How To Gain Muscle Without Fat: Cyclical Bulking

Every time I talk about gaining muscle without fat at a rapid rate, my Inbox gets slammed with criticism like this:

Gaining 12 lbs of muscle in 21 days is IMPOSSIBLE!” 

  “You can’t even make those kind of gains on steroids!

  “Do you think I’m going to fall for this marketing hype?!”

Ah, the Internet. How far we haven’t come!

Below is a QnA article I did for a fellow skeptic to clarify a number of his intelligent questions about Lee Hayward and I’s 21 Day Fast Mass Building System.

It’ll clarify all the misinterpretations of the claims and show you how over 6,000 users were extremely happy they opened their eyes to a new approach to building muscle.

Question: What is your definition of “muscle”?

Answer: FAT FREE MASS. The human body can manufacture (under optimal training, nutrition, supplements and recovery) anywhere from .25 to 1.0 pounds of dry muscle tissue a week. So we’re talking 2 to 4 pounds per month and this can be higher or lower based on the individual.

Understand, when you increase muscle size (Dry Muscle), you’ll also be able to increase glycogen AND water storage in those new muscles.  More muscle equals more water and glycogen.  This is all considered FAT FREE MASS and it’s weight that will make you look awesome.

So when we say you can gain “12 pounds of muscle”, we’re NOT referring to 12 pounds of dry muscle, we’re referring to 12 pounds of dry muscle AND glycogen AND water.  Fat free mass!

Question: So the premise of the 21-Day Fast Mass Building is to increase FAT FREE MASS (also known as “lean body mass”)?

Answer: Correct! That’s the problem, everyone perceives “muscle” as something different. You hear “rock-solid muscle”, “ripped muscle”, “lean muscle mass”, “lean body mass”, “shredded muscle” and when we reference muscle, it’s “fat free mass”.

Question: In No Nonsense Muscle Building you promote “bulking up” and then “cutting down” Do you still endorse this method?

Answer: Yes! It’s simply ANOTHER road map.  When I wrote NNMB in 2005, I was simply unaware of the concept or science behind cyclical bulking.  Just like actors sills evolve with time, my knowledge evolves too.  I
always caution NNMB users the DEGREE of the bulk. No where in NNMB do I tell users to bulk to the point of getting fat. I always recommend adding muscle while maintaining a four pack.

Question: So how is 21 Day Fast Mass Building different then NNMB?

Answer: Essentially, instead of bulking up for 16 to 48 weeks and then cutting for 8 to 16 weeks, the 21-Day FMB uses CYCLICAL BULKING which consists of shorter bouts (2 to 12 weeks) of bulking, mixed with shorter (1 to 4 weeks) of cutting.

Question: What the hell is the point of that?

Answer: By cycling your bulking, and cutting protocols into shorter bouts, you can take advantage of various metabolic swings that occur in response to bulking and cutting — and optimize your body’s response to each.

Question: Give us an example.

Answer: Okay. Recall the time you wrapped up a long bulking cycle and started cutting. Wasn’t it amazing how fast the fat was stripped off your body? It dropped away quickly, and with little effort. But after time, the rate of fat loss slows dramatically — and ends in some cases.

Question: What causes this to occur?

Answer: Adaptation is the cause. Once you start your cutting phase after the bulk phase, your body is in a prime state to strip of unwanted fat as there are several factors working in your favor.

Question: What are those factors?

Answer: Your metabolic rate is cranked as a result of the surplus of calories — your levels of T3, leptin, and other hormones which contribute to metabolic rate and fat oxidation, are all cranked as a result of the surplus of calories, in response to handling all the calories you’ve been crushing!

Once you drop calories during a cut phase, you quickly experience fat loss because of all these factors working in your favor. Your metabolic rate is higher than ever, and burning up calories like a wildfire tearing through a dry forest; however, as all good things must come to an end, the body begins to adapt to the drop in calories by reducing T3, leptin and other factors — which will, in turn, cause the metabolic rate to decline, and that’s when your fat loss comes to a screeching halt.

Question: What happens when you cut for a long time and then start bulking?

Answer: The opposite! Recall the time you wrapped up a cutting phase (or maybe you even did a photo shoot or competition) and started increasing your calories again. You rapidly put on size. Much of this is due to the fact that calorie restriction will increase insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity in muscle tissue will help partition calories toward muscle and away from fat, thus making it easier and faster to gain muscle relative to fat.

Question: Any more info to gain muscle without fat?

Answer: It’s critical that when you transition from bulking to cutting (and vice versa), you will want to take advantage of the metabolic swings we discussed above — before your body is able to adapt to the change. So, when going from a bulking to a cutting phase, we’ll literally cut your calories in half, which will allow you to burn more fat than if you cut your calories slowly, as your body will simply lower your metabolic rate to match your slowly-dropping calorie intake…and vice versa.

When transitioning from a cutting phase to bulking phase, we’ll double your calories to take advantage of the increased insulin sensitivity.

I DO NOT recommend doing this after a really, really long cutting phase (12 to16 weeks) because your metabolic rate will be so depressed that you will be primed to store more body fat. Short cutting cycles, as prescribed in the 21-Day Fast Mass Building, will not depress one’s metabolic rate enough to cause any fat gain.

Question: What is the optimal cutting and bulking cycle in your system?

Answer: We’ve named our brief “cutting phase” the primer phase, and it lasts 7 days. We have named our brief “bulking phase” the overload phase and it lasts 14 days. This is the nutritional premise of the 21-Day
Fast Mass Building and then we have a specific workout protocol to accompany the nutrition.

Question: Do you recommend experimenting with the length of the cycles? 

Answer: We give our users permission to experiment with the length of each phase AFTER they have done one 21-day phase as we prescribe. Pay close attention to how your body responds.

Question: How many 21-day cycles do you recommend?

Answer: I strongly believe that MULTIPLE cycles back to back will produce better results than just once through.  At least 2-3 cycles (42-63 days) will make your body more responsive to the metabolic swings.


To read more about cyclical bulking as it’s prescribed in 21 Day Fast mass Building Click Here


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