I’m going to talk about the ABC’s of bodybuilding.
What are the ABC’s of building an incredible physique?
Anabolism, body recomposition, cutting.
Let’s talk about anabolism. By definition “anabolic” means to build something, or to be in an environment to build muscle.
You may consider yourself “skinny-fat” or maybe just skinny at first, and this is because there is no anabolic environment.
What creates this anabolic environment?
The first step is increased food intake!
Most guy’s simply just don’t eat enough to grow, and they don’t eat enough to grow muscles!
I know I may sound like a broken record here, but food, food, and more food is what it takes.
The second step to anabolism is intense training. When you go into that gym (or home workout) you need to kill it!!
I don’t mean kill it by spending hours and hours in the gym, but I mean “kill it” by putting in all of your effort to start throwing up weights. I mean blocking out all the bullshit in your world and focusing 100% on busting your ass to grow.
My mentality when I’m in that gym is warfare. It’s me versus weights, and damnit I’m going to win!! If the set starts to become painful then good, bring the pain, I’m ready for it.
When I take a set to failure, failure to me is absolute failure.
It’s not when it hurts, it’s not when the bar starts going up slower… it’s when I physically cannot do any more. If someone took my son and put a gun to his head and told me to do 3 more reps or they’d kill him, I’d do 4 more reps!! This is the type of intensity I’m talking about.
Every fucking day we exist to live in a world where we are told to conform to social normality. I do not find that exciting and I do not find floating through the motions exciting.
When I’m in the gym I am in my world. I am away from the bullshit and I have stepped into a world where I exist for me. Pouring out blood, sweat, and tears as you lift weights is your true character coming out. I can tell right away whether someone is a fighter who will do it, or if they are a bitch who will quit.
I will do whatever it takes to get to where I want to go. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
I’m the guy who will eat 24 egg whites a day, 6 cans of tuna fish a day, and be up at night half asleep cracking more eggs.
It’s all business and in my world there is no room for weakness. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Fuck television, fuck facebook, and fuck texting some stupid bitch 35 times a night back and forth. There is work to be done and I’m a worker.
Let me win everyday, EVERY FUCKING DAY!
If you aren’t growing then you’re doing something wrong and my guess is it all boils down to being a bitch.
There is a big difference between the guy drinking the shakes all day and the guy cooking chicken, beef and rice.
If shakes were all it took we’d all be monsters. Stop looking for the easy way out and start putting in the work.
#2. BODY RE-COMPOSITION
The “B” of bodybuilding is body re-composition. Re-composition is what goes hand in hand with anabolism.
When you begin packing on muscles your body will begin operating on a different level. You will no longer be a slug who cannot digest all of 500-800 calories a meal, your new muscles will turn you into a fat burning machine.
The transition into eating enough to grow can be an uncomfortable one.
Basically what you’re doing to your body is feeding it enough to accommodate a frame that is already 20 lbs more massive.
To gain mass you need to eat like someone who is already larger.
What sense does it make to be 150 lbs and eat just enough for someone 150 lbs? You won’t grow this way, no way and no how!
What a lot of you think of as “bulking and fattening up” will actually turn into body re-composition at the same time you’re growing and building new muscle.
When I was in my first year or two of weight training, there was a summer where I ordered a large pizza to my house almost every single night.
The result? It only helped pack on muscle and I did not get fat!
Nobody ever said to me “Hey, you’re fattening up huh?” All I ever heard was how huge I was getting, and I knew that something that I was doing was working.
What magazines and internet videos show you is the hype of the lifestyle.
No magazine is ever going to disclose the fact that a bodybuilder is eating a pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in order to get his calories up over 6,000 a day!
Nope, they are going to show you what they want to show you.
And guess what the answer is when it comes to the hype of the life? More supplements! If you didn’t know any better, then you’d think that supplements were the reason these guys are as massive as they are.
With all of that being said, are there supplements that can put you into a more anabolic environment? Absolutely!
But I would never suggest anybody who isn’t putting in the work and food intake to take jack shit!
Think of your body and food intake as the car and SOME supplementation as the bigger engine that just got dropped into the car. Without the car what good is the engine?
I always believed in taking the least amount possible to continue to make progress.
