Lean Bulking Diet Plan

Have you recently reached your goal weight, and now you want to build lean muscle? Or maybe you’re someone who is naturally on the thin side and you want that sculpted look you see over and over again on all the fitness sites, but it seems nearly impossible.

Whatever your reason, there are some important things you’ll need to know so you can get headed in the right direction!

Most people think that if you push heavy weights in the gym, do little cardio and eat lots of protein that you’ll transform yourself into a ripped beast or a beautiful unicorn overnight – not entirely true. Building muscle, similar to losing weight, all comes down to a science. Calorie control, training, timing and consistency are going to be the four things you’re going to want to focus on – day in and day out, on weekends, training days, rest days and every day in between. Every body is different, but the things that I’m going to mention below are steps that any walk of life can do to reach that goal body, without gaining a lot of fat along the way.

If you’re ready to start gaining muscle, and not fat, then read on and take notes!

1. The first thing I’d recommend you to do is to find out YOUR PERSONAL BMR. Click here to get your BMR. Once you find out the number of calories your body needs to maintain your current weight, I want you to add in no more than 200 calories each day to that bottom number. To grow muscle, your body will need more calories than you burn in a day. You should expect to gain a half pound to one pound each week. If you’re not gaining, or you’re gaining too much, adjust your calories accordingly, and slowly.

2. Keep a food journal. I’m a firm believer in food journals. It’s a tool I used when I first got into fitness, and it’s what keeps me on track still to this day. How detailed you want to be is entirely up to you. I like to write down the time of day I ate, what I ate, the portion size (6oz., 1/2 cup, etc.), and the macro-nutrients (calories, fat, carbs and protein). This way I can refer back at the end of the week and see where I can do better, if needed. Another great tool is an app called MyFitnessPal. All you need to do is plug in the food you eat, and quantity, and it does the rest for you.

3. Consume 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound that you currently weigh. Example: I weigh 108 pounds, so I aim for at least 110 grams of protein, all the way up to 162 grams each day. Good choices of lean proteins include eggs, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, steak and lean ground beef. And don’t forget whey and casein protein too!

4. Don’t be scared of carbohydrates and healthy fats when your goal is to build muscle. When it comes to carbohydrates try to eat majority of your carbs in your first four meals, leaving your fats for your evening meals. Carbs are the most mismanaged nutrient of all the macro-nutrients. While they have the ability to be stored as extra body fat, they are also a crucial and a vital part of the equation when building muscle. The best carbohydrates to choose from are things like oatmeal, grits, brown rice, Ezekiel bread, quinoa and fibrous veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli and asparagus. Stay far away from processed carbs and processed junk that come out of a bag or boxes like chips, pretzels and crackers.

5. Do SOME cardio when lean bulking. By some I mean 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week – that’s it! By doing this you’ll maintain cardiovascular health, which improves the hearts ability to pump blood and increases oxygen uptake into cells. Weight training can be aerobically taxing, and therefore, having an efficient, strong heart will allow you to push harder – and heavier weights in the gym. More weight = bigger muscles!

6. Make breakfast and your post-workout meals your biggest meals. By doing this your body will immediately use food for fuel and replenish your energy stores. When you wake up in the morning your muscles are craving nourishment. Sleeping for 6-8 hours, essentially fasting, can waste away precious muscle. Start your day off right by consuming a small amount of carbs, 1/4 cup of berries and a protein shake within one hour of waking.

My top 5 supplements for muscle growth!

1. Creatine – take 2-5 grams immediately before your workout with complex carbs, and another 2-5 grams post workout with fast digesting carbs.

2. Whey and Casein protein – take 20-25 grams pre and post workout.

3. BCAAs (I can’t live without this!) – take 5 grams pre workout, intra workout and before bed.

4. Glutamine – 2-5 grams upon waking, 2-5 grams post workout, 2-5 grams before bed.

5. CLA – 4 grams daily: 2 grams in the morning and 2 grams at night.

 

Example diet (depending on your caloric needs):

Meal 1

1/4 cup of complex carbs

1/4 cup of fruit

1 scoop of protein

Meal 2

1/3 cup of complex carbs

4 egg whites

Meal 3

1 small piece of fruit (no bananas)

15 almonds

Meal 4

4oz of chicken breast, turkey breast or lean red meat or 5oz of fish or shrimp

4oz sweet potato

Meal 5

4oz of chicken breast, turkey breast or lean red meat or 5oz of fish or shrimp

1/2 cup of complex carbs

Salad with olive oil and vinegar

Meal 6

4oz of chicken breast, turkey breast or lean red meat or 5oz of fish or shrimp

unlimited vegetables

2 Comments

  1. Rose on October 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Why, no bananas?

    • Christina on September 1, 2016 at 12:08 am

      Bananas, especially ripe ones, have tons of sugars. Unlike berries, which are lower in sugar and calories.

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