After bulking up, how do you cut without losing muscle?
You don’t, you just try to lose more fat than muscle tissue on the way down.
The “Bulk-Up to Cut-Down” is a classic, Old Skool tried-and-truely-bro-tested method made famous by bodybuilders such as Lee Priest.
Offseason the Blond Myth was rumoured to tip the scales at the top end of 300lbs. and then grind down to step onstage at around 210lbs. At a stature of 5′5″, this truly qualifies him as one impressive myth, blond or otherwise!
But there are also many, many bodybuilders who either never bounced their body weight, or never made a serious habit of using this technique in their contest prep during their professional careers. Other bodybuilders, including myself, may have indulged from time to time in a little piggishness after a competition, gained 10-20 kilos, got sick of looking and feeling liked stuffed hogs, lost the chub and a month or two later were back in the saddle and right back to work after our fat little holiday. The alternative strategy that these builders used was to gradually climb up the weight ladder, slowly putting on quality lean muscle to topout on the big day. This technique ensured that an athlete was in good shape, ready for a photo op all year around.
Unless you are rather genetically gifted and/or highly chemically-enhanced, I think that the best one can hope for is a 75/25compromise when talking about muscle gain vs fat loss. I think that this ratio, at least for most of us mere mortals, is going to be at the frontier of the achievable.
Here’s how it goes (with a little good luck angel perched loyally on your shoulder and a lot of intestinal fortitude, cunning and hard work one might be able to best this):
Bulking Best Can Do: for every kilo of weight gain you get 750g muscle MAX and 250g fat MIN.
Cutting Best Can Do: for every Kilo cut, you lose 750g fat MAX and 250g muscle MIN.
Be aware of three things: . 1) The faster you gain weight, the higher the likelihood this weight gain will be more fat than muscle; 2) The quicker you lose weight, the higher the probability most of that weight loss will be lean muscle mass; and 3) this is a heuristic, one that is true according to me and my paltry personal and professional experiences (not scientifically proven facts). But, with over 40 or so years in the business, there isn’t anyone that I have come across or can think of who has bested this observation. They might claim to. But after a little deeper scrutiny, these claims don’t hold up. Sorry, not much in the way of free lunches concerning this matter.
Nevertheless, should you decide to go the Way of the Bulk, here are a few light suggestions:
- Go Keto. But not classic Keto. A modified Low-Carb plan would be the best diet discipline to use in this case. However, you will want a higher intake of protein than the classic ketogenic diet allows. Some of this protein may be transformed in your body to carbohydrate (a process known as gluconeogenesis), but it is expensive and your body spends a great deal of calories to do this. Maintaining a high protein profile may kick you out of ketosis, but staying in Keto is not your main objective, maintaining lean muscle tissue is. Consider supplementing with commercially available keto-salts, they taste like 3-day-old bilge water, but have the potential to be quite useful here.
- Experiment with cortisol controlling, stress reducing activities and anti-cortisol supplements (check out a website such as , or otherwise do some research and experimentation.Don’tjust take for granted things that guys on Quora or YouTube tell you. Your job is to make sure that things that people tell you will work, actually do work! Most often people don’t want to use any elbow grease or spend the necessary to make sure it does what it says on the tin.
- If you’re going to go for a run or do some cardio, make it aHIIToriented type of activity rather than LSD or DOA (long, slow distance or drawn out activity, as the less intense, longer duration activities do seem to me better at chewing up valuable muscle mass than accelerating the loss of fat tissue during dieting.