If you have ever spent any time researching various muscle workouts, you probably notice many contradictions. A common theme in many of these muscle building approaches is to eat an excess of calories in the gaining phase and then a deficit in the cutting phase. This is called a “bulking and cutting” approach. The problem with bulking up and cutting down is that you are fatter than normal during the bulking phase. The best and most effective muscle building workouts don’t require that you add excess body fat.
How Do You Add Muscle Without Gaining Body Fat?
Contrary to what mainstream fitness experts would have you believe, it is possible to add muscle without eating an excess of calories. In fact, you can add muscle while eating in a calorie deficit. How does this work? Well, muscle mass is largely a result of how much you use the muscle. Your calorie intake is more closely tied with how much body fat you have on your body. So train more to add muscle and eat less to lose body fat. This is the ideal combo for dramatically improving the look of your body.
So How Little Can You Eat While Still Adding Muscle?
This will vary from person to person, but the idea is to figure out how many calories it takes for you to maintain your body weight and eat a little under that amount. A good starting point is to multiply your body weight in pounds times 10. So a 180 pound man would want to average roughly 1,800 calories per day. The goal would be to track body fat percentage while eating this may calories per day for 2 weeks. If you body fat stayed stable, this would be a good starting point of calories to consume during your muscle building workouts.
How Much Protein is Necessary While Performing Muscle Workouts?
The fitness industry has got us a little obsessed with protein. It would be easy to write 100+ pages on the subject of protein intake. Luckily, Brad Pilon already did this in his recent book “How Much Protein”. Brad worked in the supplement industry as the Head of R&D for one of the largest supplement companies in the world. His conclusion was that we really only need 1/2 a gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 180 pound man would only need to consume 90 grams of protein per day. To be safe you could round up to 100 grams, but there isn’t really any reason to be obsessed with protein. Remember, muscle size is much more related to muscle workouts than with dieting. Fat, or lack of body fat, is closely related to diet.
The Best Supplement for Your Muscle Workouts
If you are going to take one supplement during your muscle workout phase, then make sure you take creatine. Creatine is probably the only supplement that has clinically proven to build muscle above and beyond consuming whole foods. All other supplements effects can be duplicated with whole foods. So right after any of your muscle building workouts, make sure and take 3-5 grams of creatine.