There is often a stereotype that building muscle requires a massive calorie surplus which means excess body fat is also gained as part of the package deal. You’ve seen those body types, and now you have decided you do not want to be a victim of the “hard bulk”. Put your worries aside because we’re going to debunk the bulk myth so you can reap all the benefits of building muscle without the bulk!
What is lean bulking?
The goal of the lean bulk is to build lean muscle and minimise body fat gain. A lean bulk requires you to gain no more than 0.1-0.35kg of body mass per week. This requires close attention to be paid to both your training and nutrition protocols.
What are the benefits of lean bulking?
Here are some of the key advantages you gain by choosing a lean bulk over a dirty bulk. With a lean bulk, there is more of an emphasis on cardiovascular health and general wellness:
If your only variety is switching from the one exercise to another or smashing back a tonne of food, we understand a lack of motivation to hit the gym. By adding in some cardio with your weight training, you will vary your workouts every day. Alternate training upper and lower body on different days to progress training volume and add cardio after your workouts to keep your fitness levels up! This will not only help you avoid getting mentally bored but the variation helps your muscles recover and avoid hitting that dreaded plateau as well.
Weight training will help you exercise tendons and ligaments supporting your muscles that could otherwise tear or strain so you can attack your favourite activities or just daily exercise and actions without worry. Without the excess body fat, your body is in a healthier physical state for everyday life.
Challenging your workout routine by performing in a progressive manner can improve your cardiovascular health, which will boost your aerobic metabolism and crank up your fat burning abilities. This will help keep your body fat in check and increase your thermic capacity.
After some added weight training, you will notice an increase in your metabolism, no matter if you are male or female. This is a physiological effect known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC for short). During the post workout window, your metabolism is elevated as your body increases oxygen consumption to help return your metabolism back to homeostasis post workout. Combining hard resistance training and cardio with the right diet and you’ll be able to achieve both increases in lean muscle and decreases in body fat to help sculpt your dream body.
It can be hard to shed pounds, but resistance training can help you not only burn more fat, but additional weight training sessions to your week will result in increased lean muscle in less than a month (especially if you are a newbie). Even light weight strength training (at least >60% of 1RM) can be effective in building muscle, so be sure to start off light to avoid injury and strain, especially if you have been out of the game for a while.
Less body fat gains
By adapting to a lean bulk one of the major benefits is that there is a slower increase in body fat. Slow and steady weight gain is more sustainable, healthier and less stressful overall for our body systems. This can lead to more gains of lean muscle mass which is the overall objective.
When is it best to start a lean bulk?
Generally speaking, most people are either carrying a little bit too much unwanted mass or struggle to add quality mass to their body. The best time to start a lean bulk is when you are in an optimal physical state.
For men we recommend firstly cutting down (or bulking up to) to 10-15% body fat and for women 17-22% body fat, unless you are training specifically for a powerlifting or strongman competition. Once you have reached these more optimal levels of body fat, then you can commence a lean bulk. Unfortunately, if you start a lean bulk while your body fat percentage is too high, all you will do is add excess body fat onto your body.
Some authors/coaches recommend that the best time to bulk is during autumn/winter simply because these times of the year are generally when people are not going on holidays and the weather is cooler. We recommend the best time to start is NOW! If you are ready, then go for it!
How to lean bulk?
In this section we are going to explain how to do a successful lean bulk.
- Determine maintenance calories
The first step is to determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). To do this click here to go to a calculator (https://tdeecalculator.net/). All you need to do is enter your sex, age, height, weight and activity level. This will give you an estimate of your daily maintenance calories and is a rough estimate that will need to be re-measured in two weeks’ time. If you gained weight, reduce your intake by 200 calories per day, then re-test in another two weeks’ time. Once you have found your true maintenance calories, you are ready to move onto the next step.
- Add a small surplus
Now that you have your maintenance calories you need to add:
– 200 calories per day, if you are a beginner
– 100 calories per day, if you are an intermediate/advanced trainer
Because the surplus is so small, it is easy to offset it if you aren’t tracking calories 100% accurately. Instead of having a daily surplus, we recommend alternating between high and low calorie days.
High and Low Calorie Day Sample
- Monday: Training day (+250 calories)
- Tuesday: OFF (Maintenance calories)
- Wednesday: Training day (+250 calories)
- Thursday: OFF (Maintenance calories)
- Friday: Training day (+250 calories)
- Saturday: OFF (Maintenance calories)
- Saturday: OFF (Maintenance calories)
What are the best Scorpion Supplements to use while on a lean bulk?
Scorpion offers a wide range of sports supplements that can support you during a lean bulk. The top three products that we recommend are our Scorpion 100% Whey Protein, Scorpion Creatine Monohydrate and Scorpion Mass Attack.
Scorpion Mass Attack
Scorpion Mass Attack is a new species of lean mass gainer. Scorpion Mass Attack is one of the most calorie dense muscle growth formulas available today and is 100% high quality. Loaded with a full spectrum of desirable Amino Acids and creatine to aid muscle growth, recovery and increases in strength/power, Scorpion Mass Attack is the perfect lean mass gainer for individuals who need extra calories in their nutrition. https://scorpionsupplements.co.nz/products/scorpion-mass-attack-3kg-33-serves/
Scorpion 100% Whey Protein
Scorpion Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is an elite level, lean muscle builder and general health protein which is designed for those hard training persons and people looking to improve health and vitality. Derived from NZ grass fed cows, Scorpion WPC has a very high protein percentage (80% vanilla) which will deliver a full spectrum of desirable amino acids that will benefit your body. Blended into OUT OF THIS WORLD flavours (including 100% naturally sweetened options), Scorpion 100% Whey tastes amazing and mixes easily after a few shakes! Scorpion 100% Whey is the ultimate protein source to add into your nutrition to help boost your daily protein intake.
Scorpion Creatine Monohydrate
Scorpion Creatine Monohydrate supplies high quality 200 mesh pure micronised creatine for maximal absorption and effectiveness! Creatine Monohydrate is regarded as the most effective sports supplement ever developed due to its ability to assist athletes of any sporting code. Creatine’s popularity has soared over recent years as more and more athletes experience the amazing benefits of this super supplement. Creatine assists on all anaerobic levels; it is the first choice supplement for muscle growth and strength gains!