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Let’s take a look at transforming how your body looks. Many people simply need to stimulate muscle growth in order to attain the level of definition that they seek. Others have to lose body fat in order to see the muscle that they already have. Both problems can be remedied with the presence of muscle. Growing muscle and leaning out can seem to be totally impossible. Becoming muscular and defined can be achieved by incorporating both a bulking cycle and a cutting cycle. Skeletal muscle is nature's fat burner, the less muscle you have on your frame the softer you will be.
The key to growing muscle and seeing unparalleled definition in your body has to do with cycling. Cycling is lifting with a purpose. Cycling enables your body to reach a desired result in a specific time frame at which time you switch gears in both your nutrition as well as your training to attain another predetermined goal. This shocks the human body and also reaps new results by eliciting a new body response. I personally like to begin with longer cycles, the changes that you can make in this time frame are more visible. Cycles that are 8-12 weeks in duration are very good for the beginner. As you near your goal then you should make your cycles shorter in duration - 2 week bulking and cutting cycles make for a good maintenance routine. You would eat and train at an intensity that will elicit a certain response. Let’s say that you wanted to put on as much muscle as possible. To do this you will have to change the amount of food you consume as well as change the way that you lift. To lean out you will have to cut the calories and burn a heightened amount of calories through exercise.
To force muscle to grow you have to create an anabolic environment in the body. You will have to create excess calories for your body to stimulate growth. You get to eat more calories to stimulate growth! One pound of muscle consumes 35-50 more calories per day than fat. Gaining 10lbs of muscle will burn 350-500 calories per week. A major thing to keep in mind is that you should consume slightly more carbohydrates and fats (good fats, flax seed, polyunsaturated fats, nuts, olive oil etc.). Carbohydrates will fuel the taxing workouts that you will have to perform in order to stimulate muscle growth. You will have to push hard during this “Bulking” cycle. For a beginner I will suggest that you start with a 6-8 rep range. Yes, even for you ladies, especially you ladies! Put down those sad 5-10lb weights that you have been lifting for years. You should use a weight that you can barely perform 8 repetitions with not 9 or 12 if $1,000,000 was at stake. Work with that weight for 3-5 sets. Breaks should be 90-120 seconds in duration between sets. A weight that you can only do 6-8 times is too heavy for you. Heavy weight training places a lot of stress on the body. To remain in an anabolic state you will need rest. Sleep is key to muscle growth, and stunts a lot of people’s growth. A high protein diet with slightly higher levels of fats and carbs will fuel the muscle growth needed to become CutAndJacked.
The actual structure of your workouts will vary from person to person. Some people’s bodies’ respond to dropsetting, pyramiding, supersetting, compound setting, straight sets, negatives etc. You will have to make that choice based on trying them all and maybe incorporating some combo of them all into your routine. They can be interchanged during your training cycle. The most important thing is that you train heavy, with good form and plenty of rest. Injury will put a terrible halt to your efforts. By the end of the 12th week of your bulking cycle you should be heavier than when you started. How lean you are would depend on your interpretation of when I said “you should consume slightly more carbohydrates and fats”. At this point you should switch gears.
Switching to the cutting phase will seem very restrictive at first. Keep in mind that this is all for the greater good. You will still need carbohydrates so do not cut them out completely. Your diet should switch from any simple carbs to complex carbs (pasta and rice to veggies and fruit) as well as a reduction in calories -500-700 cals. Now you should work with weight that you cannot do another rep at 10-12 as opposed to 6-8, also add more sets perform 6-8 sets. This will burn more calories and allow you to maintain the muscle that you created over the last 12 weeks. Cardio should be done most if not all days of the week. Two of those days should incorporate short bursts of high intensity cardio. Body fat will start to melt off as you train this way. High intensity interval training will also stimulate muscle growth as you burn massive amounts of calories in short periods of time. Drink about half your body weight in ounces each day in order to keep it all clicking. You may need to utilize glutamine or other amino acids to ensure that you are not moving into a level of muscle wasting. You will know that if despite your weight training efforts your muscles look flat and your strength starts to wain in the gym. The result of cycling growth and cutting phases for a man is a leaner and larger version of your self. The result for a woman is a toned and sculpted goddess.
There can be very good results gained using as little as 4-6 week cycles. The results will also keep the muscles of the body guessing, which is the key to change. As you get closer to the goals that you are working towards you can lessen the amount of time of each cycle. Utilize both bulking and cutting cycles to change your body. You will eventually be able to find the right cycle and rhythm that works for your body.
Written by Dre Farnell
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