The idea behind the bulking phase is to build muscle. In order to build muscle, you typically need to be taking in MORE calories than you would need to maintain. Usually during this phase, people put an emphasis on lifting heavy, having longer rest time between sets, and doing less cardio. Although keep in mind, everyone has a different formula so this is just to give you an IDEA of the bulking concept! Rest and proper nutrition is CRUCIAL. Your body rebuilds itself when you’re resting, NOT in the gym. (The gym is where you break down the muscle to be rebuilt later through your nutrition and sleep). You will just be spinning your wheels if you go HAM in the gym, only to not sleep and not eat enough of the right foods later!
The idea behind the cutting phase is to decrease the excess body fat while keeping as much muscle as possible. During this phase, people usually up the intensity of their workouts while trying to maintain strength (less rest time, supersets, dropsets, incorporating plyos and other techniques to keep the heart rate elevated and calorie burn high). There is also typically more cardio during cutting. During this phase, macronutrients are often manipulated and calories are a bit lower. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND this is just an IDEA of what SOME people do! Everyone is different and everyone has techniques, macro ratios and amounts/type of cardio that works best for their individual bodies.
By muffin topless.
Now, should I be bulking?
I love how Joy Victoria (couch) makes it simple, her words…
“Let’s say that you are 117 lbs and 5’5 (using the measurements of someone who wrote me). You have leaned out a bit, there’s the curves and the gentle “tone” going on, but you are not losing more “fat”. You want to look The softness around your abs, ass and lower back are still there, but your “weight” is low. You are eating pretty low calorie already because you have been on a “cut”. Congratulations! Your body wants to gain some muscle, and with good habits and perspective (bulking is not stuffing your face endlessly unless you are a powerlifter before a meet hahah), you will get to eat more and put on muscle. Soon those gentle tones, will be shape, and you ll have that “toned” look. hahaha. Your strength will go up as well, because more muscle = more pushing/pulling power available. Increased strength will make you more efficient physically in any physical activity you do. Soon, you will start being able to actually “flex” on command, and your body will take on an increasing “athletic” look. You will start looking to most people like you “spend too much time on your body and in the gym.” But the great thing is
No. you. don’t.
You just are doing it right vs doing it.”
There is an exception to both of these that I learned, when you are FIRST starting out and your body has never experienced resistance training or clean eating, it is possible to drop body fat and build muscle at the same time. Also, for very experienced competitors/models or individuals who have good coaches or know their bodies well, they can manipulate their training and nutrition to do this as well.
When you are already thin/normal skinny, losing MORE fat, usually the stubborn lingering kind, means dipping into fat loss techniques that are unsustainable, but building muscle is an option that more-than-not will get you to the goal you are envisioning.