ok fitness buffs I get asked these kind of questions lots so I wanted to set the record straight !
To gain lean body mass, you need a calorie surplus. The biggest dietary reason most people fail to gain lean muscle is that they’re simply not eating enough and not training hard enough. Many times when they come off a fat loss program, they are completely paranoid about “losing their abs.”
Of course, that’s a legitimate concern because it’s VERY easy to lose your abs if you get lazy with your diet or you think that a muscle gaining diet means eating everything in sight. To gain quality muscle and stay lean it takes continued discipline and dietary restraint, but the fact is, you just can’t gain any muscle if you’re afraid to eat more.
I think the real trick in gaining lean muscle without fat gain is to select a small calorie surplus. Overeating, even on clean, bodybuilding foods is going to make you gain fat along with the muscle.
I’ve seen it many times before Gaining fat and muscle weight at the same time is commonly known as “bulking up” and that’s the old school bullshit approach to building muscle. We don’t want to do that. The whole idea is to Feed The Muscle and build lean body mass only and have a real quality look.
What I would recommend for lean gains is to add a 10-15% calorie surplus on top of your maintenance level as your starting point. You will probably need a second increase in calories after a few months or after you’ve begun to add some lean mass in order to keep the lean gains coming.
The only other major adjustments for gaining lean mass would be the protein-carb-fat ratios and of course, the amount of cardio.
Weight gain programs require more carbs in the macronutrient mix and less cardio. Endomorph types may need to keep 3 days of cardio in the mix to avoid losing their abs. In some cases for ectomorph “hard-gainer” body types, they should cut the cardio completely during the muscle gain phase.
For the endomorph body type who tends to gain fat easily, I recommend continuing to use a carb or calorie cycling method even for the muscle gaining phase. The difference is in the number of calories.
For fat loss, I typically recommend a carb cycle with a 20-30% caloric deficit for 3 days, followed by one full day at maintenance or even maintenance + 5-10%, with ALL the caloric increase coming from carbs.
For lean muscle gain without fat gain, I’d recommend a cycle with 3 days at a 15% surplus, followed by 3 days at maintenance or a small caloric deficit of 5-10% below maintenance.
These are just guidelines. They are not written in stone. I have seen all types of calorie cycling variations work for different people. Any non-linear calorie approach is superior, in my opinion, for keeping the gains lean
It’s not that hard to put on the first 1-3 kilo of lean muscle. After that, gains tend to slow down a bit. if you would like to be our next success storie contact us by clicking here for your free trial