The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Bulking and Cutting

    This may sound like a stupid question, but what is the deal with bulking and cutting? To me this seems like a waste of time and effort.

    I have been lifting weights for about of year and have never done a bulking or cutting cycle and have continued to make progress. So why is bulking necessary? Rather than bulking to get big and then cutting to get defined why don't you just train without bulking and then avoid having to cut.

    Hypothetically, let's say that you bulk for 2 months and gain 15 pounds. You decide that you don't like the new role that is developing so you decide to cut for a month. During this period you lose 10 pounds, returning to your previous bf, for a grand total of 5lbs of new muscle over three months.

    So, wouldn't it be just as effective to avoid bulking all together, do weight training AND cardio, avoid having to stuff yourself and getting fat, and gain 5lbs of muscle over three months?

    By bulking do you really progress at a significantly faster pace than when you're not bulking? And aren't there health consequences to bulking? I know that bulking -being the amount of food you eat- is not unhealthy, but cutting out cardio certainly is.

    Again, I'm sorry if this is a stupid question but I would really like to have this clarified.
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  3. #2
    I wannabebig!
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    and who said you have to cut out cardio when you bulk?

  4. #3
    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    well why don't you try both and see?

  5. #4
    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    You've been making good progress because you've been lifting for only a year. Come back in 3 or 4 years and you'll understand why eating maintanence cals just does exactly that; maintains.
    "I added some db curls with the pink weights for a bit of a burn." - Rookiebldr

    "im assuming the holy (big) 3 are: curls, bench, legs?" - Saggas

    "had a huge ass burn on my triceps while I was doing those kickbacks, so they'll likely be staying with my exercise program." - Zearoth

    "most of my burned calories coming from something called Basal. Wtf does a leaf have to do with any of it?" - Votorx

    "We have a lot of people like that on our campus, all hippies and things, that go around preaching against corporations, jocks, preps, accountants, and anyone else that feels the need to shower more than occasionally." - Shankerr

    "Damn man why are some women just so demonic and evil.. its like you wanna get a stake and mallet and an erection at the same time." - WBBIRL

  6. #5
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Ok, but if I bulk will I gain more muscle in the time that it takes me to bulk, gain the muscle, and then lose the fat, than if I just avoided the bulking all together?
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  7. #6
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    Your scenario entails someone who doesn't know how to cut and bulk. If, when you cut, you lose most or all of your strength from bulking previously, you have no business doing either.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Well thank you. That is what I wanted to hear. I was not planning on beginning to bulk as it seems like too much trouble to me. I was just trying to weigh the pros and cons....

    So, for future reference, where might I learn how to cut and bulk effectively? And assuming I did know what I was doing, will I gain more muscle in the time that it takes me to bulk, gain the muscle, and then lose the fat, than if I just avoided the bulking all together?
    Last edited by Jorge Sanchez; 05-20-2005 at 09:59 PM. Reason: add something
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  9. #8
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    Could someone answer his question seriously. I guess I have taken it for granted that bulking and cutting are the only way to go about gaining nice lean muscle, but I'm curious what the explanation for this is (I'm not doubting there is one).

  10. #9
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilsterT
    Could someone answer his question seriously. I guess I have taken it for granted that bulking and cutting are the only way to go about gaining nice lean muscle, but I'm curious what the explanation for this is (I'm not doubting there is one).
    Well the reasoning is that if you're not bulking and eating about maintenance-level calories, you will put on very little mass if any. In contrast, when you bulk, it is a lot easier to gain weight (muscle and fat). Then in a nice, slow cut, you will be able to keep most of that muscle and lose most of the fat.

    So looking at the OP's example, if you bulk for two months, you would shoot to gain ~8 lbs. Then you can cut for a month, losing ~4 lbs. Hopefully the 4 total lbs you gained will be mostly muscle after all this. On the other hand, if you just eat to maintenance, you may gain 1-2 lbs over that entire time, because it's very hard to gain anything without eating above maintenance.

    All this applies to non-newbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Sanchez
    And aren't there health consequences to bulking? I know that bulking -being the amount of food you eat- is not unhealthy, but cutting out cardio certainly is.
    Constantly bulking and cutting is not exactly healthy, but for most, that's what it takes to look good. If you're doing all this work to stay in shape, you're probably healthier than 90% of people in this world, even with bulking and cutting.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Thank you for seriously answering my question. But wouldn't it be more effective and efficient to eat only an amount of calories that allows for muscle growth and not an excessive amount which leads to increased fat. For example, say you need 2500 calories to maintain your weight. Wouldn't it be better to eat 3000 calories a day to allow for muscle growth rather than just stuffing yourself until you can't eat any more?
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  12. #11
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    You can never gain only muscle. I see it posted on here all the time, but the reality is that the only thing you know is what the scale says. You can try to calculate how much muscle and fat with calipers, etc., but it's not accurate. What you're describing is more of a clean bulk, in which you try to minimize the fat gain. People do that and have success with it, and people also have success with a "dirty" bulk. It sounds like you know what you want to do, and if you keep your weight moving up, it'll probably work.

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