How many times do you go to the gym and wonder how that big guy, or ripped girl, at the gym is always lean year-round?
Chances are they don’t bulk with dirty foods like those massive bodybuilders do in their bulking season, they follow a lean bulking program, and so should you.
Not only is lean bulking healthier, but by staying consistent, you will find yourself much leaner and bigger with less cutting as you would in the conventional dirty bulk.
For the best results, let’s take a look at how we would do this properly by following five simple steps.
5 Simple Steps to Lean Bulking
Step 1: Lower Your Starting Body Fat Percentage
First, before beginning your lean bulk, you will want to get yourself to a standard body fat percentage.
For men, this will be 10% body fat and women will want to be at 20% body fat for best results.
Now, you don’t need to follow these guidelines strictly but you will want to give yourself a little leeway in your program.
By beginning at these standard percentages you help control your insulin sensitivity and allow yourself to bulk longer. Most importantly you need to find what works best for you.
Step 2: Calculate Your Lean Bulking Calorie Intake
Second, you need to calculate your calorie surplus intake for lean bulking.
What you will want to do is calculate your daily calorie intake needs for a day.
Once you have that number you will want to multiply that by 5%-10% and that will give you the additional calories you should consume to begin your lean bulk.
For example, I consume roughly 3,200 calories a day and 5% of 3,200 is 160. So, in this case, I would add 160 calories to my daily calorie intake.
Now everyone’s bodies are different so experiment within that 5% difference to find what works best for you.
Step 3: Calculate Your Lean Bulking Macronutrients
Step 3 in the lean bulking process is to calculate your macronutrients.
Macronutrients will consist of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
One of the most effective practices in protein consumption is to eat around one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. So if you weigh 150lbs you will consume 150 grams of protein.
Depending on how your body reacts, I even like to consume about 1.5 grams of protein per pound. If you are a hard lifter, I would highly recommend adding just a tad more protein in your diet.
Then we have fat consumption. You will want to take your calorie intake and multiply that by 20% – 25% to get the amount of fat calories that will be most effective for your weight.
I even add just a little more fat to my diet and fewer carbs on my rest days.
Lastly, to calculate the most effective amount of calories from carbs, take the calories from your protein and fat numbers and simply subtract that from your total surplus calorie intake.
There are many ways to calculate your calories and macronutrients, I would recommend downloading an app, such as MyFitnessPal, to help keep track.
Step 4: Keep Track of Your Weight
The fourth step to follow is keeping track of your progress.
After about a week you should have enough data to decide how the calorie surplus is affecting your body. Again, there’s no one size fits all, be sure to weigh yourself daily and then compare your weekly results side by side to decide whether you should add more to your surplus or take away from it.
Step 5: Decide When to Start Cutting
The last step to lean bulking is to follow your body fat percentage to dictate when you should begin your full-fledged cutting cycle.
Watching your body fat percentage in this process is very important because for best results men should begin their cut at 15% body fat and women should begin at 25%.
Any higher than that and it begins to get harder to lose that bulk weight. The cutting phase can vary depending upon how fast you can shed back down to the standard body fat level, which can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
From experience, I prefer to bring myself down to about 8% before I begin to lean bulk again. This allows me to achieve a very lean look, and the best part about the lean bulk is you never truly reach a fatty look like you would on a dirty bulk.
Final Thoughts on Lean Bulking
Following these simple steps to lean bulking, you will be on a better path of keeping yourself healthy and looking leaner year-round.
Don’t cave in to the old dirty bulk and find yourself with a gut the size of Texas and arms that’ll wiggle in the air by the end of your bulking phase and a cutting phase that seems to never end.
To your lean bulking success!