What's the Deal with Bulking/Cutting?

Weight Loss/Gain, and the Jawbone UP24

I periodically go through stints of massive information intake when I want to confirm the facts around some new adventure I am about to undertake. This time around the fat loss/muscle gain adventure is nothing new but the approach to it is. 

Shawn Carter @mousebrat New York City blogger | Jawbone UP24
Since I purchased my UP24 band from Jawbone (courtesy of your local Apple store), I've been utilizing its food tracking feature in combination with the step/calorie burner and sleep tracking features. And I'm surprisingly impressed with how much protein and good fats I'm consuming on a regular basis. My sugar intake is about on par and will probably start dropping in the next few months. There's a wealth of great information to be gleaned from using the UP24 and I'm happy with its addition to my daily routine. 

But this is not an advert for Jawbone. Well, not intentionally. It's a small part to getting myself back into a healthier habit-soon-to-be-way-of-living like I was back in Denver when I was actively going to the gym. The new job has insane perks when it comes to gyms and, with my salary and perks as they are, I can now afford to get back into a gym routine. I joined Crunch and plan on starting next week once I've sorted out the locker situation and gotten my meal plans in line with the optimal nutrition plan for what my undefined goals are right now.

I want to shed the extra fat since I know that will be the biggest motivation to stick with this right out of the gate. For something that takes up so much of my time and forces me to adjust both what I eat and how I schedule my day, it has to have some immediate results for me feel like I'm not wasting my time. I've mentally committed to sticking with whatever plan I settle on for at least 14 weeks as I know I should see some serious improvements by then. But when it comes to eating, I feel like I'm floating somewhere between where I should be and where everyone thinks I should be. And a lot of that is because the information on losing fat and gaining muscle is so biased.

Bulking is the "old school" term for gaining weight quickly and it is generally assumed that this is a "eating everything in sight" approach to meals. I can immediately see several things wrong with this and took to the inter webs to get some insight on what a healthier approach might be. No surprise, everyone has their own opinion. It's like the paleo/gluten-free debate all over again. It's a battlefield out there. When it comes to cutting, or weight loss in the form of fat while still keeping muscle mass, it's less of a fight and more of a grey, nebulous whatever works for you kind of thing. I can work with that.

So I guess my best approach, like the paleo and gluten eating, is just to figure out what works through trial and error. I'm still going to read what I can and form some solid steps going forward but I'm going to leave some flexibility in there for potential changes that need to happen based on how my body reacts.

If you've been doing this for a while and can lend an experienced opinion (backed up with clear goal achievements), I'd love to hear from you. Comment, tweet, or leave a comment on Google+ and leave some input. I'll be updating more often once I start seeing some changes.

'Til next time.

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