Lean Bulk: What You Need to Know
Gaining muscle mass with minimal fat gain is the mystical unicorn that we are all chasing. If it is for off-season show prep, sports performance, or pure vanity I’m here to tell you that it is possible to accomplish. Regardless of the current “bro science” information out there.
I’m about to rock your world here…. Protein is not the main macro you should be concerned with for lean bulking. I know protein has become the holy macro above all others, but lean bulking relies more on manipulating your carbs than anything else. To do this, you will need to figure out the number of carbs you need for an efficient workout. Half of these carbs should be consumed pre-workout, with the rest of your carbs coming after, along with a post workout protein shake. (See we didn’t totally forget protein!) Unless your breakfast is your pre-workout meal then it is not important to consume carbs first thing in the morning. This will actually cause insulin spiking and cause you to feel hungry again in a couple hours and encourage fat storing. If you limit carb intake to being near your workout times only, you will keep your insulin levels steady throughout the day, therefore being less likely to store fat during the day.
Macro tracking is king when it comes to changing body composition. Tracking the number of carbs, fat, protein, and fiber is an effective way of manipulating the way your body builds muscle and burns fat. Maintaining a caloric surplus is key when trying to add size, but this does not equate to eating ice cream and chips because “I’m bulking!”. The type of nutrients your body takes in affects your results even more than the number of calories.
The most important part to remember is consistency. Staying true to your plan day in and day out is what will give you the body you dream of. These kinds of results take time. Gaining 2-4 pounds of lean muscle a month is a realistic goal, once you go higher than that, you are probably just adding fat. Working out will be your biggest factor on this type of plan. You should still be getting stronger even without adding huge size. Start lean, put in the work, stay lean (just bigger).