I’m sure many of you have set yourselves New Years Resolutions this January and top of that pile for most people will be to build some muscle without gaining fat, some call this clean bulking. I just call it ‘not using bulking as an excuse to look like a sloppy mess for the majority of the year.’ But clean bulking is more catchy, so we’ll use that term for the benefit of this article.
When it comes to fitness goals ‘clean bulking’ is one of the most challenging to achieve, simply because to gain muscle mass you need to be in a surplus of calories and many take these calories far too high, far too quickly.
When you increase the number of calories you consume, you increase the chances of adding more body fat. We all know someone who claims to of gained 10lbs of muscle in a month, but the reality is you’d be lucky to gain 1-2lbs of muscle a month (even less if you’re an experienced trainee).
With that being said, it is still possible to ‘clean bulk‘ and here’s how you can do it:
First, you must ensure you’re in a slight calorie surplus and that you’re consuming adequate protein (1g of protein per pound of body weight will do the trick).
Second, your workouts should consist of heavy, complex exercises targeting several muscle groups at once — think more squats, presses, rows, chin-ups and deadlifts and less leg extensions, wrist curls and triceps kickbacks. I’d recommend hitting each body part at least twice a week (depending on y1ur recovery capabilities).
Third, focus on getting strong in a number of different rep ranges, don’t just stick to the traditional 8-12reps for muscle building. Time under tension isn’t the only mechanism of muscle building.
Finally, every time you go to the gym, aim to do a little bit more than you did last time — add an extra pound or two to your weights, do one or two more reps or add another set. That way, you’re constantly challenging your body and forcing it to adapt, I’d recommend a log book for this.
Happy ‘Clean Bulking.’