My dear men, you are probably aware of the term bulking and have dreamt about how to bulk up without gaining fat aka lean bulk up. You might have been cramming down meals after meals of chicken breasts and rice or drinking that mass gainer shake that helped your ‘friend’ gain 10 kgs in 2 months.

Every time you head to the gym, you pack up on those extremely weighted workouts to build up ‘quick mass’ and this is all where the problem starts. You begin to develop fat alongside those muscles.

What is also called ‘dirty bulk’ means gaining fat alongside muscles when you are trying to bulk up and happens to a lot of bodybuilders who, in a fit to gain mass, ignore the fat quotient they are gaining, and later have a tough cycle cutting up on that fat.

bulk up

The opposite of it is ‘clean bulk’ or lean bulk which means gaining muscles without adding on the fat quotient. It is a more efficient way to build muscle mass without focusing on fat. Although this process takes a long time to show effective results and doesn’t provide a quick fix, it saves you the trouble of going through a cut. So if you are looking for some efficient ways on how to bulk up without gaining fat, we have got you covered.

1. Eat in a caloric surplus but avoid extra fat: 

Eating in a caloric surplus is one of the first steps towards gaining muscle mass, but what most people tend to do is eat the wrong proportions of the elements. They tend to hog on unnecessary fat which is evil! They tend to increase the portion of carbohydrates and fats in their meals, which is good only to a certain extent.

Beyond that, it is unnecessary fat. When trying to do clean bulk, eat in a caloric surplus which is higher in protein and whole grains which tend to keep you full for a long time. Take only a certain amount of fat from healthy sources and avoid unsaturated fat.

2. Include protein in every meal:

 Protein is the major muscle building component you include in your diet while gaining muscle. It has amino acids that promote muscle growth and is not stored in your body like carbohydrates or fats. Keeping that in mind, try to add protein as much as it is required according to your body weight in every meal you eat in a day for beginners and you will be good to go.

3. Include little cardio in every workout session:

 Excessive cardio can stunt muscle growth and is not recommended if you are trying to bulk up. But indulging in a light cardio session, maybe in a form of warm-up, is a good way to get your heart beating for the session and shed that extra body weight while you get ready for gaining those muscles. Lucky for you, it also promotes cardiovascular health. 

4. Add butter and nuts in your meals:

 Full of protein and dense in calories, nuts are a proven ingredient to boost your caloric intake and incorporating them is not as complex as you think it is. They might prove to be a great replacement for those light snacks you have that are ‘sugar-free’. Nuts and butter contain healthy fats and are rich in protein making them the OG ingredient of your bulking journey.

Probably having apples with peanut butter or having a toast with roasted cashews and cashew butter can add to your protein intake without adding the fats. Alternatively, you can mix a handful of nuts like cashews, almonds, cardamom and apricot in a small bag and have your calorie-dense snack anywhere on the go. Fun fact- you can have them with yoghurt too! Because when it comes to gaining muscle, nuts can provide a wholesome meal.

5. Perform compound lifts over isolated lifts: 

Compound lifts are your go-to best friends when trying to build mass because they engage several muscle groups at a single time and thus initiate hormone secretion, whereas, isolated lifts target only a single muscle group like glutes, shoulders, core etc. Heavier reps combined with intense engagement in workouts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press etc can do wonders to your body.

6. Use Carb Timings To Maximize Workouts: 

Workouts build the major chunk of your bulking journey and carbs are the source of your fuel, so prioritise carbs! Before you start training, hog on starchy carbohydrates as your pre-workout dose to facilitate slow release of energy to keep you active for long. It is advised to consume carbohydrates higher in the glycemic index to give you the instant energy you need.

7. Get that much-required rest-day:

 More than a hack, this is a necessity and the truth. In the fit of overtraining, you might develop catabolism which can stunt muscle growth. People generally tend to push themselves extra hard on that training when they are trying to ‘clean’ bulk. What they do not tend to understand is that their bodies need rest too and the muscles need time to regenerate.

 Do not go hard on yourself and reduce the frequency of your workouts if needed. Include a minimum of 1 rest day in your weekly workouts because rest is as necessary for the body as is food. 

8. Indulge in cheat meals:

You tend to go strict on your favourite food when you are on a diet to gain mass. You are not allowed to hog on to that extra sugar, but you should relax your heart on the days you need to. Remember that it is okay to have that ice-cream if you want to.

Dear men, this was the list of not so exhaustive yet inclusive hacks on how to bulk up without gaining fat. So, leave those traditional tips and rules on bulking up. It is possible and easy to gain muscle without fat, and if you are on your journey to bulk up, remember to ace the ‘clean bulk’ and not the ‘dirty bulk’ because health comes above all!