If you’ve already packed on 20-30 lbs of muscle with just food and hard training, then try creatine and protein powder (to supplement protein intake, not replace enough REAL FOOD!)
I usually do 1-2 shakes per day myself, but this is more for cost purposes and not effectiveness. It’s expensive enough eating meat and eggs 4 – 5 times a day, and protein powder per gram of protein is more affordable for me.
I do not recommend the most expensive supplements. I’m not going to bullshit you with some sales pitch for fancy creatine, just regular old creatine monohydrate is all you need and maybe a good multi-vitamin!
Those supplements would be the route I’d go if I needed an edge, BUT ONLY IF PROPER NUTRITION AND HARD WORK IS THERE!
If you’re training like a bitch and eating like a bird, don’t even waste your money.
Let’s talk about the final element in bodybuilding, and one I’ve listed last for a good reason – CUTTING!
YOU CANNOT GET SHREDDED WITH MUSCLES YOU DON’T HAVE YET!
You aren’t going to be some bean pole guy who begins cutting right from the jump, and ends up looking the way you probably want to look. If you take this approach you’re going to look like a crackhead when it’s said and done.
First comes anabolism, then comes body re-composition, then finally we carve the diamond!
This is when you’ve put on enough muscle mass to spare some extra lbs in the process of dropping body-fat.
Basically you have to have enough extra to play with when you begin cutting up. It makes no sense to be someone who is only consuming 2,000 calories a day and then wants to cut.
You are missing a giant piece of the puzzle here!
Where do you go from this point? Down to only 1,000 calories a day?
Well here is a newsflash for you; it takes a minimum of 1,200 calories a day to even be considered a balanced diet, and most females need somewhere between 1,700- 2,300 calories a day when starting a fat loss diet.
WHEN YOU CUT YOU WILL GET WEAKER.
Get used to this as you’re cutting.
The food intake is no longer there and to think you’re going to be pushing the same 300 lbs you were pushing when you were eating like a maniac is not realistic.
The goal here is muscle retention while in a fat loss phase.
This also falls in line with body recomp and I have found that a lot of times I will be getting more and more shredded without the scale really dropping respectively.
The biggest reason for this is everything becomes more frequent and regimented. Macros are taken in more consciously and meals are usually hit more frequently.
So just because the scale isn’t dropping a few lbs every week doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t cutting.
Honestly speaking, I never even started to cut up until I was already 5+ years into my training and 225 lbs at 5’9″.
Everything before this was geared towards gaining size, and holding it!
This isn’t something most people are going to do for only 6 months and then try cutting up to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This takes years and years!
When it comes to cutting this is where certain supplements DO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE.
If you can keep your hormones elevated and take any products to help retain muscle and whatever strength you can, this is when taking on a different look besides just a smaller version of what you were is much more possible.
There are SARMS that help when it comes to trying to retain muscle mass while cutting up (that is, unless you take steroids) as long as they don’t knock you down and out once you come off them.
You see, when you take steroids or prohormones you can actually REGRESS once you discontinue usage.
As soon as recovery becomes an issue and the compound is no longer in your system, then reality hits, and reality bites hard!
I’m not going to come on here and tell you I’m natural because I am not.
However, when I was using Anafuse and Osta-shred I reverted to a normal testosterone replacement dosage just to see how I’d respond and the results were that of me staying stronger and larger while in caloric deficit.
I was pushing weights that I normally wouldn’t be able to handle when I was just replacing testosterone that my body no longer produced. So I can say with full confidence that the products do work!
No, I’m no scientist or Doctor. I didn’t go to college for 8 years, but I’ve been attending bodybuilding college for nearly 20 years.
I’ve been doing research and self-experimentation for nearly 20 years, so listen to whoever you trust more.
You will hear a lot of talk out there about products like these (SARMS) being a lie.
You will hear guys talk about SARMS being nothing more than a marketing pitch to hide the fact that they do cause the same massive suppression that steroids and prohormones cause.
I do not believe this and there simply isn’t enough research to prove this.
But I know for a fact that people who take these have great results without feeling in the dirt upon discontinuing them.
I work with bodybuilders and athletes all over the globe, and nobody has ever reported back to me that products such as Osta-shred and Anafuse cause any sort of recovery issues when they came off them.
