When it comes to fitness today, youngsters suffer from this plague of stupidity and not just get confused but remain confused for years to come, until they know the truth.
Two words have deeply but very wrongly entered the minds of people in fitness, i.e. cutting & bulking. I mean these words which really have a very small application have been so deeply ingrained in people, that words like strength, agility, speed, endurance have literally taken a backseat.
Now, there is a reason why this happened over the years…
The fitness industry per se (and to an extent even now) is dominated by the sports of bodybuilding and powerlifting in India.
Does that make it a matter of concern? Yes & No.
No, because if a bodybuilder is well educated, understands the science and research behind exercise and sports training, knows the concepts behind nutrition & supplementation science, has the requisite qualifications to be a coach, and understands the need of every client individually, then yes he/she will make a great coach.
But such bodybuilders are far & few. In most cases, bodybuilders automatically turn into fitness trainers, virtually overnight. Assuming that, just because they know how to lift weights and perform certain exercises, they can be great coaches. But people under this type of misconception and overconfidence, end up turning into a disaster in the name of a coach. These are called ‘Brainless Bodybuilders’. And the market is full of such people.
Same is with the sport of powerlifting, which comes a distant second, as the sport dominating the fitness industry.
However, the trend started changing in the past decade or so, when the fitness industry is rising from the age old trend of bulky and heavy muscular looks to lean physiques, wellness, longevity and overall mental and physical health. This can even be observed in the sport of bodybuilding as such, where lately there has been a massive inclination seen towards the physique, fitness and figure competitions, away from the old school, traditional bodybuilding competitions.
This is the reason the market is now dominated by newer fitness trends like dance fitness including Zumba, bhangra, Bollywood etc; yoga and Pilates; sports based fitness activities like kickboxing, MMA, boxing; functional, bootcamp & HIIT style workouts, unconventional workouts using various equipment like kettlebells, TRX, battling ropes, sandbags, tyres & hammers, bodyweight etc. This has got fitness into everyone’s mind and within everyone’s reach.
Now, when we talk about cutting and bulking, please understand that these terms have been turned, twisted, manipulated and used in ways people wanted them to be used. There are two main problems with these terms:
- There is no scientific or standard definition for these terms as such. ‘cutting’ & ‘bulking; have been associated only with one sport i.e. bodybuilding. And the reason they used it was to differentiate between off-season and in-season.
During off-season the bodybuilders, relax a bit and aim for gaining more muscle mass, by eating more food, and doing resistance training.
Whereas, in the in season, i.e. couple of months before the competition, the bodybuilders, clean up their diet, and become strict with their eating habits. The aim is to be ripped and muscular on the day of the competition.
That’s all what ‘cutting’ & ‘bulking’ actually mean. In simple terms it’s just gaining muscle and losing fat.
- Now, with the first point, comes the second, and most important doubt related to cutting and bulking is about the stupid coaches who apply this concept on virtually everyone they train. A lot of brainless bodybuilder turned trainers, looks at the world in just two colours, like wearing a spectacle with two different coloured glasses. These glasses are ‘cutting’ & ‘bulking’.
For them, the needs and aims of a client don’t make much of a difference. But for them everyone needs to first gain and then cut, or cut and then gain, and vice versa. This stupid cycle never ends, till the client gets pissed off, and leaves the trainer to his weird ideas about fitness.
Be it a youngster, who is a novice, a corporate client or a businessman suffering from work and family related stresses, even women and medical cases, sometimes are dealt in the same manner. Everyone needs to bulk or cut. So, if they see a person a bit obese or with higher fat percentage, then they need to cut. On the other hand, someone more thinner, of course needs nothing but bulk up.
Now, I asked one of the questions to a trainer, that if this person is already so thin, what are going to be your ideas on his training. So the funny answer I often get is, first they should bulk, then cut. Then I asked him a counter question, that if he is already so thin, isn’t he already too cut up, to bulk up again and then cut up again? Why not plan a strength training program for him which will help him gain basic strength, and develop lean muscles?
People using such terms on virtually everyone don’t understand that over 99.99% people in the word are not bodybuilders. They don’t have to cut or bulk. Their aim is not to compete in show or stand in a bodybuilding stage.
Their needs and aims are different and most of them are too stressed to deal with such stupidity for long. They may comply initially, not understanding it’s real meaning, but eventually they either get to know, or they simply move on after getting pissed off.
Therefore, start understanding fitness and nutrition as a whole, and stop measuring everyone with the same criteria.