cardiovascular workouts during the bulking phase. This idea is quite surprising because bodybuilders think that cardio training was counterproductive during the anabolic phase, tending to use muscle as energy source thus reducing the muscle mass.
I will not take a stand here but rather give you my own advice based on experience and recent discussions within the team and with people around me (mainly doctors). In fact, due to the pressure that Derek has put on me, I thought that it would be fair to challenge my own point of view 😉
Especially with recent medical studies that I had no time to review, considering the workload and lack of time since.. well, since last summer! OK, time to catch up 🙂
Quick Reminder About Nutrition
Very important: keep your protein intake at the right level! Prefer low fat proteins from tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, egg whites and lean red meat. This is highly recommended if you want to keep your muscle mass and lose fat at the same time: if you lower your protein intake during your diet, your body has no other choice than breaking down muscle tissue as protein source for energy.
Help your body
With a caloric deficit you will see that your workout will become much harder. I will detail below, the quick advice here is to find a good pre-workout supplement and even more important, a good post-workout one to support your recovering process: if taken immediatly after your workout, it will help your body to build new muscle tissue and to stop the breakdown of the existing one. The best post-workout supplements are digested quickly and provide high quality amino acids, preferably BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) like this one in picture (click for details). Make sure also to choose a supplement that is in line with your dieting efforts.
As mentioned in the previous article, ephedrine is the perfect match for your cutting phase. It’s not a surprise if bodybuilders rely on it when they want to get rid of the fat that came during bulking along with muscle growth. You can use ephedrine alone or preferably in an EC stack, in both cases it will boost your results by:
- raising your metabolism
- boosting the lipolysis process (starting the breakdown of fat cells earlier and converting them into energy that can be used for exercising)
- raising your energy level
- lowering your appetite as indirect dopamine agonist
OK, I will now give you some time to do your research on post-workout supplements, hopefully at the same place where you already buy ephedrine in order to save a bit on shipping costs. Meanwhile I will prepare the next post about the frequently asked question: is cardio training recommended during a cutting phase, knowing the risk of muscle loss?
Keep in touch,