Build Muscle While Staying Lean

Can You Build Muscle While Staying Lean?

Everyone knows you have to gain weight to build muscle right? Right! However, you don’t have to gain fat. In some cases you may not even have to gain weight. Sound crazy, maybe. In the excerpt below we see just how the body uses the calories we eat, and how to regulate so you can gain muscle but lose fat at the same time.

While people will debate this point until death – energy balance directly dictates weight gain and weight loss.

Your body CANNOT shed existing tissue and lose weight unless you consume FEWER calories than you burn. When you do this you force your body to use something other than the food you’re eating to fuel itself. You see – this is the only way it will have a reason to burn existing tissue.

And conversely your body CANNOT synthesize new tissue – be it muscle or fat – unless you consume MORE calories than you burn. When you do this you force your body to do something with that extra energy that you’re not burning. You see – this is the only way it will have a reason to add new tissue.

Now, there are exceptions to every rule, but it’s pointless to focus on these, because they are extremely rare. The only way to GUARANTEE consistent weight loss or weight gain is by manipulating your caloric intake.

Step 1: Eat Enough to Gain a Little Bit of Weight

So, given this concept: If you want to build muscle, you need to eat enough to gain weight. This way, your body has the excess energy it needs to synthesize new muscle tissue.

Now, at the same time, you need to be careful. Our bodies are only capable of synthesizing so much new muscle at a time. The exact rate of how quickly we can build muscle isn’t set in stone.

However it’s generally agreed upon that for natural lifters (who are NOT on steroids) the maximum muscle we can build is about half a pound per week.

When you’re new to lifting weights, you can build muscle faster. And the more muscle that you build, and the closer you get to your body’s natural limit, the slower that you can progress and build new mass.

So you should aim to gain roughly half a pound per week, or two pounds per month. Gain weight any faster and you’ll risk putting on unnecessary fat in the process. Any slower and you won’t build muscle at an optimal rate.

However, gaining weight at EXACTLY this pace is challenging. So I think anywhere from 1-3 pounds per month is an excellent range to shoot for.  Weigh yourself every two weeks, and if you’re not gaining enough weight then eat more, and if you’re gaining too much weight then eat less.

NOTE: I didn’t get into how much protein, carbs, and fats you should eat because it’s FAR less important than how many overall calories you’re eating. That being said – it’s best to eat a diet that has plenty of proteins, carbs, AND fats. Don’t skimp on any of them – they all play a role in being healthy and building muscle.
– via

Is Building Muscle and Staying Lean a Pipe Dream?

It sounds like it is, but it can be done. It’s true that not everyone can do this. It is possible to know how this will work for you. Here we read how to know whether it’s possible for YOU to build muscle and stay lean at the same time.

Who Can Burn Fat and Build Muscle Effectively and Who Can’t

You now know what your body is up against when you’re in a calorie deficit and why building muscle in a deficit is an uphill–and sometimes unwinnable–battle.

The good news, however, is that if you’re reading this article anxiously, you probably can build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

I say that because the people that can’t are experienced weightlifters that have several years of training under their belts and that have achieved a large portion of their genetic potential in terms of muscle growth.

And those guys and gals have usually learned the lessons of this article along the way and know that a traditional cutting, bulking, and maintenance approaches serve them best.

The main reason for this is as an advanced weightlifter, you have to fight tooth and nail for every pound of muscle you gain.

If you have 3 to 4+ years of proper weightlifting under your belt and have built your foundation of size and strength, the most muscle growth you can hope for (naturally) is about 5 pounds of muscle gain per year. And that’s men–women can expect about half of that.

People new to weightlifting, however, can benefit greatly from what we call “newbie gains.”

Simply put, when your body is relatively untrained, it’s going to be hyper-responsive to resistance training. So much so that the reduction in protein synthesis rates caused by a calorie deficit just isn’t enough to stop muscle growth. Thus, muscle can be built while fat is lost.

I’ve also seen these effects with people with some weightlifting experience but who have made very minimal progress. In fact, I’ve experienced it myself with my own body.
– via Muscle For Life

Is building muscle while losing fat a goal you have? Has this information given you something new to work with?