So again, believe whatever you want, but I’m certainly not here to hurt anyone.
All of these bogus claims of suppression are coming from guys who have absolute shit physique’s to begin with and couldn’t get results on ANYTHING THEY USE!
SIMPLIFYING THE BODYBUILDING PROCESS
The biggest problem with bodybuilding nowadays is how everyone has over-complicated the process.
Go take a look at bodybuilders of the Golden era who knew only a fraction of what we know on nutrition and supplementation now!
Did you ever stop and think that maybe as a culture in general we have gotten weaker and used to life’s luxuries? I think this is definitely a possibility.
With every new supplement to hit the market, there are another 10,000 weak bitches who want the easy way out.
There is no easy way out!
I would recommend ZERO supplements to anyone wanting the easy way out. Nothing you take will work if the building blocks are not there!
If you missed step #1 and step #2 in this article, then you may take any product on the market and claim it’s worthless. But put in the work and food intake and I promise you there are things that work!!
So let’s recap what I’ve talked about here;
If you’re new to working out, take nothing!
If you have already put in the work to pack on at least 20 lbs of mass, then I’d say try a couple thing and see if they don’t give you an edge.
If you’re seasoned and looking to finally carve that diamond, then take your diet seriously and if you need to use something to help retain muscle while cutting, then try it out.
It’s 95% food guys, it’s all food intake!
There is no way around this and you are what you eat. But you cannot have a food phobia when you’re trying to build muscle mass.
It’s no coincidence when your lifts go up and you ate a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the few days prior…or a pizza…or a burger.
I live by the 80/20 rule when it comes to growing. Eat 80% clean and 20% for extra calories.
No, I never said in this article to eat junk non-stop.
I simply stated that behind the hype of what you see, there is the underground reality of what really works.
I’m giving you the underground reality, not the glitter and glamour.
TO BE PRETTY, SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA GET UGLY!
Until next time, train hard!
PS – Don’t forget to check out Straight From the Underground, the new underground bodybuilding bible!
18 thoughts on “The ABC’s of Bodybuilding | Anabolism, Body Recomposition, Cutting”
On a forum, many guys said SARMS shut you down and you need PCT. I’m confused.
Those guys are so full of fucking shit it’s beyond ridiculous. See how many will actually have the balls to post their pics!! Then when they finally do, it’s an absolute joke that the guy is using 3 grams a week of gear and he looks worse than most natty guys. Those fuckers are like talking parrots, all they do is repeat what they hear and most of the time you’re probably listening to some punkass 16 year old kid who thinks he has the world all figured out.
Thank you for the amazing content. This is clearly the best bodybuilding blog online. I have a question for you…do you see yourself doing this into your golden years?
Dude, I’ll bodybuild until the day I die. As far as writing about it, who knows
I wanted to up my Test levels for a quality of life. I’m in my late 20s and my T is slightly over 600 ng/dl. It’s not bad, but I’d love to be closer to 850-1000 range.
My GF has extreme libido and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with her. We also do a lot of cool stuff together and live very adventurous life what I believe helps to keep things exciting and gives me a lot of energy. Although, extra Test could help me to squeezes it to the fullest for sure!
Now, I’m aware of TRT and did a lot of research but I think it’s too early for me to jump on it (considering decent natural level I have). Also, traveling a lot (often because of work) I think I might not be able to successfully carry on with the protocol.
As an alternative I was considering Arimidex or Clomid (or both). The thing is I am affraid they could affect my natural T production. Or even shut it down as any external compound.
I know those compounds can add 200-300 ng of T to me but I am wondering if there’s any way to use them without shutting down natural production? Could cycling them be an option? What would be the longest period of time to safely run such compunds?
Thanks in advance,
those can shut you down too, stay natty bro. 600ng/dl is enough to do what you need to do
If sex drive is mostly what you are looking to improve just get a prescription for cialis. One 20 mg pill will let you keep up with the girlfriend for an entire weekend. Its not just for old men either. John has a post about it on here and me and a few of my friends have used it for years. You won’t walk around with a constant erection but can perform any time you want. Also it won’t effect you when you come off of it or destroy your sex drive or anything.
