can you build muscle without gaining fat

The magical muscle fairy once said:

“You shalt develop that lean body with absolutely no trouble at all. Looking great is incredibly as long as you buy all my products and supplements. Plus personal coaching for 90 weeks.

Follow me and you shalt achieve your perfect body with no fat gain whatsoever. This I promise thee!”

No, the magical muscle fairy doesn’t exist. But if it did, it would probably look like The Rock in Toothfairy (a movie that I refuse to ever see).

Here’s the deal:

Fat is a part of life. If your goal is to build muscle and add mass to your body, you will experience some fat gain.

This isn’t something to be scared of. As long as you understand how to cut weight and burn fat on a weekly basis, it isn’t a big deal to add a bit of fat during a bulk.

It’s only a problem when you don’t know how to lose weight.

You Will Gain Fat On A Muscle Building Program

Okay so first things first, bro (I call girls “bro” all the time so if you’re a chick reading this, don’t think I’m singling you out. Lady Lean Warriors are just as awesome as the guys):

You’ve got to mentally prepare yourself for a bulk. And by that I simply mean understanding that you’re going to gradually add on a little bit of fat while you’re bulking up.

This will simply happen. Accept it! The only way to build muscle is to consume enough calories to do so. You’ll gain fat while you gain muscle. It’s part of the process.

However, I don’t recommend anyone get on a bulk until you’ve lost weight and are currently trying to maintain a lean physique.

If you still have too much body fat on you, it will be hard to notice any of the results you’re getting. You’ll be getting fatter which will further cover up all the gainzzz that you’ve been making.

It’s a psychological battle. I spent years bulking up and thought I gained fat only. But once I cut, I realized how much bigger I actually was. I made a lot of gains but never noticed due to being too fat.

Because of this, you may be tempted to end your bulk early when you haven’t spent enough time building muscle.

This is why I recommend that you cut down your body weight until you’re as lean as you’ve ever been. So lean that you can see your abs and muscle cuts (even if you don’t have a lot of muscle to begin with).

As you continue to add weight week after week, you’re going to slowly add fat as you add muscle. I want you to be as lean as possible before you begin this journey.

Expect your abs and shreddedness to disappear. Accept this fact when you are on trying to pack on hard, dense muscle.

This is why people like to bulk when t he Fall months roll around. The idea is to add weight for about 6 months of the year, cut for 3, and then maintain for the warm Summer months.

However, I recommend that you lean down no matter what time of year it is.

If you’re reading this in March and you’re skinny-fat, go on a cut. Accept the fact that this Summer you won’t be ripped like you want to be. It’s okay dude! Don’t feel bad about this. You’ll only look like a starved child for a few weeks.

When you lean down and get shredded, your body will be prime for muscle building. I have plenty of experience with the bulking process so you can learn what NOT to do.

The point of this part is this: building muscle will add fat. Accept it.

And, get lean before you bulk. It will make the cutting process a lot easier in the future.

Learn From My Bulking Mistakes

For most of my life, I’ve been the typical skinny-fat type. I always thought I could work out and eat whatever I wanted to build muscle.

The problem with this belief I had is that I added weight in the wrong areas. While I was getting stronger, my love handles and belly were getting bigger.

I’m naturally THICC so I store fat around my mid-section. It’s just how my body is. If I was smarter in the beginning, I would have shaved off YEARS of mistakes.

The body I have now could have easily been attained 4 years ago. I spent years and years making mistakes. My workout programs weren’t the best. But worst of all, I didn’t take diet and nutrition seriously.

Normally I wouldn’t be upset about wasting all this time. It’s a learning experience and part of the success path.

The only reason I’m upset about my 5 years of mistakes is because I continued to listen to people who experts about nutrition and muscle building.

When I finally stopped being an idiot, I hired a professional nutritionist who trains Hollywood celebs like Zac Efron and others. I wish I hired this guy years ago. It would have saved me a ton of time.

This is why you pay people who know their shit. It can save you years and years of time.

Don’t just blindly follow someone because they think they know the facts. Hire someone who actually has the experience and the credibility.

The reason I know so much about nutrition and fitness is due to the fact that I’ve paid thousands of dollars to expert trainers who work with the elite. I’ve paid the big bucks to learn over the years and now I’m sharing it with you.

Don’t make the same mistakes that I made over the years. You won’t get the body you want if you think you can eat anything as long as you’re lifting.

Ultimately, I learned that I wasn’t eating enough protein. My carb and fat intake was too high. I put on weight in the wrong areas due to this imbalance.

This kind of diet leads to an unhealthy gut that digests poorly. This means more unnecessary fat on your body and inflammation.

If your diet has been wack and you’ve been sedentary for years, you might have to jump start your metabolism. This can be accomplished through a high-probiotic, high-protein, low-carb diet. In addition to diet, adding 1 or 2 HIIT workouts per week will shed fat incredibly fast.

The goal is to get you lean before you think about building muscle. Don’t make the mistakes that I did or you’ll find yourself going back and forth repeating this bulk/cut cycle without good results.

This cycle could repeat itself over and over again for years if you’re not careful. That’s what happened to me.

Caloric Surplus For Muscle Gains

Most of the bulking information you’ll read online is way off. They’ll tell you to eat 3000 calories per day if you want to build muscle.

