If you want to know how to bulk without getting fat, then dialing in your daily calories is essential. The reason for this is it allows you to gauge your gains month after month. This ensures that the weight you’re putting on is muscle, and you’re adding minimal fat to your physique. What I follow is not just a bulk, but a LEAN bulk. Because the idea is to gain weight while maintaining your definition.
If you don’t monitor your daily calorie intake, it’s easy to go overboard and eat way too much food. This is why so many people who go on bulks gain a lot of fat. I’ve heard stories of guys on bulks who gained a few pounds of muscle, but they also packed on 15 or more pounds of fat.
That’s no fun, and personally, that would be incredibly discouraging knowing that I was going into a bulk prepared to put on plenty of fat. I don’t know a single person who would want that kind of outcome.
Most people who go on a bulk are looking to gain muscle mass while staying lean and defined. It’s possible that you WILL put on a minimal amount of fat while on a bulk, but when done properly, it won’t be very noticeable, and you’ll still look like you’re building your body proportionately.
Plus, any additional fat that you gain can easily be wiped out in a month, leaving you with the lean muscle gains you were looking for in the first place. Going on a bulk, I’ve learned, is a journey, and you have to allow for the possibility of losing some definition due to a small amount of fat gain. But that’s very different from overeating, and gaining 15 – 20 pounds of fat.
The goal should be to gain about 80% lean mass over the course of a bulk. Let’s say you gain 10 pounds. 8 pounds of that is muscle, and 2 pounds is fat. Well, when doing this properly, you should easily be able to burn off those 2 pounds of fat in only 2 weeks.
I’m going to assume that you’re already training hard. That’s almost as essential as eating properly. But I don’t think you would be here if you weren’t already doing some form of resistance training. So, let’s get to the details on how to bulk without getting fat.
The Lean Bulk Roadmap For Minimal Fat Gain
Below is a quick breakdown of the exact steps you should take in order to start a lean bulk. If you want a much more detailed explanation on how to follow a lean bulk properly, visit this link here.
That article explains in detail exactly how you should calculate your daily calories to gain about 1-2 pounds monthly. It will also help you determine whether you are ready for a lean bulk, and how to troubleshoot if things go wrong. It also explains how to track your progress.
Eating at too much of a calorie surplus usually causes fat gain. This is why I follow this method which packs on muscle mass with minimal fat.
In order to gain 1-2 pounds of muscle per month, you’d eat at a 200 calorie surplus. A 200 calorie surplus just means you’d be eating 200 calories daily beyond maintenance.
HOW TO CALCULATE MAINTENANCE CALORIES:
- Bodyweight x 15 = Maintenance Calories
HOW TO CALCULATE LEAN BULK CALORIES:
- Maintenance Calories + 200 = Lean Bulk Calories
I’ve had to bump up my calories 3 separate times until I was gaining 1-2 pounds monthly. For some people, just the 200 additional calories per day is all that’s needed, and in my case, I had to do some adjusting. You should wait a month and if you aren’t gaining any weight, then you can bump those calories up again by another 200.
Protein intake is just as crucial for your success as calorie intake. Here’s the calculation for daily protein:
HOW TO CALCULATE DAILY PROTEIN:
- Bodyweight x 0.8 = Daily Protein In Grams
Important Note: If you have 10 – 15 pounds of fat to lose, then a lean bulk would not be right for you just yet. You’d want to eat at a calorie deficit until you hit your desired leanness first. You can learn how to calculate a deficit here.
Train Hard During A Lean Bulk
I feel like this goes without saying. If you’re looking to gain muscle bulking, it’s very important that you put your all into your training. While you should always be putting your maximum effort into your workouts, it’s especially important when bulking.
It’s important to track your workout progress and make sure that you’re adding tension each week when you can do maximum reps for all your sets. For instance, when I can do all three of my weighted dips with the same weight at maximum reps, then I increase weight next week by about 5 pounds.
I increase weight for all workouts each week when I hit maximum reps at a higher weight. You’ll start to notice a gain in size in your muscles, which is exactly what we want when doing a lean bulk.
I follow Kinobody programs for all my workout routines. You can learn about Kinobody here.
While I started with their home calisthenics routine, I’ve now transitioned to a hybrid workout including weights, to maximize the results of my lean bulk.
