Can I Use The Same Bulking Program To Cut?

It’s very commonplace for me to get the question around whether a training program is suited for cutting or bulking.

The short answer is that you can use the same program for both muscle building and fat loss phases, with a few minute differences: 

1. EXERCISE SELECTION

When in a bulking phase, you will have much more energy and overall calories to perform lifts.

For example, your lower back can likely handle more volume when in a surplus and therefore you can probably program deadlifts and t-bar rows into the same session.

Alternatively, in a cutting phase you probably want to substitute out the t-bar row for a machine row/supported row so there is less stress on your back as you’re in a deficit.

    2. TOTAL WORK VOLUME

    In a bulking phase, volume will increase over time and as you get stronger and build more muscle, you will inevitably begin to take on more reps, sets and total workload.

    Contrastingly, in a cutting phase you will initially maintain the weight/volume you’ve been doing (sometimes even get stronger) but as you get really lean and total bodyweight starts to decrease, your overall volume will inevitably go down. You may shave a few sets or even an exercise off of your workout. 

    3. CARDIO

    In a muscle building phase (although you should be doing cardio for health benefits) it’s usually not programmed into the routine for those with physique goals.

    In a cutting phase, cardio is added in as a tool to increase energy expenditure and create a deficit to burn fat.

    4. REP RANGES

    The most important thing to note is that the amount of reps you do doesn’t dictate fat loss or muscle gain.

    High reps and low weight don’t equate to ‘fat burning’. A calorie deficit does.

    Low weights and heavy reps don’t equate to muscle gain. A calorie surplus and overall training volume increase does.

    So feel free to use the same program with those differences but remember rep ranges don’t dictate fat loss or muscle gain, your nutrition does.

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