Bulking up and building lean muscles are two terms that are more often than not thrown around the fitness world. Let us look at what each of the two terms mean.
Bulking up or Bulking is basically when someone is trying to deliberately put on more muscle mass and gain weight (muscle as well as fat to some extent) through consuming more calories. This particular fitness goal focuses on building size and strength of the muscles through workout and diet.
Whereas, lean muscle mass relates to the body content excluding fat. In bodybuilding or fitness terms, lean muscle mass building is that which happens without consequent or parallel fat increase in the body. Basically, it relates to the muscle mass that is accounted for without the fat or that which remains after fat has been shed.
Generally, for bulking you may need to be in the fat% category of 10-14% for men and 20-22% for women. As for the lean muscle mass maintenance, men need to be in the fat% range of 6-9% whereas for women it could 16-20%.
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How does Lean Muscle Mass work?
Building lean muscle mass not only helps shape your form but is also beneficial on several levels; it helps correct and improve your metabolism, improves bone health, hair and also supports your immunity. If you are someone who is looking to maintain steady gains with a controlled fat%, you need to understand that it will take both- working out regularly, especially with weights, and a protein rich diet to keep the excess fat at bay and help you tone the body muscles.
Ideally, anyone who is within the normal or overweight range of BMI, would go for lean muscle mass building or maintenance. The protein intake needed is ideally 1.2-1.5 gm/ kg of body weight per day, depending on your activity level. The need for higher amount of protein is to help you cut down on the fat mass. Higher protein intake not only helps you build lean muscle mass but also increases your BMR and helps you burn that extra fat, so when you combine a protein-packed diet with the right kind of exercise routine, you will see amazing results!
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Type of protein to go for: The ideal kind of protein that you would need to go for is high quality whey protein. Whey being a complete protein in itself, will not only provide you with all the essential amino acids but being low in fat and carbohydrates and higher in protein content (25-30 gm. per serving), it is a rapidly digestible protein that works well in combination with workout and helps fuel the muscles better as well.
How does Bulking up work?
When one is bulking up, the aim is to increase the muscle mass and to some extent, fat % too. Bulking up does not necessarily mean weight gain for only those who are leaner but it for anyone who wants to gain size and increase the strength of body muscles. While getting bigger does call for eating more number of calories, the best approach is to have a measured and healthy approach to eating more.
When you are looking to bulk up or gain muscles mass, it would not be ideal to just focus on the protein part. While it is extremely important to not skimp the protein, it is also essential that you understand that calories should be coming in through all the macronutrients. It is equally important to ensure that you are getting quality carbohydrates and good quality fat. Being protein sparing in nature, good quality carbs will ensure that whatever protein is consumed is used for muscle synthesis thereby, prevent muscle wasting.
Type of protein to go for: The ideal type of protein supplement that someone with bulking on their minds should go for is a mass gainer protein. A mass gainer with quality protein (whey and casein) and complex carbohydrates will not only ensure quality supply of protein but being rich in complex carbs will help in preventing hikes in blood glucose levels and help in steady release of energy. Go for a gainer that provides a 3:1 or 2:1 ratio for Carb: protein.
It always helps to move forward with a fitness plan strategically. If you find yourself to be a hard gainer or someone who is unable to gain weight easily you could use professional help. On the other hand, if you are someone who is looking to shed extra fat and get leaner, getting a proper nutrition plan and workout schedule through a professional might help you achieve the goal better. In any case, give time to your body to adapt and warm up to the modifications.
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