How To Bulk Up for Lean Muscle Gains


Fear not if your goal is to build muscle mass without gaining excess fat. There’s a proven strategy that works to add lean muscle to your frame. After all, what's the point of making the changes necessary to build muscle if there’s a layer of fat hiding your gains?  

Here, we will give you everything you need to bulk up, including meal plans, training principles, and other factors necessary for a jacked aesthetic. 

Food Choices To Bulk Efficiently

Here’s the good news: To bulk, you must eat a TON of food. 

Here’s the bad news: You must eat a TON of food. 

Trust us, sometimes force-feeding yourself calories isn’t as fun as it sounds. But mass doesn’t come from thin air; nutrition is pivotal to carrying more muscle on your frame.

Now, it’s inevitable that you’ll gain some fat with muscle. A solid rate of weight gain is between 0.5 (0.23 kg) and 1.0 (0.45 kg) pounds per week, which means eating enough fuel. A pound of muscle equals 3500 calories, so adding that much weekly is ideal. In other words, you must increase your daily caloric intake by 500 calories.

These extra 500 calories should be from protein sources. We’re looking at a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to maintain muscle. For bulking, 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight (in pounds) is the minimum. If you weigh 180 pounds (81.65 kg), say hello to 270 grams (9.52 ounces) of protein daily.

Use Protein and Mass Gainers to Bulk Up

Typical animal protein – lean beef, chicken, seafood, dairy – will get you close to the needed amount to fuel your body for massive muscle gain properly. However, you might want to try a mass gainer supplement like Mutant Mass. 4 scoops has 1100 calories and 56 grams of protein, making it an effective source of overall nutrition.

As for carb and fat sources, opt for high-calorie choices. Complex carbohydrates such as starches and fiber are terrific in small portions. Simple sugars such as fruit are a great choice before or during a workout since they digest fat. All fats are calorically dense, so use healthy oils for dressings and cook with butter. 

Lastly, break up the calories into multiple meals. Five or six daily sit-downs filled with plenty of calories and nutrition will bulk up your body quickly.

Andrea Shaw

Bulking Training

Hypertrophy is the name of the game to achieve a successful bulk. As much growth as possible. That means two things: volume and progressive overload.

High Volume Training for Bulking

Let’s tackle volume first. You’ll want to train four or five times weekly, stimulating the muscles enough to trigger human growth hormone without over-fatiguing the body. Rest plenty in the interim between training sessions. But you do as much as possible when you’re in the gym. Keep rest periods between sets short, and get to muscle failure. You should be a rag doll by the time you leave. 

For each body part, 14-18 sets per week is a quality range, with reps going over 10 each time, going close to failure per set.

Take the chest, for example. You can do four sets of incline bench press and three sets of pec deck flies on Monday, then three sets of decline dumbbell bench press, three sets of cable crossovers, and three sets of plate presses on Thursday. Sixteen total sets, roughly 200 reps, and you brought your chest to full fatigue two separate times.

Progressive overload for bulking

As for progressive overload, when you consistently hit 16 or more reps on all sets of an exercise, increase the weight by 5-10 pounds and return to the 10-15 rep range. Continue to raise the reps and weight. Pairing this with a bunch of volume (and a bunch of food) will get you an additional 15-20 pounds within a five-month period. 

Eat more, lift more. There’s more to it than that, but it’s the foundation upon which your bulk will be worthwhile.

Article by Terry Ramos