Do I need to gain weight first then cut up?

I’m a slender 47 year old woman interested in gaining muscle. Real muscle. Not ‘tone up’ like so many trainers assume women my age want to do. Am I able to achieve this goal in one stage, by completing effective muscle gaining workouts? Or in two stages,any eating a high calorie diet to gain weight first and then change my work outs to cut up? I am not a big eater so a high calorie diet will not be easy for me. Please advise.

Honestly, there are many ways to go about this, and the best is whatever will work for YOU. My first season, I was dieting for a show, I had only 14wks. I tightened up a lot, but my weight remained the same. I built muscle as I dropped fat. I actually built muscle on a leaning program.

Some will say you should eat a lot more, about 20 cals/lb of body weight on a ‘bulking’ program. I’ve done this and it’s a lot at first, you do feel kind of sick eating so much, but your body does adjust and if you are lifting enough and hard enough, you can adjust. Others don’t believe you need to gain a lot of fat to build muscle, as long as you are eating enough to grow the muscle.

Right now I’m actually eating my maintenance calories, about 15cals / lb of body weight, which is still a good amount of food. I am maintaining my weight but building muscle, hoping to have the effect of my first season.

With that being said, it is always good to work in cycles, a building and a leaning cycle. They don’t have to be extreme, but enough so that you can create change. An old adage that I always go by – “Keep the mind aware and the body confused”.