Most guys like us go in ‘seasons’. Their food selection is either focused on ONLY bulking or cutting. (I still have ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’ clothes).
Now while I know some of you reading this would like to argue the ‘new school’ mentality that these are merely the old way of doing things, and that you can put on muscle and burn fat at the same time (to a certain point)…you can’t deny that focusing on one goal works, and works damn well.
For the absolute best in any one goal, you should focus your time and energy on THAT specific goal.
If you want to get big and strong, you should be eating and training for big and strong.
If you want lean and ripped, you should be eating and training for lean and ripped.
Well then why do fitness gurus and programs promote NOT doing one or the other, and shooting for both at the same time?
 Because the fitness market is full of information that works, and the problem is that it’s the same stuff that worked 30 years ago. Without fancy marketing that reinvents the wheel, many muscle building sites, magazines, supplements, and nutrition programs would simply not sell.
 Because it’s the ‘easy’ way out. For a guy who wants to gain muscle, to eat more than 3000-4000 calories/day and to do heavy or high volume squats (20-30+ reps per set) is way harder for them to digest and do on a weekly basis than telling them to ‘eat well’, make better food choices, and do strength training with kettlebells.
 Because lazy people want fast. Why would someone want to bust their ass in the gym for 6 months to pack on serious size, only to have to clean up what they’re eating a little more, cut down on calories, and introduce cardio for the next 4 months to cruise the Jersey Shore for 2 months…when some online guru can tell them they can gain 50 lbs of new muscle, add 100 lbs to your bench AND get ripped? That’s a serious process, and you’re looking at around a year’s worth of dedication to do some serious damage in the muscle, strength, and fat loss department.
So what does this mean?
It means if your overall goal is to be huge, focus on that and if your overall goal is to be ripped focus on that. Don’t muddy the waters by trying to do too much at once. While you may not get the best out of whatever your MAIN goal is.
If want it bad enough you can be huge, and then dedicate time to leaning out and getting in better overall condition…and if you have a few key diet hacks, it will make your life a ton easier.
Here’s my top 7 hacks. Use them and you’ll thank me.
- Eat More/Eat Less. I know you know this one…but we’re going to simplify it a bit more. Just because you are ‘bulking’ doesn’t mean you can eat everything in site…and just because you are cutting doesn’t mean you have to go without carbs. Find a nutrition program that works, and stick with it. Here’s the hack: No matter if you’re bulking or cutting, you should be eating the SAME healthy, calorie dense foods. The only difference is the amount your taking in. If you’re looking to drop fat, eat 250-500 calories under your maintenance level, and 250-500 above if your bulking.
- Simplify Your Carb Intake. Carbs are crucial, Eat enough and you’ll pack on the (good) lbs. Cut them down, and you’ll lose fat. But eating too much or too little can make you fat or make you feel like shit. The easier you make monitoring your carbs, the better off you’ll be and the better results you’ll get. Here’s the hack: Use wheat bread as a carb source. I use a bread brand called “Dave’s Killer Bread”. It’s organic and comes in slices of 25g of carbs. Awesome. I know if my diet needs 100g/day, I’m eating 4 slices and on the flip side if I need 300, I’m eating 12. Simple math = simple gains.
- Down Some Eggs to Up Your Weight. Hard boiled eggs are a staple in my diet. They provide you with a simple solution of protein, healthy fats, and gains. Here’s the hack: I buy them pre-hard boiled and peeled cause ain’t no on got time for that. I keep them in a fridge at work and pop a couple in between clients if I’m bulking. Keeps me full or amino acids and healthy fats while I’m on the floor coaching.
- Make Your Own Weight Gainer. Find a grassfed, organically-sourced protein powder (and add calories if you’re bulking). Protein shakes are not a necessity, but if you’re busy like me they provide a simple calorie solution to a busy lifestyle. You can skip the sugary weight gainers from the vitamin store and make your own. Here’s the hack: Take your protein powder and add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil. It provides healthy fats, added calories and allows you to keep your carbs low which is great if you’re looking to stay lean.
- Eat before bed. If you’re looking to maintain mass, strength, and even put on some muscle, eating (or drinking protein) before bed is a great idea. It provides you will extra calories and a steady supply of amino acids in your bloodstream which helps you recover. Remember, your body’s main focus during sleep is mental and physical restoration and repair. This includes your muscles. Here’s the hack: If your trying to lose body fat, a simple shake of 1-2 scoops of high-quality protein will do. If you’re looking to bulk up, try this higher calorie, protein-packed concoction.
- Try Carb Cycling to Add Muscle. For many of us, eating high carbs every day while ‘bulking’ could mean adding pounds and pounds of fat. If you eat too little, it could mean you’r gains come to a crawl or even stop all together. One way to gain weight without adding too much fat is to cycle your carbs where certain days are higher than others. Here’s the hack: Try starting with a program that uses 2 high days per week, evenly spaced apart. Once you get a feel for how your body responds to carbs, you can add another day or 2. They key here is to stick to the plan and start to learn how your body responds to high carb feedings. If you start to gain too much fat, cut back a day or 2 until you feel comfortable with your progress.
- Know Exactly What You’re Eating. You can only get so lean by ‘guessing’. You have to know what you’re putting in your mouth in what amounts so that you can track your results. The sad part is that many guys don’t account for what they drink (coffee, iced tea, soda, etc) or stuff they nibble on during the day. All the little portions that don’t count as legit meals add up too. Here’s the hack: Get a self directed meal plan app that allows you pick your diet, enter your food, scan bar codes on food, weigh in, track your carbs, and ultimately give you the direction you need to really stay on top of your goals whether you’re looking to stay lean and add muscle, or get ripped to shreds.
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