The basics aint sexy, but DAMN do they WORK
When you talk about building muscle before cutting, doesn’t that depend on the individual’s starting bodyfat percentage? Everything I’ve read says that you should get to 12-15% bf before you start bulking and eating a ton of food. I know that when I was at 30% bf, I took your kind of advice and while I did gain some muscle, I also just got fatter as well, and when I tried to cut I basically lost most of my muscle gains. Maybe this advice works for people that are already not highly overweight, but I’ve been cutting and currently am at around 20% bf, and I will be doing bodyweight exercises until I get to 12-15%, at which point I’ll start bulking as described in this article. I’m curious for your opinion on this
30% bodyfat is too damn high to be eating so much, and I should have specified more along specific parameters. I was talking more about “skinny-fat guys” or guys with just a little more bf% who would benefit from an increase in muscle speeding up metabolic rate. A person who is a true endomorh and always been larger genetically, would benefit more from trimming down first and then building up. they are genetically very strong anyways, and usually an endomorph has an easier time holding muscle while dieting
So I have similar story…being skinny fat. I spent a year lifting and losing weight and lost a good amount of fat and ended up looking like a crackhead, but still with a tire around the middle. I then tried “slow bulking” but it was too slow and I lost motivation as I couldn’t tell any difference in strength or muscle.
I didn’t really gain noticeable muscle mass until I increased my food intake along with the heavy lifting. And yes, I have gained weight…too fast( love to eat, and “bulking” gave me an excuse) …So now…only 3 months in, I am dialing it back as Iv’e gained quite a bit around the middle.. Let me say that while scale weight is almost where it was a year ago, my body composition, even with the fat gain, is still better. as I look more muscular with a bit of flab covering it all.
So for skinny fats, I think we have to either a) Get” crackhead” until happy with BF as you WILL gain BF with increased intake or B) accept the fat gain and try to lift heavy and throw some cardio in (which I did NOT do) to manage fat better.
The good thing? Eating way over maintenance has made it possible for me to “cut” on 2000 calories vs. the 1000 John mentioned. :) So now, I cycle calories to prevent metabolism from lowering as fast and fat is slowly, dropping. Since we simply gain fat easier and faster than others, I think it’s important to find an acceptable level of BF that you can live with and try to increase muscular weight as J.D said, so that WHEN you cut, you have enough muscle “to spare to lose” AND still have a decent physique. So I will spend this year doing mini “cut cycles” which are strictly to dial back the fat gain (not trying to get cut or shredded) as I remember my PRIORITY: work on GAINING MUSCLE MASS for the WHOLE YEAR (NOT dieting down) as this is really this ultimate solution for us skinny fats with poor nutrient partitioning.
Stay encouraged, lift heavy, change up routine often, moderate those carbs to peri workout mainly and stay consistent!
P.S.: Di I mention I’m a girl cutting on 2000 calories since I’ve been eating around 25/2700 cals ? :)
There are substances which can be taken to intensify muscle build-up as well as to help in the elimination of fats. This is in the form of a bodybuilding supplements.
Excellent article JD I appreciate you boiling it down to the basics.
What is the best cutting cycle and when do you take it? Do you start it right after a 10 week Test/cyp bulking cycle or do you wait 6 months to recover? Do you have to do PCT after a cutting cycle? I’m about to do my FIRST cycle of test ever and I want to know the best way to cut before summer. Is the cutting cycle it’s own 10 week cycle all in its own? Thx John
Hey John question about the cutting down to a bean pole thing. I’m 6’4″ 217lbs and about 16 or 17 percent body fat, almost entirely around my abdominals, lower back, and chest. I with some muscle from fucking around with weight training for a few years, but nothing significant. I would look skinny as hell if I cut, and already on the edge of developing a gut if I bulk. If you were in my shoes, what route would you recommend? Thanks for the great info love the podcast.
I would gain enough muscle mass that I wouldn’t look skinny if I cut, this can be done with minimal fat gain if the diet is balanced enough. Keep in mind that more muscle will accelerate fat burning also. At 6’4 you need to really pack on the mass to look right, I’d say a decent 240-260 lbs before cutting. Best of luck -JD
Sounds like a plan brother, time to get my ass eating and working harder. Thanks.