Kmjt's Bulking/Cutting Guide
Bulking and cutting are bodybuilding terms used to describe gaining weight and losing weight. It is to be assumed when you gain weight, you gain body fat. Also when you lose weight, you lose body fat.
First you have to decide whether you want to gain weight or lose weight (bulk or cut.) Some people have a hard time gaining weight but in reality their just not eating enough. This guide will illustrate what your nutrition should look like to bulk and cut. The first step is to determine your maintenance level, or in other words the amount of calories you must get in your body each day to maintain your current weight.
Calculating Maintenance Level
Calculating your maintenance level comes down to simple mathematical calculations. To calculate your maintenance level you need to calculate your lean body mass, basal metabolic rate, and determine your activity level.
Calculate your Lean Body Mass
First calculate your lean body mass which will be respresented from now on by LMR
You will need your body fat percentage to do this, which from now on will be represented by bf%
. If you don't know your bf% off hand, which you probably don't, go to a site such as bodybuilding.com and post a picture of yourself. Most of the time you will get a range of estimates so just pick what looks right. Also note that to convert pounds into kg, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
LBM = [(your weight in kg) x ( 100 - bf% )] / 100
For those who don't understand math, to get your LBM:
Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate
- Subtract your bf% from 100.
- Multiply this number by your weight in kg.
- Divide this number by 100.
Now that you have your LBM you can calculate your basal metabolic rate, which from now on will be represented by BMR.
BMR = (21.6 x LBM) + 370
For those who don't understand math, to get your BMR:
Determine Your Activity Level
- Multiply your LBM by 21.6.
- Add 370 to this number.
1.9 - 2.0: An extremely active person (intense weekly exercise, physical job.)
1.7 - 1.8: A very active person (hard exercise such as sports 6-7 times a week.)
1.5 - 1.6: A moderately active person (exercise 3-5 days a week.)
1.3 - 1.4: A lightly active person (exercise 1-3 days a week.)
1.2: Little or no exercise at all.
Carefully determine what group you fall under. This number is your activity level
Putting it all Together
Now that you have your LBM, BMR and activity level, it's time to put it all together to determine your maintenance level. Once again, your maintenance level is the amount of calories daily you would need to get into your body to maintain your current weight
. To determine your maintenance level all you need to do is multiply your activity level by your BMR. Just incase your are confused the following is an example of someone trying to figure out their maintenance level.
Lets say someone named John is trying to determine his maintenance level. John weighs 120
pounds and determined that his bf% is approximately 10
weight in kg = weight in pounds / 2.2
weight in kg = 120 / 2.2
weight in kg = 54.55 kg (approximately)
First we calculate John's LBM:
LBM = [(your weight in kg) x ( 100 - bf% )] / 100
LBM = [ 54.55
x ( 100 - 10
) ] / 100
LBM = [ 54.55 x 90 ] / 100
LBM = 4909.5 / 100
LBM = 49.095
John's LBM is approximately 49.095
Now we use John's LBM to calculate his BMR:
BMR = (21.6 x LBM) + 370
BMR = ( 21.6 x 49.095
) + 370
BMR = 1060.452 + 370
BMR = 1430.452
John's BMR is approximately 1430.452
Now we calculate John's actual maintenance level by multiplying his BMR by his activity level:
Since John plays basketball 3 days a week, we'll say he is a moderately active/lightly active person therefore his activity level is 1.45
. This is a nice number right in between the lightly active and moderately active range.
Maintenance level = BMR x activity level
Maintenance level = 1430.452
Maintenance level = 2074.1554
That is it. We'll say that John needs to get approximately 2074
calories into his body daily to maintain his current weight of 120 pounds.
Bulking and Cutting
Bulking if you have not yet acknowledged is just a bodybuilding term for gaining weight. If you want to gain weight/bulk go by this:
To gain weight, take in 500 calories above your maintenance level.
For an example we'll go back to John. John's maintenance level is approximately 2074 calories, therefore for him to gain weight he would have to get approximately 2574 calories into his body daily. Note that 500 calories over maintenance level is just a number used by many people. You don't NEED to go 500 over; you can go 100 over, 200 over, etc. But just to make sure you gain weight, 500 over maintenance level is a nice number.
