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How to get muscular and stronger without getting fat

Posted by: Shawn

There are various opinions on the correct way to increase muscle size and strength without adding fat. Bodybuilders all over the world have been debating this subject for years, to bulk before cutting or plan an intermittent fasting regime are only two options.

Some bodybuilders believe they need to pack in over 4000 calories every day to gain muscle and bulk up while other bodybuilders believe that eating as little as once a day is all that is required to increase muscle size without getting fat. Is there still truth in the old bodybuilding cliché ‘you gotta eat big to get big?’

It needs to be noted that it is not all about protein, eating big does not mean only eating huge amounts of protein. The amount of calories your body needs every day can be calculated and your body gets these calories required to stay alive from the food you eat and your fat stores.

A calorie deficit is achieved when the amount of calories consumed is less than the calories required. This is called weight loss or fat loss depending how much of the lost weight is water, glycogen or fat. The problem is that a calorie deficit also means that your body’s ability to create the needed muscle proteins is reduced.

This is why some bodybuilders say it is impossible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. In order to maximize your chances of increasing muscle size a calorie deficit is NOT recommended which is why “eat big to get big” is important to maximize muscle growth.

There is a well-recognized physiological rule no matter what method you use to get calories into your body, from carb cycling, IIFYM or intermittent fasting if you are in a calorie deficit more than 4 days a week you will not be able to grow muscle, even if you are an advanced bodybuilder.

Bulking up and cutting down usually does not work for many bodybuilders as they either lose the muscle they gained when cutting down or they don’t train correctly and land up gaining fat when bulking without gaining much muscle. All this can be avoided if you train specifically to increase strength, follow a strict diet protocol when cutting and not eating too many calories when bulking.

In conclusion you need to eat only 10% more calories than the calories you burn each day in order to maximize muscle growth plus minimize fat storage. The first step is to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) using the Katch McArdle formula.

The next step when calculating 10% increase in your BMR requirement is a simple formula of multiplying your BMR by 1.2 if you train 1 to 3 hours a week. Multiply by 1.35 if you train 4 to 6 hours a week and multiply your BMR by 1.5 if you train more than 6 hours a week.

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