Below is an infographic showing what some of the top athletes at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games ate while they were in Beijing, China.
At first, I thought the information about Usain Bolt was made-up. But this article corroborates the McDonald's diet.
Sources: “Usain Bolt by Augustas Didzgalvis (cropped)” by Augustas Didžgalvis – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Usain_Bolt_by_Augustas_Didzgalvis_(cropped).jpg#/media/File:Usain_Bolt_by_Augustas_Didzgalvis_(cropped).jpg
Let me preface this by saying that “bulking” means putting on 1 or 2 pounds a month.
The 5-10 pound-a-month bulks are dumb as hell.
That said, dudes are either bulking or cutting.
Am I right?
There is no “maintaining” when it comes to bodybuilding.
So, how are you supposed to know which to choose?
Bulk or cut?
I have 3 keys when it comes to making this decision.
This is something I came up with.
I tell guys that if they are at or above 15% body fat then they should cut.
If, on the other hand, they are under 15% body fat then they should bulk.
Under 15% —> Bulk
Over 15% —> Cut
There are several reasons for this.
The leaner you are, the easier it is for you to build muscle.
The fatter you are, the more likely it is that excess calories will be stored as fat.
Insulin sensitivity is also negatively affected the fatter you are.
Normally, guys bulk during the winter and cut during the summer.
The reasoning is that you can put on some fat and cover it up with sweaters during the winter and then you cut the fat and show off the abs during beach season.
This makes sense.
You can do it this way or switch it up and do something that hardly anyone does.
You can cut during the winter and bulk during the summer.
I've been meaning to do it that way just out of curiosity.
Look, I can tell you why you should bulk or should cut, but what it really comes down to is personal preference, i.e., what do you want to do?
So, if you're at 20% body fat and love eating and gaining muscle, then go ahead and bulk.
If you are 6 feet tall, weigh 160 pounds with 8% body fat and want to cut, then go ahead and cut.
After all, you have to enjoy what you do or what's the point, right?
So, hopefully this helps you make the ‘bulk or cut' decision a little easier.
I have given you guidelines, not rules.
Just out of curiousity, how do you decide when to bulk and when to cut?
Photo credit: Anton Mukhametchin
Building muscle has always been a passion of mine.
The #1 goal of the majority of my clients is to build as much muscle as possible.
If you want to build significant muscle, you need to start taking it seriously. Below are 5 reasons why you're not making the gains you should be making.
You need a plan.
Do you think Washington just yelled “Charge!” during the Revolutionary War?
Do you think Tiger won the 2000 US Open by 15 shots by simply “Grippin & Rippin” it?
Do you think Dorian Yates won 6 consecutive Mr. Olympia's without a plan?
So, what makes you think you can build large slabs of muscle without a plan?
So pick a muscle-building split and stick with it for the next 3 months.
To get big you need to lift big.
You wanna know how Arnold got huge?
What a genius, right?
Relying mostly on curling 20 pound dumbbells and doing leg extensions ain't gonna do anything for you.
Try doing 50 pull ups, 50 dips, and 50 squats a week and see what that does for you.
Look, unless you can re-write the universal laws of thermodynamics, you cannot build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
You know who can do that?
Those that take steroids and/0r are genetic freaks.
I'm talking the top 1%.
That is not you.
You need to gain weight.
Gain weight, but don't get fat.
There is a difference.
When dudes try to gain muscle they eat anything and everything.
The result is that they gain muscle and a ton of fat.
Don't do this.
You cannot force feed a muscle to grow.
Your form when performing exercises doesn't need to be perfect, but it can't be terrible.
Strive for “solid” form.
Whenever possible, lift in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing.
The key to building muscle fast is frequency.
That is to say, the more often you can stimulate a muscle, the more a muscle will grow.
But, frequency depends on recovery.
You can train a muscle whenever it has fully recovered from its previous stimulation.
Increased Recovery —–> Increased Frequency —–> Increased Muscle Growth
So, there you have it — 5 reasons why your muscle building program sucks and what you can do about it.
Which do you fall victim to? Tell us in the Comments.
photo credit: PUMPING IRON – TWO
Winter is my favorite time of year. Why?
Because it's bulking season. You know – eat, lift, eat.
Guys love bulking season, but most make the same huge mistake (no pun intended).
What's the mistake? They become fat.
