A bodybuilder’s bulking cycle is all about ramping up. You’re on a mission to increase your strength and power, and building muscle mass means doing more. That’s more lifting, more eating, and more attention to training your body. Bulking means teaching your body how to turn all your food into energy and muscle. Most bodybuilders enjoy this process because the results are visible and everything you do feels productive.
Cutting cycles often follow the bulking cycle, and most bodybuilders find them less motivating. This is the period where you’re shedding some of your body fat. It makes your body look even stronger, because the muscles are pronounced and the lines are lean. You’ll need to increase your cardio workouts in addition to your weight lifting, and you’ll also have to be more careful with your calories. You don’t necessarily have to eat less, but you do need to eat differently. Don’t let this stress and depress you. It’s still possible to eat well and enjoy your food.
What to Eat During a Cutting Cycle
The food you eat should focus on lower fats and no sugar, while maintaining your protein and fiber levels. While you might have been eating and cooking with unlimited amounts of oils, it’s time to cut those back a bit when you’re cutting. Grill some chicken and poach some fish. Salmon is an excellent staple during your cutting cycles. It’s packed with protein and omega 3 fats.
High fiber vegetables are also a good way to keep yourself full. You’ll also get a lot of fiber and the complex carbohydrates that are necessary to keep your energy levels up. Fill up on spinach and broccoli. Eat kale. Big salads and cabbage should be present in as many daily meals as possible.
A cutting cycle is also a great time to eat whole grain breads. During a bulking cycle, you can be more liberal with your carbs. Rice and pasta are good. However, when you’re cutting, you have to be more careful with the bread and carb products you eat. Stick to whole grains. Two or three slices of whole grain bread with your meals will give you what you need and keep you feeling satisfied. Top the bread with something like eggs or tuna.
Additional Eating Strategies for Cutting Cycles
Make sure you’re staying hydrated. You need to increase your water while you’re cutting so you can flush out fat and stimulate the processing of your food into lean muscle. It also helps you feel less hungry. If you’re hydrating with water, you’re more likely to avoid high sugar drinks that are counterproductive like sodas.
Be careful with caffeine. You don’t need to eliminate it entirely. In fact, you can use caffeine to your advantage because it keeps you energized and alert. It can help you stay focused on your plans and your workouts. Consume it in moderation so you don’t sabotage your cutting cycle. Experts recommend no more than 400 milligrams per day.
Get into the habit of cooking your own meals. When you’re in a restaurant or ordering takeout, it can be difficult to make good choices. The cutting cycle requires you to focus more intently on your food than the bulking cycle. When you’re preparing your own meals, you can be more attentive to what you’re eating. Make it fun by inviting friends over or trying new recipes.
The cutting cycle is an important part of your bodybuilding plans. It doesn’t have to be dreadful, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Stay focused, keep working out hard, and make good food choices. You’ll continue on your path towards success.