Lean Bulk Explained - Minimize The Fat Gain
"1 lb of strawberries contains about 300 calories, and this donut is about 250 calories - what do you choose?"
Jackie Masete is a nutritionist and bodyfitness (figure) athlete from Sweden.
We join her grocery shopping as she explains her approach to and provides helpful tips for a "lean bulk". A lean bulk means a clean bulk where you're trying to gain as much muscle as possible, with as little fat gain as possible.
When bulking the goal is to increase the caloric intake to promote muscle growth. A lean bulk focuses on a slow weight gain where the protein intake stays somewhat the same and the additional calories mainly comes form carbs.
A lean bulk is a clean bulk and many people might refer to it as reversed dieting. Keep in mind that to lose fat is not a focus when bulking. While the goal is to gain muscle, naturally some fat will be gained when you eat more calories than you spend.
Jackie's Lean Bulk Explained
A lean bulk is the opposite of the classic "dirty" bulk where people eat as much as possible of whatever they can to get as much excessive calories as possible. In that situation your body automatically gets in a caloric surplus, the question is though, how much caloric surplus do you actually need?
There has been research showing that it is beneficial for a bodybuilder to NOT gain too much fat off-season. The leaning down phase will take much longer time with more fat to loose.
I am an advocate of lean bulk. It is actually healthier and it puts more focus on getting the right macro nutrients. If you compare your bulk phase to the diet for leaning out, you'll probably keep the protein the same, eat a bit more fat, and increase the carbs.
As a fitness athlete it is always nice to keep some form of physique and shape that you might actually like to during the off-season, instead of feeling like you're a totally different person.
I'd like to put some extra emphasis for you guys to focus on eating your carbs. Rice, pasta, potatoes, fruits etc. are your friends. And don't be afraid of eating a lot of food. It's very important for us as fitness people to not be afraid of food and to eat enough, but you don't have to go crazy and eat everything you see.
Excessive eating without restriction may be fun short term, but for long term physical and mental health as well as fitness wise and with future diets and competitions in mind, it might be more sustainable to find a balanced approach with a slightly increased caloric surplus AKA "lean bulk". I can definitely recommend this.
I always try to buy the vegetables that are on campaign/sale. Eating large amounts of vegetables makes me feel full and satisfied so I include quite a lot of them in my diet. This is also important for micro nutrients and to cover all aspects of nutrition.
One of my favorite fat sources is salmon. It is something we all should include in our diets because it contains quite a bit of Omega-3 which is hard to find in foods (walnuts is an example of a non-fish food that contains Omega-3).
I also always add some oil to my food. I typically use olive oil, but sometimes also sesame oil. I just drizzle it over my rice or potatoes or whatever I'm eating. It is very easy to add to the food. Other fat sources could be avocado, coconut oil, or whatever you like.
Since I am doing a lean bulk I am increasing my carbs more and more and I am having so much fun with it! I am feeling the strength gains in the gym and I feel way more energized. I currently eat about 300 grams of carbs per day and I am working to further increase this. While on a diet I only get approximately half of this.
Jackies Typical Day On Lean Bulk
Jackie trains fasted but she might eat a rice or corn cake during the workout if she feels extra hungry, she usually take Creatine and Citrulline Malate prior to workout.
The rice or corn cake will add to the calorie intake of course, but when doing a lean bulk, adding carbs with moderation is Jackies approach. Many people like drinking lean protein shakes but check out Jackies typical day below, and you might find that your nutrition needs can be satisfied with food only.
9 am Breakfast
Oats with Coconut Oil and Sweetener
12 pm Lunch
Chicken Breast or Salmon
Rice, potatoes or pasta
Casein Protein Powder (casein protein will make you feel full longer)
Frozen Fruit or Berries
6 pm Dinner (same as lunch)
Chicken Breast or Salmon
Rice, potatoes or pasta
Usually my pm snack is fruit, like Watermelon. I like watermelon because it is very voluminous so you can eat a lot of volume and get few calories. Otherwise I may eat corn or rice cakes with some cottage cheese on top. Bananas are also good to keep at home when trying to increase the carbohydrate intake.
A few other takeaways:
Most people think that pasta is bad for them, but the fun fact is that pasta actually contains the same amount of carbs and calories that rice does. Switch it up!
Apples and oranges have a high satiety index. This means they'll make you feel full faster, with less calories. If you have problems feeling hungry often, try to add an apple or an orange.
Products featured in this video:
Interested in seeing more of Jackie? Check out Jackies Shoulder Workout For Better Delts.