5 Tips On Staying Lean Whilst Bulking
For those of you who are currently in a lean-bulk phase, this post is for you.
It’s so crucial when bulking to minimise fat gain, as this will allow us to bulk for as long as possible. As we know, once past the beginner phase, muscle takes a long, long time to build!
Before we begin, let me state that you will ALWAYS gain some fat when bulking. This is unless you are a beginner, and are gaining muscle in a calorie deficit, or a “hard-gainer”, who simply doesn’t eat enough. So don’t stress about gaining a couple of pounds.
But the aim of this post is to minimise fat gains, and prevent you folks from getting fat as fuck like I did a couple of winters ago!
Now we have established the importance, let’s get to the good stuff.
1)Minimise the calorie surplus! You need to understand and accept, that muscle building is a long, slow process. Force-feeding yourself will not increase gains. For beginners, this means gaining about 1.25 pounds per month, or about 0.3 pounds per week, if you want to stay lean. If you’re an intermediate, halve that. When advanced, it’s not even worth thinking about! 😉
You will be fine as long as you’re not genuinely hungry all the time. Also I don’t normally advise using maintenance calorie calculators, as they’re potentially horribly inaccurate and vague. Just use a scale & take pictures consistently.
2)Continue part of your cutting strategy. What I mean by this, is continue to use certain appetite suppression methods that you used to get lean in the first place. This could be Intermittent Fasting, high water intake, vegetables, morning coffee etc.
Of course, your total calorie intake should be higher. But, to keep the fat off, you need some discipline. Therefore, some of the methods used to cut the fat off in the first place should not be dropped altogether.
3)Keep it “clean” 80% of the time. This means just because you are bulking, it doesn’t mean you can start eating junk food every day. But you can relax and have a little on the weekend for example, hence, the 80/20 rule. This will allow your lean-bulk to be sustainable.
Eating nutrient-dense calories most of the time will allow to perform better in all other areas of life also, so it’s a no-brainer.
4)Do some regular, fun cardio. Again, it needs to be fun as opposed to a chore, in order for it to be sustainable. This could be sports, martial arts, walking etc.
Doesn’t matter, as long as you enjoy it, and it burns at least an extra 500 calories per week. Just don’t over-do the cardio to the point of it interfering with your weight training.
Remember, you are a strength athlete. Recovering from strength training is your priority.
5)Alcohol consumption. If you are a student, like myself, alcohol consumption is important. If you are regularly drinking, and are serious about staying lean whilst bulking, and therefore maximising the amount of time spent in a surplus (and minimising the time spent cutting), you need to focus on spirits (in moderation).
Ensure that beer and wine consumption is minimal. This is of course because they are WAY more calorific. I love beer and wine, and I think it’s great to have a few pints/glasses with meals if you’re eating out with friends, family, girls. But for regular piss ups at college/university, stick to spirits.
You can have a great night with 4 double vodkas (40%) + diet mixer of your choice, and it would only cost you about 400 calories.
Whereas with beer, you would need 4-5 strong beers for the equivalent amount of alcohol, costing you at least 860 calories.
80% of the time, you should stick to spirits. Obviously, you should consume alcohol in moderation, and in an ideal world, you would consume none. But I’m a student and love alcohol, so that isn’t realistic, nor sustainable. Sustainability is what we need for long term gains.
I hope that was useful! Feel free to share, comment, and subscribe to email updates!
Let me know of anything you have found to be useful when successfully lean-bulking 🙂