by 3J, www.3jsdiet.com
Lets talk about something that, though obvious to the experienced, is missed a lot by amateur bodybuilders who are aspiring to get that model physique. I will write this article as if speaking of a person with statistically average stats and the process he has to go through to gain a wonderful body. Lets call Mr. Average “Bob.”
Bob is a 26 year old male. He has dabbled in the gym all his life but has never really gotten serious about his training or his nutrition. He is 5’10 165lbs and about 14% bodyfat. Bob is underweight and needs to go through a process of bulking, that would be our step one
Running a 5 day basic compound movement training split, Bob would commit himself to training every week while giving himself rest on the weekends. He would change his diet, allowing for 5-6 meals a day and aiming for about 3000 calories at first. Bob would see how the 3k calories was working for him by weighing himself weekly. Initially bob would see weight gain, ideally about 1-2lbs a week. At some point his body and metabolism would outgrow the diet and he would need to increase calories. Ideally, you want to increase calories so that you continually gain 1-2lbs a week. Usually an increase of 200-300 calories at a time is the right way to go. Not only will you continue to grow, but you will lower the chances of unnecessary fat gain. So Bob does just as I have said, and now, after about 3 to 4 months he has added about 30lbs. Not bad at all for bob, he now weighs 195lbs. Do we jump straight into a cut? Absolutely not!
The Maintenance phase
So why not jump on a cut and bring all those wonderful muscles and abs out that we have worked so hard to get? Its because we have worked so hard to get them. Our bodies have a homeostasis that they like to keep. There is a target number, plus or minus 10lbs, which our bodies are used to. Our metabolism is used to that number, so it likes to keep at that level. If we were to cut after only 3 months of bulking our body is nowhere close to getting used to our new weight. Here is where the maintenance phase comes in. For the next 3 months at minimum, we have to keep our weight at 195. This gives the body enough time to adjust to the new weight and primes us for a much better cut.
The Cutting phase
OK, the 3 months are up. We are ready to cut. Taking into consideration Bobs new and improved weight, we can estimate that we should start cutting at about 3000 calories, which is what he started his bulk with. We will ride the cut out without cardio, looking for 1-2 lbs a week of weight loss until he stalls. Once bob stalls, we will add some cardio, very lightly at first. Losing weight is like an onion, it has to be done in layers. First you cut calories, stall, add cardio, stall, add more cardio, stall, and then cut calories again. Little by little you continue to do this so that you only lose 1-2lbs a week continuously. Having done it correctly you should have saved a lot of muscle you would have lost and made it to 8 percent bodyfat fairly easily.
It is no secret guys – this is how it should be done. Think again when you set up your goals and want to immediately jump into a cut. It will definitely do more harm than good.