The Transition: Bulking to Cutting
Hey guys! I haven’t posted recently on my latest fitness journey, so I figured I would update you all as to my latest workout routine. In this post I will be discussing my transition from bulking to cutting and what my journey looked like.
I ended my bulk September 2018 at 104.8 pounds-probably the most I have weighed in awhile. Most of this weight gain was muscle… plus a little fat from bulking/eating so much 🙂 I was definitely ready to begin cutting around the last two weeks of my bulking “season.” I began to start feeling really fat (I know, I know, I only weigh 104.8 pounds, but that is just how I felt). I was tired of forcing enough carbs down my mouth and couldn’t wait to cut back on those calories!
If you don’t know what cutting is, here is a little recap: Cutting essentially means putting your body in a caloric deficit. You are “feeding your body less energy than it burns every day in order to maximize fat loss, while minimizing muscle loss.” (Mike Matthews Thinner, Leaner, Stronger book) This is obtained through both decreasing your calorie count, as well as increasing your amount of cardio in your daily workouts.
Cutting can become tricky though! Unfortunately, when restricting calories it hinders your body’s ability to build muscle. With careful and the proper technique, it IS possible to lose fat, while still maintaining the muscle you gained from your bulk. There are two major categories to incorporate when cutting. Nutrition and cardio.
So, here is the down and dirty, without getting into too much detail.
Nutrition: The biggest way to make sure you are maintaining the muscle you have already gained is to eat enough protein. To lose the fat-you need to cut back on your carb intake. Now, people tend to think that when you are cutting you are not allowed any carbs at all. This is not true. Your body still needs carbs to help with muscle repair as well as energy to get through your workouts.
Cardio: Most people don’t like cardio, but if you want to cut and reach that six pack you are going to have to do a little cardio. Now you ask, how much cardio should you do? It is suggested to do about three to five 25-minute sessions of cardio per week. HIT, or high intensity interval training, is suggested to be the best choice for cardio when cutting. It burns more fat in less time compared to running on a treadmill AND it preserves muscular size. All in all, keep your cardio sessions short-this helps prevent muscle loss. Lastly, you should try to do your cardio after you have done your weightlifting. Cardio tends to drain your energy.
Here is a little bit about my journey through my first cut. First of all, it was more difficult than I expected. I thought it would be pretty easy cutting back on calories. I mean, I am a tiny girl in the first place, so really I don’t need to eat that much. However, when the time came to only be allotted 1,200 calories per day, I WAS STARVING. Fortunately, over time my body got used to the minimal amount of calories, but I can’t fully say there was a time I was ever completely full. There was a point pretty much every single day that I found myself to be quite hungry. I can say that by the end of my mini cut I had become more used to eating less calories. To be honest, I am almost nervous about starting a bulk again. Why? Because if you haven’t read my previous articles-that’s a lot of food! Side note: if you are thinking I am starving myself, I am not. I hope that is not what you get out of this article. My calories and macro-nutrient numbers have been meticulously calculated based on weight and body fat percentage. My main goal was to lose the fat I gained during my bulk, but maintain the muscle I had also gained.
Cardio was also quite hard to get back in to. I used to be the cardio queen. That is all I would do inside AND outside the gym, but once I started this weightlifting (bulking) program the cardio stopped. So, starting it back up was hard. I was tired and out of breath throughout my entire cardio sessions, which was something new for me.
I was able to see some results. It was encouraging to know that the process does work. It was difficult, but I look forward to perfecting my next cut even more. Below you will see my workout routine for cutting. Honestly, there wasn’t any change to my weightlifting workout routines. I am still lifting “heavy.” I just added some cardio to the end of my session about 3 times a week. Enjoy checking out my workout routine as well as some progress pictures! There is not much of a difference between the progress pictures considering my cut was so short, but my body definitely felt different!
|Day 1: Chest, Triceps & Calves + Cardio||Sets x Reps|
|Flat Barbell Bench Press (45lbs)||Warm up sets, 3 working sets|
|Flat Dumbbell Bench Press (20lbs)||3 working sets|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (22.5lbs)||3 working sets|
|Seated Triceps press||3 working set|
|Standing Calf Raise||3 sets of 4-6 reps|
|Seated calf raise||
3 sets of 4-6 reps
|Day 2: Back, Butt, Biceps, & Abs||Sets|
|Barbell deadlift (35lbs)||Warm up sets, 6 working sets|
|Barbell row (45lbs)||3 Working sets|
|E-Z bar Curl||3 working sets|
|Barbell or dumbell hip thrust (70lbs)||3 working sets|
|3 abs circuits||3 working sets|
|Day 3: Shoulders & Calves + Cardio||Sets|
|Seated or standing Barbell Military Press (40lbs)||Warm up sets, 3 working sets|
|Arnold Dumbbell Press||3 working sets|
|Side lateral raise (15lbs)||3 working sets|
|Barbell Rear Delt row||3 working sets|
|Donkey Calf raise||3 working sets|
|Day 4: Legs, Butt & Abs + Cardio||Sets|
|Barbell squat||Warm up sets, 3 working sets|
|Front squat (45lbs)||3 working sets|
|Leg press (15lbs)||3 working sets|
|Leg Curl (seated or lying)||3 working sets|
|Glute/Butt Blaster||3 working sets|
|3 ab circuits|