We are beginning 2018 and most of us undoubtedly have goals related to fitness. I would guess that the majority of us would like to be ripped, toned, or more defined. Questions of how to achieve these goals become forefront in our thoughts. How in the world do we get there? Do we cut weight to shed that last little bit of fat? Should we try to add as much muscle as we can to our frame? There is NO universal answer to these questions. Since the answer is 100% up to you, whatever you choose, you are correct! While I can’t decide for you, I can give you a couple of tips, pointers, and bits of knowledge to guide you toward that choice.
“I want to lose weight and put on muscle.”
We’ve all heard this before. If we're honest, we’ve all probably had this goal at least once in our life. A lot of beginners tend to have this goal. While it’s a great thought, it’s simply biologically impossible.
Instead, remember these rules of thumb to provide more accurate calculations with a lot less guessing on your 2018 fitness journey!
To add muscle, you’ve got to be in a caloric surplus, meaning you are eating enough food to add extra mass to your frame. You’ve got to be eating more calories than you burn daily to give your body the substance it needs to build. Unfortunately, this inevitably means that you will gain a little fat.
To lose fat, you’ve got to be in a caloric deficit, meaning you are eating fewer calories than you burn daily. Unfortunately, while cutting fat you will sacrifice a little muscle mass as well.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s decide which path is right for you. If you’re happy with the level of body fat you’re currently carrying and believe that you can afford a couple of extra pounds of it, choose to bulk! Take advantage of these winter months and put on as much muscle mass as you can! When spring comes around and you begin to shed whatever fat you’ve put on, the added muscle will have your physique looking more defined than ever!
If you aren’t happy with the current state of your body fat level, begin this year with a cut! Maybe you can’t fathom the thought of adding a single extra pound of fat. That’s completely OK! Cut until you feel comfortable enough with your physique to bulk.
Now, this part is key: a bulk is not an excuse to get out of shape, and a cut is not an excuse to skip meals and depreciate your nutrition. A good way to know if you’re bulking too hard or cutting too hard is to weigh yourself on a weekly basis. Once a week, under the same circumstances, get on a scale. An example of a good time to do it would be Monday mornings after using the restroom before drinking or eating anything. Picking a morning like this will give you the most accurate weigh-ins and allow you to see the true results you’ve achieved after working hard all week. When cutting or bulking properly, you want to shoot for .5-1 lb of weight change a week. Anything more dramatic than this could mean you are adding too much fat or losing to much muscle. The method does not create as fast of results as some people want, but it’s the healthiest and most effective way.
Whether you decide to bulk or cut, you should attack the New Year with focus and determination. Get after it!