What is Lean Bulking?
Lean bulking is a healthier approach to the classic bulking season most bodybuilders or seasoned gym-goers go through. A lean bulk can help you achieve your goals to gain weight without having to consume a large amount of unhealthy calories. Though some may aspire to just gain weight by any means necessary, a lean bulk is perfect for those who wish to remain health conscious during their bulk.
What is a Lean Bulk?
A common bulk is a bodybuilder activity where one consumes a substantial amount of calories in order to pack on mass. Then, the individual works out in order to convert the weight into muscle. Traditionally, this is how many people bulk. The problem with this is an unhealthy diet can often have adverse health effects. Additionally, many people tout that it is far harder to lose the weight and build muscle than it is to gain the weight in the first place.
In comparison, following a lean bulk meal plan prioritizes health and building muscle while ensuring you get all the calories you need and then some. In simple words, a lean bulk diet is a matter of eating primarily foods that target creating muscle mass from the start, rather than just eating any food that adds any type of mass such as fat. Whereas a regular bulk entails adding on any weight, including fat, a lean bulk aims to minimize the amount of fat gained in favour of consuming nutrient rich food with the specific goal of gaining solely muscle.
Benefits of Lean Bulking
A healthy diet has many benefits for the body. By eating clean, the body has more energy to face the day. This can be essential when attending the gym regularly, as good energy is vital to a good workout. Eating unhealthily can leave you feeling groggy and lethargic, which can bleed into your cutting season and decrease the quality of your gym trips. Though a bulk where you eat unhealthily and as you would like may seem more appealing at first, in the long term the lethargic effect makes it harder to lose the weight or convert it into muscle mass. On the other hand, a clean bulk meal plan where you focus on targeting muscle creating from the beginning may be more difficult to maintain at the start, especially when you have cravings for food that may be tastier but more on the unhealthy side, it will be easier in the long run especially once you start working out or start a cutting season.
An unhealthy diet can also have long term effects. Though you may feel secure because exercising it off is considered healthy, it does not mean the junk food you consume may not necessarily catch up to you eventually. Additionally, following a lean bulk diet ensures you have to do your research to fill every food group and do what’s best for your body. Other forms of bulking which involve just eating any food that will give you more weight are more likely to be poorly researched and have adverse effects on your body. By following a set bulking plan with a set goal to ensure health first and foremost, your chances of doing something unhealthy and mistakenly harming your body are lower.
Lean bulking has benefits for your body on the inside and out. The focus on one’s body not only aids your outside by giving you a better canvas to work on once your workouts start, but also improves your energy on the inside. As mentioned before, an unhealthy diet can have adverse effects on how you feel, such as leaving you groggy. Lean bulking can ensure you have the energy and right mindset to face the day and the most intense of workouts.
Risks of Lean Bulking
With any diet or meal plan, there can be risks. Many diets have the issue of ensuring the individual is consuming enough calories. Since the main idea of lean bulking is eating a surplus of calories in order to get larger, the risks of undereating are a bit lower. However, to be sure it is a good idea to plug your weight and goals into any calculator or fitness app with a calculator to ensure you are consuming the right amount of calories.
There is also the issue of balancing. In aiming for muscle, it might be evident that one wants to focus on consuming enough protein. However, that does not mean it is okay to neglect other food groups. When undergoing a lean bulk, it is important to ensure you’re balancing your food groups and not skewing too hard towards just eating protein. The idea of lean bulking means ensuring your calories in healthy ways, not just your protein. Eating just chicken breast because it’s healthy will get no one anywhere. Instead, it is more a matter of eating chicken breast and a well balanced salad over fried chicken and fries.
How to Lean Bulk
The most important part of lean bulking, or any bulk for that matter, is understanding how to gain weight, whether it be muscle or fat. To bulk, the most vital point is to ensure you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning. It’s important to keep your expectations in check as well. Instead of gorging yourself to gain mass, ensure you’re going at a steady pace, slowly increasing your calorie intake to make it easier on the body. From there, the only remaining goal is to create a clean bulk meal plan that works for you and is nutritiously balanced. Luckily, the following tips can help create a plan where you can lean bulk as best you can to approach your bodybuilding goals.
Tips for Lean Bulking.
A starting point for creating a balanced meal can be forming a centrepiece for your meal or meal plans. This can be the most important part, such as the protein. From there, you can work around it. If you know you enjoy a certain cut, such as chicken thighs for example, you may have an easier time formulating a meal around what sides you know match chicken thighs well. Or, if you’re a big fan of carbs, centre your meals around that. Even if you don’t like protein and fruits or vegetables all that much, picking a protein and vegetable you think would accompany your favourite carb well might make it easier.
Creating substitutions you enjoy is also an important part of ensuring you feel motivated to eat all the calories you need during a lean bulk. Whereas someone else bulking may have the luxury of gorging themselves on cake, it would be ill-advised to do so and create so much fat during a lean bulk. Instead, if you know you have a sweet tooth, find sweet things you enjoy that are also healthy. For example, instead of consuming 400 calories of cake, let yourself have a dessert of fruit salad. You can enjoy a much larger serving and still gain the same amount of calories in a healthy manner.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.