I encourage you to look through the various Kinobody programs, as they are some of the most powerful resistance training routines I’ve ever found, and they will get you serious results, regardless of which program you follow.
For a lean bulk, I suggest their Superhero 2.0 or Greek God Program. These are both designed for anyone looking to gain lean muscle and size.
The Process Of Losing Weight & Gaining It Back
This is an issue that bothered me quite a bit. You see, I initially transformed my body with a home calisthenics workout routine, which you can learn about here.
I had a skinny fat body type with very little muscle definition. So, when I began this program, the goal was to shed off unwanted fat and build lean muscle. Little did I know that I had 15 pounds to lose.
So, in the course of 3 months, I stripped off those 15 pounds along with 3% body fat, and I dropped from a 32 to a 30-inch waist. This was amazing to me, and I’m still in awe at the progress I made in such a short period of time. Plus, I was really happy with this new physique that I saw in the mirror.
However, after I’d made this progress, the coaches in the private Facebook group were telling me that it was time for me to transition into a lean bulk. In my head, I thought I still had more fat to lose. What I’ve learned though, is if you’re at your ideal body weight, or within 5 pounds of it, you would benefit from a lean bulk.
The Fear Of Gaining Fat On A Bulk
I started my lean bulk by adding 100 calories per day to my diet, as I was being extremely careful with my numbers. After a month or so, I still wasn’t gaining weight, so I added another 200 according to their instructions. My weight still didn’t really go up. So, after another month, I added another 200 calories to my diet.
I’m currently eating 500 calories beyond maintenance per day. I have gained about 5 pounds in the past few months. I definitely see a change in my body now. My upper arms and upper body overall have gained size and definition. My thighs have gotten bigger too, which I’m really happy about, cause I’ve always had skinny legs. I’ve been putting my all into my workouts.
However, I feel that overall, my body has lost some of the definition that it had just a few short months ago. That’s the downside, but the upside is that my body is getting bigger proportionately. It’s strange to see the scale going up when I worked so hard to lose those pounds of fat in the first place.
So, I’m finally at a stage now where I’m accepting that I may lose some definition during this lean bulk. Luckily, it’s not all that noticeable. Some people gain pure muscle during a lean bulk, while others gain muscle and put on a bit of fat too. That’s totally fine. This is normal, but even more importantly, you’ll be able to strip that fat away quickly, to reveal all the hard work you put into your workouts in the first place. Let’s get to that.
What Should You Do After The Lean Bulk?
To me, this is the best part of this entire bulking process. I’ve come to learn quite a bit from the Kinobody community. What I’ve come to realize is that the guys who get completely shredded and look super muscular, stay in a lean bulk for several months. They eat at a 200 calorie surplus and train hard and get bigger. For many guys, some of the weight gain comes on in the form of fat. That’s normal.
So, the magic happens when these same people transition from eating at lean bulk calories to maintenance calories, and then down to a deficit. They usually make this transition around March, a few months before summer.
See, staying on the lean bulk for 6 – 8 months during the fall and winter months means you may put on up to 16 pounds during that time. 80% of those gains should be muscle. The magic happens when you switch gears and stop eating lean bulk calories. Then spend a month or possibly two, eating at maintenance or a calorie deficit.
What this does is literally melt away any fat that you may have gained during the lean bulk. Remember, any fat gain during a lean bulk will be minimal, so stripping it off should be simple and fairly quick. When I say quick, I mean it can be done in a month or two at the most.
Then you get to enjoy the summer showing off all the hard work you’ve put into transforming your physique.
Bulking For Minimal Fat Gain In Summary
I hope you found this article to be helpful. I’m hoping that the takeaway of this article is that a lean bulk should be slow and steady until you’re gaining about 1 – 2 pounds per month.
Make sure to train hard and hit your daily calories and protein, and you should be good to go. You can find a full article about lean bulking right here.
Another article I feel can be very beneficial if you’re not sure whether to bulk or cut is right here. That will explain in detail how to gauge whether you are ready for a lean bulk, or if you’d be better off continuing to cut calories until you hit your desired leanness.
I want to thank you so much for reading this article. If you have any questions or comments at all, please leave them below, and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. I appreciate you being here!