The proper diet for a lean bulk is going to differ from person to person. In fact, my own has changed a few times over the course of the past several months, and I’ll explain in this article why that is, and when you should make the decision to alter your diet and change your calories so that your lean bulk is working for you.
It’s actually nice to be writing an article today that has nothing to do with weight loss, and everything to do with weight gain. Of course, you’re not just looking to gain weight. You’re interested in packing on lean muscle, and definitely not fat.
When a lean bulk is done correctly, that’s exactly what should happen. In fact, you should notice about 1 – 2 pounds of muscle gain over the course of a month. When done incorrectly, the weight gain will add excess fat to your body.
I’ve taught many people how to follow a very simple calorie deficit to lose 4-5 lbs monthly. It’s been amazing to see my friends’ results from this, and while that calculation works magically well, calculating your calories for a lean bulk is a bit more involved.
The reason for this is that you’re going to be gaining weight, and not losing it. And personally, on my own lean bulk, there was a nervous feeling that went along with knowing I’d be gaining weight. What if I gain fat? It felt weird suddenly adding 200 calories to my daily diet when I worked so hard to burn off 15 pounds of fat in the first place.
However, I’m in a situation now where I am lean bulking. This article is going to teach you everything I’ve learned about lean bulking to help steer you in the right direction as far as how to do it properly so you gain lean muscle month after month.
I only monitor my calorie and protein intake, and these are the calculations you’ll see in this article. Once I’ve dialed both those in, all other foods are up to me. So, I eat a lot of carbs, and my suggestion to you is to get plenty of carbs into your diet, as they’re going to really help give you the energy you need for your workouts. Plus, everyone loves carbs!
I want to stress something I feel is very important. I can’t recommend lean bulking unless you’re following a solid workout routine that’s backed by a proven success rate. To me, that means a program where thousands of people are seeing measurable progress every 30 days, whether that’s significant fat loss, lean muscle growth, or a combination of both.
The reason for this is that from my own experience, to get effective results from a lean bulk, the workout routine must be working all the muscles of your body strategically, with tension and volume that builds over time, to ensure optimal muscle growth. This is the program I follow, and everyone I know in it has gotten amazing results.
So let’s get to the details of the diet for a lean bulk. But first, I’d like you to take a moment and think about whether your body is ready for it. Here’s how you’ll know.
Are You Ready For A Lean Bulk?
I’m asking this question because I’ve seen guys who thought they were ready for a lean bulk but it was clear that they still had a significant amount of fat to lose. You should only be lean bulking if you’re at your desired leanness or within 4 – 5 pounds of it.
The coaches for the home workout routine I follow are amazingly helpful. This is exactly how I knew I was ready for a lean bulk. In fact, I dropped 15 pounds and stripped off 3% body fat over the course of a few months following this program. When I sent in my before and after pics, they told me I was ready to lean bulk.
SELF CONSCIOUSNESS ABOUT GAINING WEIGHT
Now, I’ve been so self-conscious about my body for years, that it was hard for me to believe I was ready for that lean bulk. It’s not that I was ever overweight either. It’s just that I’ve had excess fat, on my belly, my chest, and love handles for as long as I can remember. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t eliminate these patches, until I completed 90 days of this workout program.
So, even looking at myself in the mirror after 3 months, and realizing that I completely transformed my body, I kept making excuses and convincing myself that I had to lose more fat. But the truth is that I was about as lean as I’d ever been. My man boobs, love handles, and extra fat patches were completely gone, and I had good muscle definition.
ASK SOMEONE FOR HONEST FEEDBACK
So, in a situation where you really don’t know, it’s best to ask others to give you honest feedback, preferably others who are also making transformations with their own bodies. We can be so overly critical of ourselves when we look in the mirror, it can be hard to really know whether we continue the deficit, stay at maintenance, or begin the lean bulk.
I got my answer from the coaches in my workout program. They’re brutally honest, and give you straight-up feedback on what your next steps should be.
