Many of us know what it’s like to go on that first bulk. Starting out as an ectomorph means we have the freedom of going on a ‘dirty’ bulk by eating a bit of junk to hit the caloric surplus. Starting out as an endomorph means we are going to feel like we just got fat if we don’t bulk as lean as possible. Either way, eating and training poorly can cause anyone to put on a little extra, noticeable fat.
For us guys, this is usually in the chest and belly. We tend to notice our muscle gains the most in our biceps and back, but underneath the extra fat is a six pack waiting to get its shine on. Underneath the little extra fat that padded onto our body is a sexy V-shape figure that’s just waiting to get out and show off at the beach.
But, we bulked up to get bigger, more muscular, not to get fat. If we feel that we put on a little too much body fat, then we are going to have to get rid of it. Thus, we need to train nearly the opposite way that we did while bulking and that creates the scare of losing our hard earned muscle mass.
How to Cut the Extra Chest and Belly Fat without Losing Muscle
It’s actually not too difficult to make sure that we don’t lose any muscle mass while we cut off the extra chest and belly fat that we put on from our bulk phase. However, the majority of us are going to follow typical bodybuilding community advice and undergo a cut. We will probably shave at least 300 calories off our daily intake – if we’re really following the bro-science, then we’ll be cutting back by 500 calories at first.
The 500 calorie cut is a bit extreme though. We shouldn’t have to take in that little calories. It really makes it harder to maintain our newly gained muscle. It’s not the same when we were cutting before, we now have a higher lean body mass and we need to consider that when aiming for a certain protein intake each day.
So, to approach this safely it is ideal to follow a body recomposition diet plan. This will allow us to lose body fat without losing muscle. It will also allow us to maintain our strength levels as we will not have to continuously drop our lift weight as our body deprives itself of energy.
How Does a Body Recomposition Diet Work?
A body recomposition diet is common amongst the Intermittent Fasting and Leangains communities. It doesn’t have to be based on any specific published diet program, but it does have to follow the basic dynamics that these mentioned diet plans tends to include.
Basically, the body recomposition diet plan will allow us to change the way our body uses the energy and nutrients that it gets from our diet. Instead of only having to focus on calories in vs. calories out, we will focus on making sure that we can differentiate fat burning and muscle building within our body. This can be done by making sure that we have the right macronutrient ratio for each day, based on whether it’s a training or resting day.
This makes complete sense and should be taken into consideration as a general bodybuilding approach. Not only does this help trigger body fat loss and muscle maintenance, but it ensures that we have the appropriate energy for training days, which have different needs than resting days.
How Long Do We Have to Do This For?
Most people will bulk once they hit a certain body fat percentage. If we are taking that approach, we must first determine what this number is. Most suggest not to start a bulk when we are over 10% body fat. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to wait until we reach the leanest we can get without going into hardcore mode. This is usually around 7-8%, but some of us do struggle to get under 10%. For the latter, it becomes more important to focus on a slow, clean bulk.
Basing our decision on the mirror instead of numbers is also a good idea. With this approach, we can focus on getting the most definition visibility we can, which often falls in line with our peak summer physique, and then we can turn the wheels. Either way, we need to have a plan in place and we should take the time to get as lean and ripped-looking as possible so we have a great new starting base as foundation for our next bulk.