Are you tired of the never-ending cycle of bulking and cutting? Are you looking for a more efficient way to build muscle and lose fat at the same time? We all know, starting a new workout and diet plan to change your body can be challenging, especially if you’re in the middle of what’s considered to be under or overweight.
Some people call this middle ground “skinny-fat” but it’s just the standard body type of an everyday average person. Genetics play a role, but diet and exercise also have a big impact on how you look. The “skinny-fat” guy who’s ready to change his diet and lifting can “culk” or do both at once. Because the individual in the center ground is a target in both directions. He has weight to lose and muscle to gain. Let’s dive deep into the concept of culking and how to go about it.
What Is Culking?
Conventional wisdom says you have to choose between cutting fat and getting skinnier or building muscle that remains buried under layers of fat. However, for the “skinny-fat” person who’s ready to commit to a serious lifting and diet overhaul, it’s possible to do both simultaneously. This is called “culking” where it’s possible to shed 3-5 pounds of fat a month while gaining 1-2 pounds of muscle.
Culking, also known as “lean bulking,” is a strategy that involves building muscle while minimizing fat gain. The goal is to increase muscle mass while keeping body fat levels as low as possible. This is accomplished by slightly increasing calorie intake while also focusing on strength training and cardio.
Why Culking Is Better Than Traditional Bulking And Cutting
Traditional bulking and cutting strategies involve periods of overeating and gaining weight followed by periods of restrictive dieting and weight loss. This can lead to a roller coaster of weight gain and loss, which can be mentally and physically exhausting. Additionally, during the bulking phase, it is common to gain some fat along with muscle, which can make it difficult to achieve the desired physique. And during the cutting phase, it is common to lose muscle along with fat, making it harder to maintain muscle mass in the long term.
Culking, on the other hand, allows for a more gradual and sustainable approach to building muscle and losing fat. By keeping calorie intake at a slight surplus and focusing on strength training and cardio, you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time. This approach not only saves time, but also reduces the likelihood of muscle loss and the negative effects of yo-yo dieting.
Another benefit of culking is that it helps to maintain a consistent bodyweight. This is important for overall health, as sudden changes in weight can lead to metabolic and hormonal imbalances. Moreover, when you maintain a consistent bodyweight, it becomes easier to track your progress, and make any necessary adjustments to your diet and training.
Culking: How To
A clean bulk allows you to gain muscle without adding excess fat, making it ideal for culking. There will be no more yo-yo dieting between bulking and cutting. The best part is how simple it actually is. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Eat Right And Count Your Calories
To achieve a clean bulk, it’s important to hit your calorie target, but it’s not necessary to have a large calorie surplus to bulk. Instead, aim for a moderate surplus to prevent excessive fat gain. One rule of thumb to determine your calorie target is to multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 16.
Once you have your calorie target, distribute them correctly. Remember that cutting calories too much can reduce the amount of energy you burn through digestion and exercise, which can hinder progress towards your desired physique.
For example, if your target bodyweight is 175 pounds and you plan to work out hard for three hours a week, you can aim to consume around 2625 calories per day by multiplying your target weight by 15 (12 for metabolism and 3 for hours of training). This number may be more or less than what you’re currently consuming, but it is important to consume enough for a successful clean bulk.
Step 2. Keep The Training Intensity High
To build muscle, it is important to engage in strength training such as weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or resistance training. The best way to initiate muscle growth is by performing two or three sets of an exercise for six to 12 repetitions, with about 30 to 60 seconds’ rest between sets.
Focus on primary movement patterns like squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pullups, and chin-ups, which use the most muscle and improve the body from the inside out. Aim to train each muscle group at least twice a week and use progressive overload to gradually increase weight, reps, or sets over time.
When culking, focus on muscle-building workouts, and if the goal is purely to add size, use a moderate range of 3 to 5 sets per exercise, 8 to 15 reps. If the goal is only strength, lift heavy weights with low reps, however, this approach limits size gains.
Step 3. Be Consistent
Achieving a successful culk requires consistency in strength training, eating patterns, and indulgences. It’s important to stick to a consistent strength training program to build muscle, eat regular meals at the same times every day, and allow for small indulgences while maintaining a mostly healthy diet.
Remembering that progress is progress and keeping a long-term perspective is key to not giving up when progress slows down. Every pound of muscle gained will aid in burning fat and bring you closer to your goals.
Step 4. Monitor Progress
Keep track of your progress by regularly measuring your body fat percentage and taking progress photos. This will help you see the changes in your body and make any necessary adjustments to your diet and training. It’s also important to track your strength progress, as this will indicate if you are on the right track with muscle growth.
A successful clean bulk (culk) requires consistency in strength training, meal patterns, and a balance of healthy and indulgent food choices. It is important to remember that muscle growth takes time, and progress may not always be rapid.
However, by sticking to a consistent plan and focusing on building muscle through progressive overload, one can achieve a sustainable increase in muscle mass and a reduction in body fat. It is important to remember that the goal of a clean bulk is not just to gain muscle, but to improve overall health and physique in the long term.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.