Cutting, if you have not yet acknowledged, is just a bodybuilding term for losing weight. If you want to lose weight/cut go by this:
To lose weight, take in 500 calories below your maintenance level.
Once again, John's current maintenance level at 120 pounds is approximately 2074 calories daily. To lose weight/cut, John would need to take in 500 calories under his maintenance level of 2074. This means to lose weight/cut John would need to take in 1574 calories daily. Note that this is not a healthy calorie intake; anyone who is 120 pounds should be aiming to gain weight. This example was just done for the purpose of explaining how to lose weight/cut.
Important Nutrition Information
There is a wrong and a right way to bulking and cutting. Anyone can eat three McDonald meals a day and gain weight, but that weight wouldn't be good weight. You would just end up looking fat.
For those unaware, macronutrients can be broken down into three different categories:
For effective bulking/cutting you need to make sure you're getting enough of these three macronutrients into your body daily. Each is just as important. If you aren't getting enough protein; you won't build muscle at your full potential. If you don't get enough carbohydrates; you will lack energy and find it hard gaining weight. If you don't get enough fat; your body is vulnerable to injuries. Fat is very important for athletes especially that play contact sports.
We will now calculate exactly how much of each macronutrient we need. For this purpose we will go back to our example, John, who weighs 120 pounds and has a maintenance level of 2074 calories. We will say that John is trying to gain weight, so he is adding 500 calories to his daily calorie intake putting him at 2574 calories daily.
For every gram of protein you take into your body, that is 4 calories.
The amount of protein you need per day depends on your goals; bodybuilders tend to need more daily. However, you can't go wrong with 1 gram of protein per pound (even if your a bodybuilder.)
John needs to at least take 120g
of protein into his body daily, since his weight is 120 pounds.
For every gram of fat you take into your body, that is 9 calories.
The average person needs between 0.5g and 1g of fat per pound of weight to maintain a healthy body. For athletes and very skinny people it is beneficial to have a higher fat intake. Since John is very skinny at 120 pounds, we'll say his fat intake is 0.8 grams per pound of weight. With that being said, John would need to take in 96g
of fat since he weighs 120 pounds.
For every gram of carbohydrates you take into your body, that is 4 calories.
Protein and fat intake are calculated first for a reason; your carbohydrate intake is the determined by subtracting your protein intake and fat intake from your calorie intake goal.
John's calorie intake goal is 2574 calories since he is trying to bulk. The following mathematical equation would determine his carbohydrates intake:
Carbohydrates intake = calorie intake goal - [( grams of protein intake x 4 ) + ( grams of fat intake x 9 )]
We multiply the grams of protein intake and the grams of fat intake by 4 and 9 respectively because that is how many calories are in each gram.
Carbohydrates intake(c) = 2574
- [( 120
x 4 ) + ( 96
x 9 )]
Carbohydrates intake(c) = 2574 - [ 480 + 864 ]
Carbohydrates intake(c) = 2574 - 1344
Carbohydrates intake(c) = 1230
Carbohydrates(c) stands for carbohydrate intake in calories. To determine how many grams of carbohydrates John must get in his body daily, we divide Carbohydrates(c) by 4.
Carbohydrates(g) = Carbohydrates(c) / 4
Carbohydrates(g) = Grams of carbohydrates
Grams of carbohydrates = 1230 / 4
Grams of carbohydrates = 307.5
To sum it up, John will have the following macronutrient intake:
- 120g of protein. (480 calories)
- 96g of fat. (864 calories)
- 307.5g of carbohydrates. (1230 calories)
Note that when you add up the calories of each macronutrient you should get your calorie intake goal:
Calorie intake goal = protein intake(c) + fat intake(c) + carbohydrate(c)
2574 = 480 + 864 + 1230
2574 = 2574
Count Your Intake!
Despite what people think logging your intake is not just for girls. All bodybuilders follow a diet and most certainly keep track of their protein, fat and carbohydrate intake.
You should have an idea as to what you should eat each day to follow your macronutrients. Write it all down in a journal or something to make sure you are actually meeting your macronutrient/calorie intake goal each day. Those who neglect keeping track are those who complain they aren't gaining/losing weight, when in reality they aren't getting in the correct amount of macronutrients. Don't guess!
No one said gaining weight/losing weight is an easy thing to do. If you have the dedication to hit your macronutrients each day, you WILL gain or lose weight.