There are two common fitness goals – to gain muscle mass and to lose body fat. Unfortunately, for the most part, the two goals are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Building muscle mass is going to require you to take in a surplus of calories because, well, let’s face it, you can’t build muscle out of nothing (unless of course you have some chemical help going on).
Losing fat mass on the other hand is going to require you to be in a negative calorie balance because that is what will get your body burning off additional body fat as fuel for its tissues.
Striving to accomplish both goals at the same time is rarely a good approach because more than likely you will just end up spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.
Most weight lifters will have to accept some fat gain when they are looking to gain weight, however how much fat gain they need to add is question. It is this variable that we are hoping to influence.
Can you really gain weight without getting fat?
When adding muscle mass there are two approaches you can take.
Some take the approach of just eating as much food as they can possible cram into themselves. Their life suddenly becomes one long 24-hour buffet in their quest for muscle mass as they are under the thinking that the more food that goes in, the more muscle synthesis that will go on.
This thinking is heavily flawed. The body can only assimilate so much muscle tissue at once and after it has done so, any remaining calories are simply going to be stored as body fat. Plain and simple. You my friend, are no exception to the rule.
For those guys who are out there taking in five thousand or more calories per day, this is obviously going to be way more than they need and will result in a considerable amount of unwanted fat weight over a period of three to six months (how long most people will ‘bulk’ for).
The second option is to adopt a more moderate approach and only eat so many additional calories to support this muscle growth and that’s it. This will allow you to hopefully get as much lean tissue gained as possible without the accumulation of a monstrous rise in body fat.
So that leads us to the next question you’re probably wondering. How much muscle can you build? How many calories over maintenance should you be eating?
You’ve probably already heard of the guy who claims he’s added 20 pounds of muscle in the short timeframe of six weeks. While this may be a very rare occurrence among an individual who is brand new to weight lifting, has insanely good genetics and utilized an excellent training and nutritional program, the fact of the matter is that most guys are simply not going to be able to come even close to adding this much muscle tissue.
A natural trained individual can …