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The Differences Between a Cutting Cycle and Bulking Cycle

Everyone wants to achieve their dream body, and the best way to achieve this is through working out. Regardless of whether you want to add lean muscle or lose fat, there are many ways to do so. Two of the most common methods are to perform a bulking cycle and follow it up with a cutting cycle. Sometimes it may be one or the other; it’s all about gaining muscle mass while losing body fat. However, what are some of the major differences when it comes to bulking and cutting? This guide will help you out!

Cutting Cycle vs. Bulking Cycle: Knowing the Basics

When deciding when to start a bulking and cutting cycle, you need to understand the benefits and risks involved. Resistance training should continue to play a role during bulking and cutting cycles. Resistance training helps maintain muscle mass, increases muscle strength, and promotes weight loss. It also helps increase muscle gains.

During a bulking cycle, you should train at least six times per week, equaling three weight training sessions and three cardio sessions. This time frame is dependent on your goals and current body composition. Cutting involves eating fewer calories to lose weight, while bulking focuses on gaining muscle. Both strategies have pros and cons, and you should consult your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet.

Where Do You Start: Bulking or Cutting?

While these two cycles get compared rather frequently, it’s important to understand that there are some major differences. For starters, it will all depend on you and your body’s goals. Usually, the bulking cycle is great to start if your body fat percentage is lower and you have very little muscle mass. However, cutting will be the best if you have a high body fat percentage and relatively large muscle mass.

The Number

One of the biggest similarities when it comes to bulking and cutting would be the fact that the weight on the scale just doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s all body fat percentage and muscle mass. Sure, there are plenty of sports where the scale of weight is the main focus, such as wrestling or even boxing. 

However, body composition should be the main focal point. If you put on weight that isn’t muscle, then it’s going to be fat, not something that either cycle wants. Also, it’s not just about cutting back calories, as you could always risk losing muscle mass. The number for both cycles varies as those who are bulking up will look into muscle mass, and those who are cutting will be paying more attention to body fat percentage.

Length of Time

Regarding fitness, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all, so the answer will greatly vary since everyone’s bodies are different. Plus, metabolism and age will also make the answer differ. However, in terms of time, you can usually count on the bulking cycle to be around three to four months long. For the cutting cycle, it’s believed that an average of eight to twelve weeks will be optimal, but this includes working out too.

Macronutrient Intake

Regardless of whether you’re in the bulking cycle or cutting cycle, you’ll need to count your macros each day and for each meal. Both cycles will need good fats (such as avocados), carbs, and lean protein. While the dieting itself doesn’t make the biggest difference between these two, you can count on one major difference: caloric total. 

When it comes to cutting cycles, you should try to focus closely on your macros, but you should also have a lower caloric total. Most people who are in the cutting cycle will opt for cutting out their carbs altogether or even cutting back a bit. Your body does need carbs for good muscle function, but cutting back on calories is the most significant difference between the two cycles.

Can I Do the Bulking and Cutting Cycle at the Same Time?

Not entirely; some professional bodybuilders state that it can be possible to do both cycles at the same time. However, there is a lot of debate within the bodybuilding community on whether this is body recomposition or doing both cycles at once. Plus, there are a lot of questions on whether this is even effective for building muscle and losing body fat. 

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