Usually, after the summer passes and the weather starts getting colder, many of people go into bulking mode. Their logic is: since no one can see my muscles beneath these baggy clothes, I might as well eat a bit more, even junk food. No one will notice. Besides, isn’t getting enough calories and putting some fat needed in order to build muscle? No, actually that is plain wrong.
The hard truth is that putting too much fat on you will not only not help you in gaining more muscle, on the contrary, it can work against building muscle in the long-term. We already assume that your goal is to achieve an athletic and lean body which will be aesthetically pleasing, so the fat will sooner or later need to be burned off. That is why wasting your energy and time accumulating in the first place is pure nonsense. In fact, the higher your body fat levels, the longer the cutting process.
Additionally, prolonged cutting diets also increase the likelihood that besides losing the fat you will also lose a certain amount of your hard-earned muscle. Dirty bulking might look like fun at first, what with all the junk foods you’ll be eating, but you’ll soon come to regret it once you’ve put too much of it and can’t stand to look at yourself in the mirror. So, the big question is: how do I stay lean while building muscle? It’s not very hard actually, but it will require some planning, thinking it through and constant daily discipline which is much harder than eating that would give you pleasure at that moment.
First things first: doing the diet math
Just because you are gaining muscle mass doesn’t mean you have to acquire a belly with it. Although avoiding a small amount of fat is impossible, as well as adding pure lean tissue, if you eat smart, you can add as much lean muscle tissue as possible while also adding as little fat as possible. Now, let’s delve into some simple math to help you better understand why that is. Let’s imagine that when you first began working out you weighed 150lbs with 15% body fat.
Suppose you gained 25lbs of pure muscle, you would be weighing 175lbs and have around 13% body fat. If you added plus 25lbs of lean muscle, you would weigh 200lbs with 11% body fat. While it is possible to make that drastic transformation over time, you cannot do it all at once. That’s because as we said earlier no one can gain just muscle, there’s always going to be some amount of fat gained, even if very small. The main question is how much exactly.
Let’s suppose you added 22lbs of lean muscle mass with 3lbs of body fat, using the same starting point as before. That would result in you weighing 175lbs and having around 15% body fat. Even though you accumulated some amount of fat, you would still be somewhat leaner than before. Depending on what your goals are and your specific genetics there is a possibility that you may have to gain a bigger fat amount than the example above, however, the point is still relevant: you can still be relatively lean since you are always adding more muscle tissue than fat. Once again, gaining muscle doesn’t have to accompanied by a belly.
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