Can You Gain Muscle Weight Without Getting Fat?
Ironically the two basic fitness goals are at the opposite ends of the spectrum:
1. To gain muscle mass
2. To loose body fat
In order to build muscle mass you are required to take in extra calories. You can’t build muscles from nothing (unless there is some chemical help involved.) While on the other hand, loosing body fat requires you be in a ‘negative’ calorie balance because that is what is required to get your body burning off additional fat as fuel for its tissues. Striving to accomplish both of these goals simultaneously is hardly ever a good idea and will most likely result in no results at all.
Almost all weight lifters will have to accept the fact that some fat gain is to be expected when they are looking to gain weight. This is an element that we hope to control along with answering the question ‘how much?’.
Can you gain weight . . . without getting FAT?
There are two approaches you can take when gaining muscle mass.
1. Eating as much food as you can – turning your life into a 24/7 quest for muscle mass thinking that the more food consumed will equate to more muscle production.
Since the body can only take in so much muscle tissue at one time, this approach is flawed. Once the maximum number of calories has been assimilated, the remaining calories will be stored as body FAT. Therefore, for those that are taking in 5,000 or more calories a day the end result will be unwanted FAT weight over a period of 3 – 6 months (the average amount of time most people will ‘bulk’ for).
2. Eat only enough food to support muscle growth. This allows your to get as much lean tissue gain as possible limiting the possibility of accumulating a huge rise in body FAT.
How much muscle can you build and how many calories over ‘maintenance’ should you eat?
There are always exceptions to rules and you may know or have heard of the guy that added 20 pounds of muscle in the short span of 6 weeks. This may be a rare occurrence of an individual new to weight lifting with unbelievable genetics who utilized an excellent nutritional and training program – but, in most cases the average guy will not come close to adding on this much muscle tissue.
The natural trained person can expect to add between half a pound and one pound of muscle per week . . . assuming they are doing everything properly. If the individual is limited by genetics or isn’t following a proper nutritional program – then this gain will be expected to decrease. Based on this expectation, you can see one doesn’t need to eat insane amounts of high calorie foods.
Remember, the more you intake – the more you are at risk of adding on additional body FAT. General rule of thumb, you should keep your additional calorie intake to 250-500 above your maintenance level. This gives you the best hope of limiting body FAT and maximizing muscles. To avoid this situation, you should keep track of current body FAT levels (and appearance) and should you notice too much weight gain as FAT – reduce your calorie intake a little. Different people have different metabolisms that will respond differently – so base your decision on the results you are getting.
Patience is paramount when your goal is muscle gains – the slower you go, the more time you can dedicate to adding muscle mass – and the less time you have to think about dieting. Taking a slow approach allows you to maintain a flattering ‘real world’ appearance as well as maintaining a clear mind because keeping your weight gain under control will eliminate the possibility of seeing your hard earned muscle definition disappear . . . along with your confidence level.