In their attempts to gain muscle, they eat everything in sight which leads to excessive fat gain. You cannot force-feed muscles to grow. It does not work that way.
So, after the typical 6 months of bulking, they need to diet for 6 months to lose all that fat they gained. During those 6 months of dieting, they lose most of the muscle they gained–if not more.
Back to square one.
So, what's the solution to building muscle without getting fat?
Well, I came up with 5 of them.
Implement one or all of them at once.
I love this strategy. It's simple. It works.
The idea is to eat a high amount of calories on your weight training days and a low amount of calories on your non-weight training days.
Your body needs more calories for energy and muscle building when you train.
I would recommend consuming 500 calories over your maintenance on your high days and consuming your maintenance on your off days.
This strategy will help you keep the fat gain at bay.
Yea, yea, yea, I know you want to get big.
But, you gotta listen–the leaner you are, the more likely your body will add muscle versus fat.
Conversely, the fatter you are, the easier it is for your body to gain fat.
If you are a man, get under 10% body fat before you start bulking and never ever let yourself get above 20%.
If you are a woman, get under 20% body fat before you start bulking and never ever let yourself get above 30%.
Let me know if this sounds familiar.
You bulk for 3-6 months, get fat, then cut for 3-6 months and you end up looking the same as you did when you originally started 6-12 months ago.
This is known as “traditional bulking.”
I don't know about you, but the hardest part for me is psychologically having to cut for 3-6 months.
I had to do it when I competed in my bodybuilding contest.
It's a long time to be miserable.
I've got a better idea–cyclical bulking.
Focus on building muscle for 4-8 weeks then follow that with a short cutting phase of 1-2 weeks.
Each bulking cycle will leave you with a little fat to burn off in those 1-2 cutting weeks.
Shorter cutting weeks leads to less muscle loss.
Plus it's easier psychologically to only have to diet 1-2 weeks at a time versus 3-6 months.
You can stick to the traditional 3-6 month bulking phase if you want. Try consuming the majority of your carbs immediately after your weight training sessions.
Your body craves carbs post-workout. Carbs will be stored as glycogen which is a source of energy for your muscles. Your body will not store carbs as fat post-workout.
Carbs are beneficial post-workout. This is the only time I recommend consuming simple sugars as well.
Implementing this eating strategy will help you pack on muscle without getting fat.
I fall victim to neglecting my cardio during bulking season. I mistakenly think that cardio will “burn up my muscle,” or something ridiculous like that.
Let's say you burn about 700 calories a week performing cardio. That's not a lot. Probably like 3 moderately intense 30 minute sessions. That adds up to about 3,500 calories a month or 1 pound.
That's 1 pound of fat less that you do not have to diet off once you start your cutting phase.
So, if your bulking phase is 6 months, you will start your cutting phase with 6 pounds of less fat than you normally would have had you neglected your cardio sessions.
So, do your cardio when bulking.
Ok, so forget about traditional bulking. It's dead. You need to start bulking smarter. Think about gaining muscle while minimizing fat gain.
You'll thank me when summer rolls around and all the fat guys are sweatin' bullets because they have to drop all that fat that accumulated during their dirty bulking phase.
You, on the other hand, will be able to coast to single-digit body fat.
Here's a simple yet effective testosterone booster –
Your body’s anabolic hormones are constantly shifting throughout the day, rising and falling.
At night, your testosterone levels soar and this is your body’s prime time to build muscle.
But when you wake up, testosterone levels take a sharp nosedive and the leftover “free testosterone” (the most usable form) goes unused by your muscles and your body’s catabolic (muscle-wasting) hormones take over.
But here’s how to overcome this challenge and shotgun more free testosterone to your muscles before it waves goodbye…
First thing in the morning…like as soon as your feet hit the floor…consume a “high glycemic” meal with more “sugary” carbs, high quality protein, and no fat! (A good example would be a banana, bowl of breakfast cereal, and whey protein isolate mixed with non-fat milk.)
This specific combination of nutrients will create a short-term spike of insulin that will act as a fast transport for your remaining “free testosterone” and shoot it directly into your muscle cells to stop catabolic muscle loss and trigger insane new growth!
Look, I know how hard it is to build muscle. Trust me when I tell you it took me 20+ years to figure it out. But once I did--BAM!--muscle appeared almost overnight. Give me your email address and I'll send you the keys.
Discover how including just one simple (and inexpensive) supplement can revolutionize your muscle-building efforts.