Revenge of the Lean Bulk

In a gym far far away, a group of mythical creatures who wore extremely small vest and their hats the wrong way round,  came up with a term that no one had ever heard of, it was ground breaking, it was going to take over the world, it was going to make them rich!

Lean gains or lean bulking was created.

The mythical creatures took lean bulking to gyms all over the world it was a complete invasion. Before you knew it there were people all over the world believing they could put on tons of muscle while at the exact same time, cut their body fat and get completely shredded.

Who was going to stand in their way?

Who was going to stop this invasion?

The revenge of the lean bulk was well underway!

That was our attempt of doing a Star Wars style intro.

How did we do?

In all seriousness if you gave all gym goers one wish. I guarantee you the majority of them would say

“I want to get bigger but lose fat at the same time”

It is basically the holy grail of gym training to build muscle but at the exact same time lose body fat.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this specific goal is extremely hard to achieve and actually the goals contradict themselves which I will go onto later.

There are only very few circumstances that you can actually achieve this very specific goal which again I will cover in this blog so keep reading people.

In this blog we will explain:

When to start bulking.

How to bulk intelligently.

How long a bulk should last.

Why for the majority of us lean bulking is BULLSHIT!

Enjoy and let the GAINZ be with you.

Start lean end huge!

Before we go into the real specific's of gaining and bulking a question we get ALL the time is shall I cut or bulk?

This answer depends on how lean you are right now. There are a number of reasons why you are in a far better position to start a bulk when you are leaner. The main one being the amount of muscle you can gain in relation to your body fat levels.

For example if you start bulking at around 15% body fat your rate of muscle gain is going to be a lot slower than say if you started your bulk at 12% body fat.

Also who really starts bulking at 15% body fat?

Our advice to you is get to around 10-12% body fat and then start your bulk, if you do this you are setting yourself up for a very successful bulking season.

 Can you really lean bulk?

This brings us onto a bit of myth busting and why lean bulking cannot work for the majority of us.

One of the main overriding principles of building muscle and getting bigger is that you HAVE to be in a calorie surplus, which means you have to be eating more calories than you are burning for a prolonged period of time.

The result of being in a calorie surplus is weight gain, it comes with the territory. Obviously with intelligent nutrition and going to the gym multiple times a week and lifting the iron. The majority of this weight gain we want to come from muscle gain, but it is near on impossible to avoid any fat gain what so ever.

So my argument would be how on earth do you lean bulk how can you be in a calorie surplus and not put on ANY fat. You would have to have some amazing natural genetics, just like the mythical creatures at the start of this blog.

That is why when people or other personal trainers say this person gained 5kg of muscle while losing fat and being on a small amount of calories.

Is either bullshit, drug use, or they are a complete beginner.

So that brings us onto who can actually lean bulk and it is a very small majority of people. There are 3 very specific situations in which someone could build muscle and lose fat at the exact same time.

1. They are a complete newbie – Someone who has never really touched a barbell in their life and they are just starting out in the gym. This individual is in a position to gain a significant amount of muscle and lose bodyfat at the same time.


2. After a layoff – Someone who has had to take a significant period of time away from the gym for whatever reason. When that individual returns to the gym, again they are in a position to gain muscle and lose fat at the exact same time.


3. Drug use – This one is self-explanatory. Someone who is taking steroids for breakfast is in a position to gain muscle at a much faster rate, plus recover a lot quicker and lose fat all at the same time.


If you do not fit into any of the above categories, then I am afraid lean bulking or whatever they call it is not really an option for you. Sorry! Just being honest, don’t shoot the messenger.

So how do you bulk?

So now I have shattered your dreams and said that you cannot get ridiculously huge and shredded and the same time.

What do you do?

Well hold your horses because there is a way you can get into absolutely dream shape and build a ton of muscle at the same time. But it may take a bit of time but it will definitely be worth it!

First of all you want to get into the bulking mind-set, decide that you want to bulk and grow muscle and take a good 3 months to achieve that goal.

Muscle does not grow on trees and it will take much more than 2 weeks and a few mass gain shakes to pack on the mass. You need to give it time.

So now you’re in the zone, the next 3 months are dedicated to building muscle you’re ready to start gaining!

You need to set your calorie surplus, because remember you cannot gain muscle without this. A very simple and easy way to set this amount is to take your maintenance calories and add 10% to this number.

For example if your maintenance calories are 2,500 you would simply add 250 calories and your starting calories would be 2,750. Now this number is dynamic and it will change throughout your gaining season depending on your progress.

You can then monitor your weight and see where you go. Now remember weight fluctuations happen all the time, so it is a good idea to take a few readings and then take a weekly average. If after 2 weeks your weekly average has not increased what so ever this is a sign to increase your calories further and repeat the process.

How long should the bulk last?

Now you are in the right frame of mind to start bulking and you know how to increase your calories in an intelligent way.

How long should you continue your quest of getting huge?

Well like we mentioned earlier in this blog, 3 months seems to be the sweet spot. It gives you a considerable amount of time to focus on building muscle.

In that time it is a perfectly reasonable goal to pack on 6lb of new muscle. So this works out at about 2kg of muscle gain a month. This rate of muscle gain will ensure the majority of your weight gain is coming from muscle not fat.

Now this is not the same as the headline grabbing 20lb of lean muscle in 6 weeks that you may seem floating around. That is because the majority of these headlines are complete and utter nonsense! If a natural trainer was gaining weight at that rate, the majority of it would be from fat not muscle.


Let me tell you this as well if you manage to gain 6lb of new muscle in a bulking season that is an incredibly successful bulking season and I tip my hat to you.

Imagine if you repeated that bulking season again that is 12lb of muscle in one year which is awesome! Especially for someone who is an intermediate trainer.

Wrapping Up

Bottom line is “lean” bulking is not an option for the majority of us. Yes in some circumstances it can be possible, but that is the minority.

You would be much better of doing what people all around the world have been doing for decades and seeing great results. That is having a dedicated period of time where you look to gain muscle and a dedicated period of time where you look to lose bodyfat and get shredded.

This notion that you can build significant amounts of muscle while losing body fat at the exact time, does not make any sense apart from in the circumstances we laid out earlier in this blog. These people that constantly say that they are building muscle and losing fat at the exact same time are probably lying through their teeth especially if they have been training for a few years now.



But if you do want to build a shit ton of muscle in 8 weeks.

Then here at SJ Fitness we have just the thing for you.

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