The Complete Guide to Lean BulkingThe thing is, how successful these bulking and cutting cycles have been for you in the past and how successful they bxsics be for you in the future depends on a bunch of factors, the most important of which may just be understanding what these terms DO and Bhlking NOT mean and applying them accordingly. Honestly, they are just stupid words used to describe building muscle and losing fat. The final constant about the scenarios these words entail is that they are lean bulking basics done in alternating cycles. You know… bulk for X amount of time, then cut for Y amount of time or vice-versa depending on your initial lean bulking basics. This is how countless people have gone about trying to reach their fat loss and muscle building goals for decades and will likely still do it decades from now. What sucks about tren e dosage words is that lean bulking basics lack details and specifics.
Bulking & Cutting: How To Bulk Up And Cut For More Muscle, Less Fat
This is important because the first step of a lean gaining phase may actually be a cut. As we explained in the article Get Lean before Bulking , starting from a low body fat percentage allows you to gain more weight before you get excessively fat and the majority of that weight will be muscle mass because of improved nutrient partitioning. These lean bulks should be stretched over several months. You will look good all the time! During your cuts you should be careful not to lose muscle and maintain your strength on the main lifts.
So this is my basic philosophy for bulking. During the bulking periods I believe we should strive for lean gains as much as we can while not compromising the rate at which we can gain muscle and strength.
One of my favorite Eric Helms quotes is this: If that was possible, every fat person would also have a lot of muscle mass. The truth about eating for muscle growth is this: The maximum rate of muscle growth can be achieved by eating just enough food to permit the adaptation after training. In fact, the unused materials will just pile up around the house — just as body fat will pile up around the muscle. You can now understand why the same workout routine produces different levels of muscle gain during a cut, maintenance, or bulk.
We deliberately eat less energy than our bodies need in order to tap into body fat reserves. Recovery and growth are thus impaired. Besides providing the nutrients necessary for recovery and growth, eating a surplus of calories also gives you energy to train harder. Training harder means faster progression resulting in a better growth stimulus.
Ok, you now know that in order to maximize muscle growth and avoid fat gain, you need to eat just enough. But how much is that? What you can see is that our growth potential differs a lot depending on our training experience. For each stage we want to eat enough calories to allow maximum muscle gains but not more because that will lead to fat gain.
The way I see it, there are three ways to set your caloric surplus, the difference between them being the amount of fat you gain with the muscle. I believe dirty bulking is not productive if your goal is looking good year round. I have two reasons for that:. Getting excessively fat ruins your proportions and blurs muscle definition defeating the purpose. You can bulk for very little time until you get too fat. This means that for each bulk cycle you actually gain less muscle mass than someone who bulked cleaner.
How to do it: If you want to dirty bulk eat enough food to grow two times faster than the rates in the tables above. That usually means about kcal per pound of body weight. Lean Gaining means gaining weight at a slow rate with very little, to no increases in fat mass.
The reason for that is because the rate of muscle gain is usually very slow. Eat about calories more than maintenance on your lifting days.
On rest days eat at maintenance. From my experience two thirds of the weight gained this way will be muscle mass. In the worst case scenario you gain muscle and fat at 1 to 1 ratio.
I was very happy with the results. The first picture was taken at the end of May and I was lbs 70kg. The second was taken at the end of October and I was lbs 77kg. The best part about this strategy is that you can be in a surplus for months before you need to cut for weeks.
And from my experience you make much better strength and lean mass gains in these long bulks than you do in shorter ones even if the amount of weight gained is the same. Eat enough food to grow 1. A great starting point for beginners is calories above maintenance every day. This will result in approximately 3 lbs of weight gain per month. Intermediates might go with calories above maintenance every day. This will result in approximately 2 lbs of weight gain per month.
I recommend you start with the lowest numbers first kcal above maintenance and see how you progress from there. Be aware of daily fluctuations in weight though. Sometimes you may be pounds heavier or lighter than the day before without making any changes to your diet. You should not adjust your calories if this happens. Track your weight and progress over a longer period of time one or two weeks. The reason for that is because they burn off the surplus by unconsciously moving more.
These are movements like bumping your leg on the floor, playing with objects, changing position, and fidgeting in general.
There is one really cool study that shows the effects of overfeeding on spontaneous physical activity. In this study numerous non-obese adults age between years were fed kcal over maintenance for 8 weeks. The results are pretty amazing:. On paper, calories over maintenance for 8 weeks should results in about 7. But in this well controlled study only an average of 4.
And more than two thirds of the burned calories were dissipated through NEAT. However, the energy burned through NEAT varied drastically between subjects. The former is probably one of those people who cannot gain weight no matter what and the latter is one of those that gets fat just by thinking about food. This study shows that we cannot always estimate how many calories are necessary to gain lbs a month. The surplus we set on paper and the one that actually occurs may be very different.
I suggest you start with only kcal over maintenance and see if you gain at the rates given in the table above. If you gain too slowly, then increase the calories as needed. Remember to make small increases in calories. Setting macros when bulking is really simple. However, there is a lot of individual variability here. They gain less body fat by doing this and have better energy levels in the gym.
I on the other hand do better with a higher fat intake. What is your opinion on lean bulking? Do you have something else to add? Leave a comment below and let me know. I read and answer all comments. Then you should check out the Greek God Program. This is a workout and nutrition plan geared towards building muscle strategically while staying lean for the aesthetic look of a Greek God. It is also the program I used to build my physique.
Click Here to learn more about it. First I want to thank you for the good content that you offer on your site. You have a very clear way to explain things. Secondly, I have a request to make. When determining maintenance calories by calculating x BW , I should take lean bodyweight or the total bodyweight?
The same applies to determine the grams of protein per pound of bodyweight goal, I should take lean bodyweight or the total bodyweight? The same goes for protein. If they are relatively lean, I always tell them to set protein based on total bodyweight.
I am about to lean bulk after cutting and lifting for one year. Will I be considered a beginner or an intermediate? I was just wondering, I see all fo this as something extremely helpful so I thank you in advance because it is really hard to find information like this nowadays.
I go with the very easy formula of 15 calories per pound. No matter what formula you use, it will have to be adjusted anyway based on feedback. What I recommend is to set your maintenance at 15 calories per pound and watch your weight. If it stays the same, that is your maintenance. Then you can set your caloric surplus. Im now 65kgs and Cm height. Ive gained about 1kg per month on calories. According to calculations I should be eating over cals right or am I just 1 in a Million that should reverse diet to avoid fat gain.
Hi Reagan, I am in a similar but not as extreme situation. I lost a lot of weight over a long period of time so I was in a deficit for maybe 1 year or so while I finally figured out how to make everything work with training and nutrition. I have been lifting only about4 months but have made pretty decent muscle development already doing body weight exercises before that.