So, the only next step was a lean bulk. If you aren’t sure what your body type is, you can take this physique quiz, and it’ll guide you to the correct workout program for your body type. I personally follow the Movie Star Body program, and it was a complete game-changer for me.
So, let’s get to the proper diet for a lean bulk.
The Proper Calories For A Lean Bulk
Whereas a 400 calorie deficit seems to be the sweet spot for most people trying to lose weight, a calorie surplus should start by you eating 200 calories beyond maintenance per day.
To calculate your maintenance calories, just take your body weight and multiply it by 15. The answer you get is how many calories you should eat per day in order to maintain your current weight.
So, if you add 200 to that number, you’ll be at a 200 calorie surplus, which is where I suggest you start for a lean bulk. This is exactly how I was instructed to begin.
LEAN BULK CALORIES EQUATION
Here’s an example of lean bulk calories for someone who weighs 150 lbs.
- 150 x 15 = 2,250
- 2,250 + 200 = 2,450
This person’s maintenance calories are 2,250. So, this person should begin eating an additional 200 calories per day, which would be 2,450. This person would be eating 200 calories beyond maintenance per day.
Proper Protein Intake For A Lean Bulk
Now, it’s also very important that you get enough protein in your diet, especially during the lean bulking phase. The goal is to gain weight in the form of lean muscle, so your body needs to be fueled with sufficient protein.
The protein calculation is simple. Take your weight and multiply it by 0.8. The answer you get is how many grams of protein you should be eating per day. This should be factored in along with your daily calorie intake.
PROTEIN INTAKE EQUATION
Here’s an example using someone who weighs 150 lbs.
- 150 x 0.8 = 120
So, according to the equation, this person should be eating 120 grams of protein per day. This should be included in the 2,450 lean bulk calories they’re eating daily from the previous section.
The Importance Of A Powerful Workout & Eating Program
To me, this part is critical to your success. Without a proper workout & eating routine, the weight you’ll be gaining from a lean bulk may very well come on in the form of fat. You don’t want that as it goes against the entire concept of lean bulking.
There are so many workout programs and diets out there, it makes my head spin. I honestly can’t speak for any of them. I have no idea whether they’re solid routines that actually do as they promise, or if they’re just sneaky companies trying to get you to fork over your hard-earned cash.
THE ONLY PROGRAM I KNOW THAT WORKS
The workout program I follow just works, and my 90-day results are proof of that. It includes a full bodyweight workout routine 3 days a week and it builds in tension and volume over the course of 3 months. It also dials in your eating plan, according to your specific goals.
Also, a huge component to burning unwanted fat from your body, comes from the walking protocol of the program. That’s right. I don’t do cardio. I just walk, and it will burn fat like nothing else.
That tension and volume of the workouts change every 30 days, to maximize muscle growth. The third month of the program really ramps things up to give your body what is called, “the shrink wrap effect”.
This “shrink wrap effect” is when your body really starts to tighten up and you begin to see some incredible definition and growth in your muscles. You get this by progressively increasing training volume over the course of 12 weeks.
If you begin lean bulking from the start, after determining that you’re ready, you may start to see these exact effects sooner, because the more calories you’re taking in, the bigger you’re going to get.
That said, the only programs I can recommend when it comes to getting a serious body transformation, are from Kinobody.
I personally follow the Movie Star Body program.
You can learn all about it here.
This is also the program that is getting some of the highest success rates of any Kinobody program, with countless success stories coming in every single day.
I may be moving into another Kinobody program soon, as the lean bulk works best with a gym routine utilizing free weights. I’m currently doing a hybrid workout at home combining bodyweight training with weights. But I have a feeling a transition to the gym isn’t too far off.
Click here to take a physique quiz to find out what kind of workout routine would be best for your body type.
