Ok, you want to get big. No surprises there. But you don’t want to do it like all the others – you’re not a “bulker”. You have no interest in getting fat in the muscle-building process.
What’s the point of putting in so much time and effort in the gym just to look overweight?
So anyway, you and I are kindred souls. I stay lean all year and I still add muscle. I only need a few weeks to cut before summer to get ripped. So here’s my 6 keys to packing on lean muscle all year and not getting fat. The first 2 points are MAJOR and you need to understand them first.
6 KEYS TO BUILDING MUSCLE WITHOUT GETTING FAT
(1) KNOW WHAT REALISTIC GAINS LOOK LIKE!
Alan Aragon created a great guide for realistic gains for the natural lifter:
- NEWBIE – 1 to 1.5% of total body weight per month
- INTERMEDIATE – 0.5 to 1% of total body weight per month
- ADVANCED – 0.25 to 0.5% total body weight per month
Let’s look at an example. A newbie at 170lbs could gain up to 2.5lbs muscle per month for the first few months. That’s a lot!
An advanced athlete at 170lbs could gain between 0.4 – 0.85lbs a month – and that’s if he’s doing everything perfectly (diet and training).Click here to see what realistic monthly muscle gains are Click To Tweet
To make sure you really are maximizing gains, download my totally free 3-day and 5-day/wk THT training routines; just enter your details below for immediate download. It will tell you the best exercises to use, the best rep ranges, the right number of sets to do, the best training frequency – everything you need. You’re about to get the best gains of your life…
(2) 1lb OF MUSCLE IS ONLY 600 CALORIES
Point 2 is to simply make you aware that there are only 600 Calories in a pound of muscle. Not that much. It’s not like a pound of fat containing 3500 Calories. Muscle is mostly water. You need to know this to understand point 3.
(3) EAT 200-300 ABOVE MAINTENANCE
No-one needs 500 surplus calories a day. That will build a nice belly, not nice biceps. You now know what realistic gains are and that 1lb of muscle is mostly protein and water at 600 Calories. Yes you need calories/energy for recovery and hormonal reasons also, but not 500 above maintenance every day (3500/week).
If you eat that much, you’ll get fat. Everyone who does it gets fat. Really shouldn’t be surprise. Food “facilitates” muscle growth. It doesn’t cause it.
(4) GET YOUR TARGET DAILY PROTEIN
…and if anything, overeat it (don’t undereat it). Eat 1g protein per pound of muscle for maximum gains.
Yes meta-analysis studies put the figure at about 0.86 per pound, but that’s an average figure and you might have better genetics. Taking in 1g/pound gives you certainty that you are gaining maximally. Get yourself a good whey (US whey / UK whey) to help you reach your targets. Take 40g post-workout.
Also see my recent post where overeating protein in large quantities did not contribute to fat gains at all! Pretty exciting stuff.
NOTE: I put together a short “10 BEST PORTABLE PROTEINS” guide that you’ll love. Being away from home doesn’t mean you can’t get your protein in. It’s easy with my handy guide.
Just enter your details below to get it immediately (don’t worry, I operate a zero spam policy)
(5) GET YOUR MACROS RIGHT
Once you know to eat 200-300 Calories above maintenance…and you know to get 1g protein per pound of body weight, then…
The rest of your calories will come from good carbs and fats. If you need 2800 Calories and 200g protein (200 x 4 = 800 Calories from protein), that’s 2000 Calories to come from fats and clean carbs. That’s all you have to do.
P.S. I know that putting together a diet for mass gains or getting shredded abs can be a pain in the butt, especially if you are new to this – that’s why I offer a service where I will do all the tough ground work for you.
You probably don’t know how many calories you need, or how many grams of protein, carbs or fat you need (based on your personal stats)…BUT I DO. Then I can take these numbers and create an exact meal plan for you to hit those numbers spot on! You’ll know what foods to eat and even when to eat them. All you have to do…is do it. No thinking involved. If you’d like me to take care of this for you, see the Get Me Shredded option on my Coaching Page here.
(6) LIFT ALL YEAR-ROUND
This kinda blows my mind. There are guys that take periods OFF lifting. I think I’d die lol. I just couldn’t do it.
Sometimes they just try out different modes of training. I get emails all the time to this effect. “Mark, I did p90x for a while, but now I’m ready to get back at it”. Or, “I took up swimming for a few months”.
Look, yes you are moving your body – I’ll give you that. But you are not creating intense muscular contractions. And when you don’t…
Your muscles will shrink. Bank on it.
In technical terms it’s called muscle atrophy (the reverse of hypertrophy/growth). Other modes of training are simply not intense enough to tell your body that it needs to keep all its muscle…and it will begin to atrophy.
Additionally, a weight training session can increase your metabolic rate for 36-48hrs aafter finsihing – no other mode of training can do this (because the recovery and repair of broken muscle fibers).
So you’ll start to get fatter and lose muscle tissue. Not a good look. Lift all year, guys!
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