If you aren’t familiar with how to begin a lean bulk, then you’re in the right place! However, if you’ve done it before, perhaps we can offer you some new tips and tricks so keep on reading…
Many people are actually afraid of bulking because they think it’ll mean they’ll just gain all the fat back they’ve worked so hard to loose. When actually, if done correctly, you might not gain that much fat back at all. Yes, it is inevitable that by eating in a surplus (over what you need for your maintenance) you will gain some fat but how much is down to what you eat, how much of a surplus you are in, your exercise routine and genetics. Some people are blessed with a naturally high metabolism so they wont gain much at all….if any! However, for most of us, you will gain some but try to see the bigger picture and ask yourself why you want to start a lean bulk.
Most people will decide to do a lean bulk in the off season (Winter mainly so you aren’t in swimwear on the beach) to make the most of the colder weather and being covered up but you can do it whenever you like or whenever suits you the best.
How To Start Bulking?
Once you have worked out what your maintenance calories are (using the calories calculator), start by increasing your daily calories by 50-100 per week and see if you begin to gain weight. If you don’t see any change, add another 50 on for a week and see how you go with that. You don’t want to increase it too quickly as your body won’t know what to do with the extra calories and it will all be stored as fat. Slow and steady wins the race! You don’t want to be seeing an increase of more than around 0.5 – 1 pound of weight gain per week when bulking as this will more likely be fat gain instead of muscle gain. It might take you a few weeks to find your happy spot for bulking so give it time and make sure you track your calories and weight as you go.
Reasons To Start A Bulk
One of the most popular reasons to start a bulk is to gain muscle and strength. By eating in a caloric surplus, your body will have more fuel for your workouts so you’ll be able to lift heavier weights and in turn, your muscles will get bigger due to the increased weight you’re lifting. Also, by having more food/fuel in your body, your muscles have more to feed on and will naturally start to get bigger.
Another popular reason to do a lean bulk is to speed up your metabolism. By slowly increasing the amount you eat over time, your body will adapt to those extra calories and be able to deal with the excess energy you are giving it and not store it as fat, but instead use it for building muscle instead. By increasing your calories slowly, you should be able to increase your calorie maintenance by maybe 500 – 1000 calories a day without gaining fat…now who doesn’t want to be able to eat that much more food everyday and not gain fat?!
How Long Do I Bulk For?
You wont be able to go on forever increasing your calories week after week, it just wouldn’t be feasible, you’d end up having to eat thousands and thousands of calories a day! There will come a time when you do start to see that either your strength will plateau in the gym or that you just start to gain more and more weight. This is when you know that you need to stop bulking and either go back to your maintenance or do a mini cut (go into a calorie deficit – where you eat under your maintenance calories).
What Is A Dirty Bulk?
A ‘dirty’ bulk is not healthy longterm, but many bodybuilders might experiment with one to gain as much muscle mass as fast as possible. However, following this, they’ll then need to perform a pretty tough cutting cycle to get rid of all the excess fat they’ve accumulated along the way. So what is a ‘dirty’ bulk? Essentially it’s where you would eat lots of fast food, takeaways and generally unhealthy food high in fat to increase your calories quickly without having to spend all day eating fruits and vegetables that are much lower in calories.
Lean bulking is a far more efficient way to try and build muscle mass…without also gaining a tonne of fat. By focusing on just building muscle without fat, you will have much slower results but you won’t need to go through such a tough cut afterwards to get rid of the excess fat. So, it really depends what works best for you and how desperate you are to gain size…however we would suggest you do a clean bulk as gaining fat quickly is NOT healthy!
We hope this article has been of interest to you and will help you on your way to getting the body of your dreams!
The Fitness Focus Team