So, you jumped on a bulk and gained a ton of weight. The problem: most of the weight you put on was not muscle, it was fat. One of the drawbacks of a caloric surplus is that our bodies can only make a certain amount of muscle per day. Muscle takes time to build, the longer we are in a surplus the better the chance will be that we will add fat to our frame instead of muscle. Cyclical bulking might be the answer.

Cyclical bulking is designed to build quality muscle and keep you lean over time. When we are in a caloric surplus, our fat-burning hormones such as T3 and leptin are also elevated. In order to take advantage of these hormones, by transitioning into a caloric deficit, you’re able to lose a lot of body fat rather quickly. If you bulked up traditionally you may gain up to 10 pounds in eight weeks.

A cyclical bulking strategy would help you gain up to four pounds (in a six-week phase). A proceeding two-week diet could help you net one or two pounds of pure muscle once you drop as much fat. During the two-week dieting phase, you increase your sensitivity to hormones like insulin. You’re also more primed to build lean muscle when you add calories.

Here are seven steps on how to implement cyclical bulking for you mass-gaining phase.