Issues I Encountered On My Lean Bulk & How To Adjust Your Nutrition
As I mentioned earlier, calculating your lean bulk calories is a bit more involved than calculating a calorie deficit. See, when you use my calorie deficit calculation, it just works. You lose 4 – 5 pounds per month if you do the math ahead of time, and I’ve pretty much seen consistent results for everyone I know who followed it.
However, everyone’s body seems to react a little differently to lean bulking. I’ll give you an example of what happened to me and how I had to make adjustments to both my eating and workouts over time.
ISSUES I ENCOUNTERED WITH MY LEAN BULK
After I lost 15 pounds in 3 months from completing the home bodyweight routine, I chose to eat at maintenance calories for one month. I was a bit nervous to transition directly into a lean bulk after having been at a calorie deficit for 3 months that totally transformed my physique.
You’d be nervous too after burning off so much unwanted fat & getting toned, and suddenly you’re told to completely switch gears, and begin the process of gaining weight.
Now, here’s where things get interesting. As I was eating at maintenance calories, math would say that I’d stay at the same exact weight I was already at. However, I continued to lose weight.
INCREASING MY CALORIES
So, after a month of eating at maintenance calories, I did as the coaches instructed, and I bumped up my calories by 100 a day. Now, I think they actually instructed me to bump them up by 200 a day, but I was a bit nervous, so I started with an additional 100 beyond maintenance.
I continued to lose weight. So, after a month of that, I bumped them up another 200, to be at 300 calories above maintenance. This is when my body weight pretty much stayed the same for the next few months. My physique wasn’t really getting any bigger, and I wasn’t noticing too much of a change in muscle size either.
This is when I came to realize that if I’m lean bulking, I really need to be increasing the intensity of my workouts. So, I ordered a weighted vest, and started adding more tension to the routines I was already doing. And my body did start to get a bit more defined, but even with taking creatine, and increasing the intensity of my workouts, my weight only went up about a pound and stayed that way for a few months.
INCREASING MY CALORIES AGAIN
So, I told the coaches of my workout program that I’ve been at 139lbs – 140lbs for months now, and they saw my current picture and told me to add another 200 calories daily to my diet.
So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been eating at 500 calorie surplus. And finally, I AM gaining some weight, and I’m seeing it come on in the form of muscle after 2 weeks. I can see more definition in the mirror. I also switched up my workout routine to a hybrid version of what I was currently doing, and I’ve really increased the intensity of the workouts as well.
I’m at about 141lbs – 142lbs now, so at this rate, I should be gaining about 1 – 2 pounds monthly, and it seems for me that the right calorie surplus is about 500.
HOW SHOULD YOU ADJUST YOUR CALORIES ON A LEAN BULK?
So, I mention this because you may find that you’re not really making the weight gains you want to make at a 200 calorie surplus. So after a month, I suggest that you check-in and make adjustments as needed. Add another 200 calories, and see how your progress goes the following month.
This is assuming you’re following a solid workout & eating plan as I suggested earlier. Again, this is the one I follow. It’s done wonders for me, and the coaches are incredibly helpful at dialing in exactly what changes you need to be making month by month.
Diet For Lean Bulk – In Summary
This article was very much in-depth because I felt there was a lot to cover, and I want to make sure that you understand that diving into a lean bulk requires a bit more involvement than a calorie deficit. Also, you should really have a good grasp on whether or. not you’re a good candidate for a lean bulk.
Take this quiz here to find out your body type to determine what plan of action is best for you.
I’ve just recently taken my lean bulk to the next level, so I’m excited to see what it brings. I’ve shared with you just about everything I know up until this point, regarding the proper diet and exercise. you should do, to make it work for you so that you can gain 1 – 2 pounds per month of muscle.
The reason you don’t want to gain more than that is that in most cases, when people add too many calories to their diet, the weight gain comes on in the form of fat. So, the name of the game here is slow and steady testing, and you’ll find the right surplus for your lean bulk.
I hope you found this article to be helpful. If you have any questions at all regarding the lean bulk or the workout program I mentioned here, please let me know below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you so much for reading.