On to part 6 of the never bulk again series. In case you haven’t kept up, we covered the history of bulking, the great sugar conspiracy, chemically enhanced athletes, and the smart way to add calories to your diet to grow. Now on to the good stuff! A way to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. I call it the Cycle Diet.
WHAT IS THE CYCLE DIET?
I’m so glad you asked. The Cycle Diet is exactly what it sounds like. You eat extra calories for a short time followed by a caloric deficit for a short time. The idea is to prevent the body from storing fat, while priming the body for explosive muscle growth. It works on the same principle as carb cycling, however it’s not limited to just carbs.
If the muscles are stimulated, and you add the correct number of calories to grow (see part 5), your muscles will get bigger. However, if you are already in a calorie surplus, you will just get fatter. You want to starve the muscles just long enough to cause a growth response. Starving the muscles does not mean you eat 1000 less calories a day. 200-300 less calories a day can make a huge difference. Sometimes you can even accomplish starving the muscles by changing your macros. In other words, if you are eating a large amount of carbs, then you could eat the same number of calories, but go 80-100% keto. After 2-3 weeks, you can start adding carbs back into your diet, around your workouts, and start reducing the amount of fats and protein.
WHERE TO START
If you are already above 9% body fat, especially if you can’t see ALL your abs, then you need to start the cycle diet in a caloric deficit. If you don’t, you will just continue to get fatter. Don’t worry, you don’t need to stay in a caloric deficit for long. Reduce, or change, your calories for 2-3 weeks. After your deficit period is over, only add back the number of calories you subtracted in the first place. Your body will have adapted to a lower number of calories and will now be primed for muscle growth. After 2-3 weeks in a surplus or eating the same number of calories you were before you started the diet, go back into another deficit period. What’s next? After being in a deficit for 2-3 weeks, go back to a surplus.
If you are below 9% body fat, and you can see ALL your abs, then you can start with a surplus. Start by adding good quality calories to your diet. Start with protein and fats. Only add 200-300 more calories a day. Add the extra calories to the meals around your workouts, and earlier in the morning. If you don’t see results in two weeks, then add 100-200 more calories, primarily from carbs, to your daily diet. Again, start by adding the carbs to your meals around your workouts, and earlier in the morning. After 2-3 weeks in a surplus, go into a deficit. If you didn’t gain any strength or size during the surplus period, only stay in the deficit for two weeks. Also add more calories to your next surplus period. Don’t overdo it. Just add 100 more calories than the largest number of daily calories you were eating during your first surplus period. Your body should respond better to the surplus period this time because it was primed for growth during the previous deficit period. If you do it correctly, you will be eating 500-600 calories above your deficit amount. This number of calories should be adequate for your body to build muscle. For most people, you will be eating 200-300 more calories a day than during your deficit period.
If you are working out, and want to gain more muscle, then the Cycle Diet is for you. The advantage of the Cycle Diet over other diets is that is keeps your body guessing. Most diets don’t address the body’s need to be in homeostasis. They also underestimate the amount of time it takes for your body to adjust to your current eating and workout habits. And probably the most important advantage of the Cycle Diet over other diets is that it can help you lean out, while gaining the most amount of muscle possible. Try it out for 8-12 weeks and I guarantee you will be the biggest, and leanest you have ever been in your life.
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