The Best Bodybuilding Diet Tips For Bulking And Cutting
Are you a beginner that wants to build muscle, get shredded, and become stronger at the gym? If the answer is yes, you're in for a treat.
My name is James and today I'm going to share the best bodybuilding diet tips that I've learned over the years.
I'm not going to sugarcoat things like some people tend to do, because I think that it's extremely important that you get a full understanding on what it really takes to build a good physique.
Hopefully, you can take advantage of these tips and use them to get started off with the right foot – because I sure wish that I had this information when I first started bodybuilding.
It goes without saying that if you're already an experienced lifter with years of bodybuilding knowledge under your belt; you'll probably want to skip this one.
If you're still fairly new to this – you're definitely in the right place.
Just How Important Is a Diet?
If you went up to a professional bodybuilder right now and asked him -or her- what the secret to building a physique is – their answer will probably surprise you.
This, because building a physique is the opposite of complicated.
Don't get me wrong, bodybuilding is very hard, as it takes years of hard work and dedication. But, on paper, it's nothing more than rinse and repeat.
Professional athletes have said a million times over that bodybuilding is nothing more than eating right, training hard, and getting plenty of rest.
Scientifically-speaking, training doesn't build muscle. Training only damages the muscle fibers so they can grow larger and stronger.
Once they're at their weakest, they need nutrients and rest to recover and transform. If your diet isn't on point, you won't grow. Needless to say, dieting is (arguably) more important than training.
Bulking To Gain Lean Muscle
How to Bulk
Bulking is an important part of dieting that allows a bodybuilder to add more muscle to their physique while getting stronger, at the same time.
A lot of beginners tend to associate bulking with chowing down everything that crosses their paths. Eating everything in sight is not bulking.
Bulking is defined as an intelligent caloric increase in order to build muscle mass and strength. This will be impossible to achieve if you eat junk all day.
Eating an uncontrolled amount of unhealthy calories will lead to an increase in body fat, a substantial amount of lethargy, and a decrease in performance.
If you want to bulk, my number one tip for you is to not do anything drastic and forget about eating a specific amount of calories.
Instead of focusing on hitting a certain caloric number, shift your attention to adding more clean foods into your diet that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat.
Meal Plan and Counting Macros
When I first started bodybuilding, a ton of people told me that in order to build muscle, I needed to keep track of my calories by following a meal plan.
Meal plans are the perfect example of a bro diet because they are dumb, annoying, and extremely useless. Let me explain why.
In order for a meal plan to be created, here's what fitness experts and calculators take into consideration:
- Current/Goal Weight
- Exercise Frequency
- Activity Levels
- Caloric Intake
- Caloric Expenditure
The funny thing is that the data literally means nothing. Ok, maybe I'm being too harsh… it means something – but it's not everything.
Do you honestly believe -for example- that two individuals with the same stats would be able to lose weight or build muscle at the same rate? It's very unlikely.
Why? Because everyone is genetically unique. On paper, a macro calculator may claim that you need 150 grams of protein a day (to build muscle) while you could possibly achieve the same results with less.
If you're thinking about bulking, chances are that you want to build lean muscle mass and improve your strength, right?
Instead of worrying about eating a certain amount of calories, take a good look at what you're eating right now, and slowly try to eat a little bit more.
You could do this by eating the same foods in higher quantities, or by implementing other healthy meals.
Meal plans definitely have their place, but I'm a firm believer that listening to your body -and learning to eat instinctively- will yield far better results in the long run.
To give you an example, when I was younger -and just for the fun of it- I had a “bodybuilding expert” write me a meal plan for building muscle.
He calculated that I needed to eat over 3000 calories. Well… guess what? I was already building muscle with less than 2500 calories.
Best Cutting Diet Tips
How To Get Shredded Without Losing Muscle
Now that we covered the fundamentals of bulking – it's time that we talk about cutting.
Cutting is a type of dieting in which the main goal is to eliminate body fat; while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible.
Cutting is a lot more difficult than bulking due to the fact that preserving muscle -during this phase- can result to be quite difficult.
It's worth mentioning that muscle will always be lost during a cutting phase and there's no way around it.
With that being said, learning to reduce the amount of lost muscle mass -during a cut-is what every bodybuilder strives to achieve.
Here's my advice on how to do it.
The Proper Way to Lose Body Fat
The best way to get shredded without losing (too much) muscle is by doing it in a slow and controlled manner.
Far too many bodybuilders are keen on looking lean and decide to drastically cut their calories in an attempt to lose weight quickly.
To add insult to injury, they'll usually combine their drastic calorie cut with a demanding cardio regime.
This is counterproductive and will place the human body in a fragile position. If you do this, you will lose a lot of muscle.
If you want to lean out, use the same principle that I just shared with you, regarding bulking.
Evaluate your food consumption, slowly reduce your caloric intake, and don't do cardio until you've hit a plateau. It's really that easy.
Training, Cardio, and Hitting Plateaus While Cutting
When I was first starting out, I was told that if I wanted to cut; I needed to shift my training style, do a lot of cardio, and eat clean.
Although doing this could have led to a good amount of weight loss; I knew that there were better ways to do it.
So, what did I do? I kept my training intense and heavy, I lowered my food portions a little, and I didn't start doing cardio until I stopped seeing progress.
The key to maintaining as much muscle as possible while shredding down is to generate as many changes as possible with the least amount of effort.
If I can lose weight by only dropping my calories a little, why would I concern myself with changing my entire diet?
If I'm losing weight without doing cardio, why should I even consider doing it? That's the mentality that I had back then and the same one that guides me today.
I'm fully aware that this isn't your typical article on bulking and cutting. But, that was the whole purpose of this post.
Obviously, there's a lot more to bulking and cutting that wasn't covered in this post; but I tried my best to cover the basics.
In short, if you want to build muscle, you'll need to increase your caloric intake. If you want to reduce your body's fat percentage, you'll need to lower your caloric intake.
It's important that you learn to listen to your body instead of following generic meal plans and calculators that aren't very accurate.
There are a ton of variables that make your body unique. It's up to you to figure them out and take full advantage of them.
Hopefully, this post managed to clear a few things up and didn't end up confusing you more. Good luck with your progress and if you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below.