Well, I’ve tried these 3,000 calorie per day diets. I can assure you that you do not need this many calories to build muscle unless you’re Thor at 6’4.

Everyone else eating this big of a surplus will build a little bit of muscle and a lot of fat.

If you’re cool with that, go ahead and dirty bulk. But, I highly advise against it. I feel like you’ll be much happier getting lean and slowly bulking.

The leaner you are, the healthier and more prime for muscle building your body becomes. Plus, you feel good about yourself. This is really important because the psychological game is huge.

The less lean I am, the harder it is for me to hit the gym and workout. I still do it because it’s a habit, but my mood isn’t nearly as high as when I’m lean and liking how I look.

So how much of a surplus do you actually need to build muscle?

The depends on you and your body type.

Because I’m going to assume from this point forward that you’ve already in a lean state, you should know how many calories you need to maintain your current body.

Let’s say you’ve been leaning down at 1900 calories per day. You lose around 1 pound or so per week with this amount.

With this example, I would bump up the daily calories to 2200 per day for a few weeks. I would hit the gym 3-4 times per week and continue my progress. My workouts wouldn’t change too much. I want to keep things consistent.

At this point, I will weigh myself every single week. The goal is to gain around 2 pounds in this 3 week period.

However, if I have only gained one pound, I won’t adjust the calories. This is because your body weight fluctuates day by day. It would be a mistake to add more calories at this point.

The only reason I would add another 100 calories per day is if my weight is exactly the same or less than before.

I want to stress that adding just 1 pound of muscle per month is great progress. Imagine one pound of lean steak slabbed onto your body. It’s a lot!

Don’t bump up the calories to “accelerate” the process. You’ll just add more unnecessary fat to your body.

The guys over at THENX only eat around 2000 calories per day. Yet these are some of the strongest, most ripped guys in the fitness world.

You don’t need a big calorie surplus to build muscle.

I want you to be a Lean Warrior. Not a blocky, smooth cupcake.

Making Sure Your Calories Feed Your Muscles

Because you’re using a minimal surplus, we want to make sure these calories are feeding your muscles. The best way to insure that is through your workouts.

You want to hit your muscles hard in the gym. Progressive overload is key for muscle building. Without fatiguing your muscles throughout the week, your body will store these extra calories as fat.

Your body requires a set number of calories to maintain it’s current form every single day. If you eat less than this set amount, you will lose weight until your body adjusts. If you eat more than maintenance, then you gain weight.

This is why we keep the surplus minimal. There’s no point in eating hundreds of extra calories every single day. Most of these extra calories will be stored as fat.

It’s much more beneficial to keep the surplus low enough so most of these extra calories feed your muscles. This will result in minimal fat gain, which is exactly what we want.

However, even if your workouts are amazing and your muscles are getting the nutrients needed to grow, you will still experience a little bit of fat gain.

The good news is that you started your bulk in a lean state. This makes it very easy to burn off any extra fat in the future when you want to (especially if you follow the Lean Warrior diet).

As long as you’re hitting the gym hard and progressing in your lifts, you will make the gainzzz. Don’t obsess over your body weight. Just focus on the progress you’re making in the gym. That is key.

Stay consistent. Stick to the script that I teach and you will get results. You’ll build muscle and get results. Any extra fat gained will come off quickly when you cut weight in the future.

Focus On Factors You CAN Control

A big problem I’ve noticed with most people who want to transform their body is that they focus on factors out of their control.

Whether it’s genetics, age, gender or anything else, they focus on these factors as a way to rationalize why they aren’t able to get results.

Here’s the reality of the situation:

Forget about your genetics. Forget about your age and your gender. Who cares if your neighbor got faster results than you. Don’t worry about that success story you saw on Facebook from an old high school mate.

The only thing that matters is your progress. As long as you’re keeping your diet clean with a minimal surplus, you won’t gain a lot of belly fat.

You might gain a little bit, but nothing you can’t burn off in a couple of weeks when you cut. So don’t fret about it.

As long as you stick to the Lean Warrior diet, you’ll have no problem burning fat or building muscle depending on what you want to do.

So, if you’re going to lean bulk for a few months, accept the fact that you’ll gain a little bit of fat. A few pounds max over several months. That’s all you’ll gain with a minimal surplus.

You will also gain a few pounds of muscle. That’s exactly what you want. One pound of muscle goes a long way. It’s very noticeable because it’s dense and heavy. Much heavier than fat.

You might have this fear that your genetics or age or whatever is preventing you from gaining any muscle. It’s a very real fear that I’ve experienced as well.

But, once I went on a diet and burned off my belly fat, I was surprised at how much muscle was hiding underneath this layer of fat.

So don’t be afraid. Just stick with it for a few months. Again, this process will be much more enjoyable if you wait to bulk until you’re a Lean Warrior.

The only factors that matter for building muscle without gaining fat are the ones you can control. These are:

  • The foods you eat per day
  • How often you hit the gym
  • Make sure you’re progressing in your lifts week after week
  • Keeping your calorie surplus at a minimal level
  • One or two HIIT workouts to keep your metabolism high
  • A high-protien diet with healthy carbs and fats

Those are the only things you need to worry about as you bulk. There’s no need to worry about anything else because you’ll fall into a fearful state and lose motivation.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below and I will help you out.