Bulking and cutting are different phases of a diet and workout plan designed for muscle gain or fat loss. Bulking focuses on muscle gain and cutting refers to losing fat to highlight muscle definition. If you’ve never tried this combination of growing and leaning, or want to learn more about it, here are some tips to get you started. 


The goal is to gain weight through increased muscle mass. To successfully bulk, you should eat more calories than you burn each day to create a caloric surplus while safely increasing your strength training. This will help you grow. 

If you’re looking to increase muscle mass, a bulking plan should include: 

  • A daily caloric surplus that includes suitable amounts of quality proteins to help maximize muscle protein synthesis. 
  • Adequate healthy fat consumption to optimize hormone levels (20-30% of total calories), and more complex carbs to support increased training. 
  • Consuming an additional 200-500 calories per day, starting on the low end and slowly increasing until you find what works for you. You want to feel comfortable and good! 
  • Four strength training sessions per week (rest days are important too!), lifting between 6 and 12 reps, 2-3 sets. 
  • Setting healthy, achievable goals such as 0.25 – 0.5% of your bodyweight gain every two weeks. 
  • Listening to your body and making adjustments to your food and workout plan as needed. 
  • Getting sufficient, uninterrupted sleep (roughly 7-9 hours) every night.


The goal for cutting is fat loss, so you should aim to burn more calories in a day than you’re consuming, creating a caloric deficit. You will also safely increase your strength and cardio training. This will help you get leaner. 

If fat loss is the goal, a cutting plan should include:

  • A safe daily caloric deficit that includes more quality proteins to help maintain lean muscle. 
  • Increased consumption of healthy fat to reduce hormonal disruptions that can occur during caloric deficit. 
  • A well-balanced meal plan that includes complex carbohydrates in addition to protein and fat, to boost your energy for workout sessions. 
  • Setting achievable goals, such as aiming to lose 0.5-1% of your bodyweight per week. 
  • High volume reps and compound movements to maximize caloric output. Minimal rest time between sets will keep your heart rate up. 
  • Elevated cardio exercise, such as HIIT. 

It’s a good idea to work with fitness and nutrition experts and to check in with your physician if you’re planning to change your eating and fitness patterns significantly.   

Whether you’re bulking or cutting, it’s important have a plan and be consistent. You’re far more likely to be successful if you approach your goal with a detailed workout and nutrition plan. It will help provide the motivation and structure you need to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. 

Set your daily caloric targets, and map out your weekly gym schedule. If you encounter setbacks, modify your plan and keep your eye on the prize.