A popular fitness blogger has shared photos of exactly what you should eat – and how many calories you should consume – to either bulk up or lose weight.
Shannon Eng, from Oakland, California, has put together graphics that reveal an ideal meal plan for building muscle alongside a similar plan that will instead help you shed the pounds.
The only difference between the two plans is that the ‘bulk’ meal diary will be about 2,000 calories, while the ‘cut’ weight loss guide will be about 1,700 calories, with a couple of different dishes.
Otherwise, the plans share many of the same meals as each other, proving that just a few extra ingredients can make all the difference to your weight loss or muscle-building goals.
Shannon, who is known as Caligirlgetsfit on Instagram where she has 347,000 followers, has been posting images in her bulk/cut series for a few weeks and the graphics receive up to 5,000 likes each time.
She wrote: ‘Bulk [and]cut: these are words thrown around the fitness community but a lot of people don’t really know exactly what they mean.
‘It’s actually very simple, cutting means that you’re trying to lose weight and burn fat, and are at a caloric deficit (eating less than you burn).
‘Bulking means you’re trying to gain weight, most likely from adding lean mass, and are at a caloric surplus (eating more than you burn).
‘How much you decide to bulk or cut is really up to you, although I personally don’t believe it’s healthy to lose or gain too much too quickly.’
Shannon says the key to weight loss or weight gain is to be in a calorie deficit or surplus, depending on what your goal is.
But she also said that making sure you eat the right amounts of each macronutrient – carbohydrates, protein and fat – was just as important.
She explained: ‘Macro ratios matter too. For example you can achieve a caloric deficit on eating two cookies and nothing else for the day.
‘Will you lose weight? Probably. But is it healthy? NO! That’s why when cutting, bulking, or maintaining it’s always a great idea to continue to fuel your body with good wholesome foods and be mindful of your macro ratios. Be sure that you’re getting enough healthy fat, protein, and healthy carbs.’
When she is bulking, Shannon eats more carbohydrates and high-calorie but healthy breakfasts such as lots of eggs on toast.
But when she is ‘cutting,’ she eats less carbohydrates and more high-protein items.
She explained: ‘I’ve swapped out the higher-calorie breakfast (bread, avocado, and eggs) for high-protein yogurt and fruit.
‘I’m still drinking the morning smoothie. I also have chosen to have more protein in the cut and a little less carbs, swapping the pasta.’