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What is the optimal bulking / cutting rotation schedule for maximum muscle gain and fat loss? By bulking, I mean eating tons and lifting heavy. By cutting, I mean eating less and doing more cardio. Examples of schedules include:

At the high frequency extreme:

Week 1: bulk
Week 2: cut
Week 3: bulk
Week 4: cut
and so on...

At the low frequency extreme:

9 months: bulk
3 months: cut
repeat year after year ...

How do the results differ in each extreme? Or would they be similar?

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2 Answers 2

There is no such thing as week to week cycles of cutting bulk. It doesn't really work that way.

The only individuals that should be doing bulking/cutting cycles are advanced bodybuilders. The same way powerlifters utilize periodization in order to peak for a competition. For someone who isn't an advanced bodybuilder a composition shift diet to gain muscle/lose is ideal since you will look your best all the time. So you can do high calorie/low calorie days based on your activity level. No one would call that a bulking/cutting cycle though.

In theory you should be always 'bulking/maintaing' until you decide you want to get leaner/better bodyfat and that's when you would 'cut'. But even then, I would never significantly sacrifice bodyfat to get into 'gain' mode.

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This is somehow superseded the newer research and you should not schedule your workout/dieting like this.

As for training, any strength program in the 5 rep range plus some accessory work at higher volume will do the trick.

As for dieting, some nutrient timing strategy (google Martin Berckham or John Kiefer) will work better.

And please, ditch the cardio and add some hill sprinting, prowler push or just walk 30 minutes every day.

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2  
Are sprinting/walking not "cardio"? –  Joshua Carmody Sep 30 '11 at 14:58
    
I meant "cardio" in the traditional sense, i.e., long sessions at 75%-85% VO2 Max. Hill sprinting/prowler are shorts bouts at 100%. Walking is below 60%. –  coxnegative Sep 30 '11 at 16:46

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