Lean Muscle Without Muscle Bulk
Today, the fitness industry is filled with different perspectives on how to accomplish everything from gaining muscle bulk to losing fat.
It seems for each topic about health and fitness, there are hundreds of different methods which have all led to the same result. However, many of these methods are misleading and are only accomplished through other extreme measures in addition to the method itself.
Gaining strength is no different, and it has become popularized that in order to gain strength, you need to bulk. Bulking is a strategy where you increase your weight in order to gain strength, and then cut the weight while maintaining the added strength.
However, this is a very misleading method, as in a bulking stage many people typically also gain fat. Then, many people find it difficult to cut after bulking and maintain their weight without ever losing the fat they put on. In many cases, bulking is not done properly and it does not lead to increased strength.
The truth is, there are many ways to gain strength without having to go through the thought and risks of bulking.
Adding Muscle Bulk
The biggest step to gaining strength lies in your exercises. It is important to set up a sustainable and enjoyable workout plan in order to maximize your gains at the gym while being able to stick to the plan for an extended period of time.
Many plans are intense and seem impossible at the start, so people don’t try them. The key is to begin to implement your plans slowly. If you are attempting to go from never going to the gym to going five days a week, you will most likely fail and regress to never going.
However, if you start by going to the gym two days a week, this is much more achievable. Then, once you have grown accustomed to going twice a week, you can begin to go three times, and so on. This way, you gradually increase your workout, and in turn, your strength increases with the added workouts while not adding unwanted muscle bulk.
Also, it is equally important to not overdo your workouts. Insufficient recovery and overactive cardio routines are two of the largest reasons for the lack of muscle bulk growth. If you go to the gym every day or work the same muscles every day, they are not getting the proper time to recover.
Muscles need this time to recover and repair the damage done to them when lifting the heavier weights, so days off for these muscles is essential. Also, when performing too much cardio, the gains from your workouts can be wiped out. Instead, try to stick to a cardio routine where you either perform the cardio before or well after your strength training.
This will allow you to maximize your muscle bulk gains at the gym while still incorporating cardio. Also, if possible, try less strenuous forms of cardio like walking or the stair climber, as these will be less damaging to your muscles and allow for better recovery from your strength sessions.
Diets to Increase Muscle Without Bulk
Possibly the most important part of gaining strength without bulking is dietary habits. It is possible to still get the necessary protein content needed to increase muscle bulk and strength without also increasing your carbohydrates and fats which will lead to gaining fat.
The key here is to incorporate protein into every meal and track how much you are taking in. To maximize strength without muscle bulk and growth, you need at least .75 to 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. For me, this would mean getting around 185 grams of protein to maximize muscle bulk and growth.
For some, they go even above this number in order to see improved results. This is a large protein total, and difficult to achieve without also largely increasing your fat and carbohydrate intake.
To maximize this protein intake without bulking, here are some important sources of protein to incorporate into your diet. First, whey protein is the most popular source of protein for after workouts and can truly help your gains.
By drinking a protein shake, you automatically get around 25 to 30 grams of protein with minimal carbs and fats. This also helps with muscle recovery and provides a filling source of protein after your workout.
After whey protein, meats are the other best source of protein. Lean meats such as ground turkey, chicken, and lean ground beef are the most effective ways to get a high protein count with fewer carbs and fats.
After this, eggs and egg whites both provide good sources of protein. With about 7 grams of protein in eggs and 5 grams in egg whites with 0 grams of fat, they can both help you accomplish your protein goals without adding fats and carbs.
Finally, there are various other sources of protein you can incorporate for snacks such as Greek yogurt, beef jerky, powdered peanut butter, and even high protein ice cream for dessert if you like. The key is to find what foods you like and look for ways to boost their protein content while reducing fat and carbs.
Exercise to Failure
The final most important factor in gaining strength is pushing yourself in your workouts. To maximize your strength, you need to always strive to lift more weight. It is only natural that if you are lifting more weight, your strength will improve.
Therefore, try to set goals to increase your weight every month if you are an experienced lifter or every week if you are new to lifting. Start with a comfortable weight you can perform in order to make sure you are using the proper form to target the muscle bulk you are improving, and then gradually and periodically increase this weight.
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5 Building Lean Muscle Without Muscle Bulk FAQ
1. How do I gain strength without muscle bulk?
a. Timing is everything. Protein consumption helps build lean body mass.
b. Recovery is the most important part of your workout.
c. Drink a protein shake before bed.
d. Consume protein during your workout.
e. Lose fat not muscle when you diet.
2. What is a good lean muscle mass?
Lean body mass is calculated as the difference between total body weight and body fat weight, or more simply, the weight of everything except the fat. The range of lean body mass considered to be healthy is around 70% – 90% with women being towards the lower end of the range and men higher.
3. What is the difference between lean muscle and muscle bulk?
People often use the terms “lean body mass” and “muscle mass” interchangeably, but they’re not the same. Lean body mass includes muscle mass, as well as bones and bodily fluid. Muscle mass is the size of your muscles.
4. Is it better to be lean or muscular?
Because getting bigger and stronger is harder to do and takes more time than it does to lose body fat. What’s more, having more muscle mass and strength provides a much bigger return on investment than just losing body fat.
5. Can you be skinny strong?
So, yes – you can have both – and you should strive to. It’s totally possible to be skinny and strong, and the benefits are plentiful.
In conclusion, the main aspects necessary to gain strength without muscle bulk are setting a consistent and sustainable plan, proper muscle recovery, increasing your daily protein intake, and having intense workouts. If you follow these four steps, it is inevitable you will see progress in your strength gains.
The progress you will see will be equal to if not better than the strength increase from bulking, without the hassle and risk of needing to constantly worry about bulking or cutting. Thank you for taking the time to review our post about gaining a strong body without obvious muscle bulk.
Please leave an honest review of how you like the exercises you try and if possible any changes you made that made a better workout experience. Did the program allow you to gain lean muscle with building muscle bulk?
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This article may give you more insight on building lean muscle the easy way.