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Bulking is a common method of adding muscle mass in bodybuilding. It involves eating a large number of calories and lifting weight in an attempt to build muscle. However, many people adopt a bulk at all costs attitude and end up piling on pounds of fat, according to diet coach and professional natural bodybuilder Alberto Nunez. When this happens, it's time to clean up your diet to shred body fat, while maintaining your hard-earned muscle.
Reduce your calorie intake. To burn fat, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn, which forces your body to turn to its fat stores for energy. To begin, lower your current calorie intake by 500 per day, advises the Mayo Clinic. This should ensure a steady rate of fat loss of around 1 pound per week. Too severe of a calorie deficit can be muscle wasting, adds bodybuilder and nutritional scientist Dr. Layne Norton; if you're losing more than 1 1/2 pounds each week, it's likely you're burning muscle too, not just fat.
Keep your weight training routine exactly the same. While the common belief is that you need high repetitions and lighter weights to burn fat and tone up, this is false. High-rep training burns no more fat than lifting heavy. When cutting body fat, you want to maintain as much muscle as possible, so to do this, stick with the same routine you used to build the muscle in the first place. Don't spend too much time on certain body parts either -- the notion that you can spot reduce fat through exercise is also a myth.
Add cardiovascular training to your routine. A typical bulking program involves very little cardio, but it helps greatly with burning extra calories and speeding up your progress. Perform four sessions per week, each lasting half an hour. Norton recommends performing a mixture of low- to moderate-intensity steady-state cardio and high-intensity interval training. For your steady-state work, walk, jog, swim or cycle and for the high-intensity intervals, play sports, run hills, do sprints at a track or on a treadmill, or use interval programs on the cardio machines at the gym.