Everybody always asks the same question; How do I put on maximum muscle with minimal fat? Some experts will say diet, some will say training and some might not have a clue. Here are our tips on how to make sure your hard earned chiselled abs aren’t sacrificed in the pursuit of superior lean muscle mass!
1. Choose the right protein
With so many choices and variety on the market this can be very difficult. If you’re going just for pure mass and size then you can go with a mass gainer but you’re not going to stay lean as the increased calories will give you the size but at the cost of definition.
2. Train appropriately
You can’t bulk AND cut. Since this is your bulking phase we’re focusing on the bulk so leave the cutting plans for later on. You’ll need to keep your training varied. Whilst traditional bodybuilding has it’s merits, training purely with body splits will limit your progress and keep you too bulky. Add in some circuits or HIIT sessions for cardio to reduce your fat storage and you can maintain a toned physique with good definition whilst gradually increasing your lean muscle.
3. Diet, diet, diet
Nutrition is always key when it comes to achieving your fitness goals so make sure pay extra attention to what you put into your body. Going for a lean bulk you’ll need to make sure you are in a calorie surplus and these should be made up mainly of protein and healthy fats with only a few key carbs utilised mainly on training days to provide extra energy and to keep fat gained to a minimum.
4. Fats are your friend
Many people get these confused. As with any healthy diet, stay away from trans fats and most saturated fats (some of these are fine in small doses) and increase your healthy fats. This will include avocados, nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds as well as the good oils; fish, olive, rapeseed and flaxseed.
5. Use a fat burner
But i’m not trying to lose weight we hear you say? Fat burners are not just for when you’re dieting and focusing on weight loss. Using a fat burner when bulking is a great way to ensure that you put on as little fat as possible as it will still do the job and act as the ace in your pocket in your pursuit of lean size with great definition.
6. Rest is key
A good amount of rest is vital for muscle building and recovery. Your training provides the catalyst required for muscle growth but your muscles grow OUTSIDE of the gym. Keep this in mind when you’re bored and feel like an extra session on a rest day will add more muscle, as it won’t! Too many weight training sessions will have your nervous system shot to pieces, cause you to burn out and result in overtraining. On the other hand too many cardio sessions will burn off all those precious extra calories you’ve been having and whilst it may keep you lean, you’ll find it very difficult to add the desired extra lean muscle. Therefore keep a good balance in your training and take a minimum of 1-2 days off per week whilst also aiming for the standard recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night to optimise muscle growth and recovery.
7. Ramp up the weight
Adding lean muscle can always be difficult so you need to make sure you always keep your body challenged in order to ensure you keep making steady gains. The best way to do this is to increase the weights you’re lifting. An easy way to do this is to have one session per week where you focus on weight, such as a 5×5 strength session. This will have a profound effect on your overall training and will enable you to keep challenging yourself and break through any plateaus in order to maximise lean muscle growth.
Follow these tips and be vigilant with your planning and you’ll be on target for significant lean gains in no time!