Should I Bulk up Or Lean Out-That Is the Question

bulking up

You might be thinking of a fitness goal before you commit yourself fully to both workouts and diets. For men all over the world, it has always been a debate between bulking up and leaning out. Do you prefer to have a Mr. Olympia body or you’d rather have a David Beckham physique?

Bulking up requires building muscle mass, most of the time with accompanied body fats, through diet and workout.  On the other hand, leaning out is when you either just cut the fats, or you bulk up in a clean way.

Should you be bulking up or just go for the lean physique that you see among male models and athletes? Here are some things that you’d want to consider.

Bulking up

bulking up

In an ideal set up, people want to gain the right amount of muscles and eventually cut the excess body fats to achieve the perfect body. Simply put, bulking up means that you will be gaining weight both from muscles and fat before entering the cutting phase.

If you will be asking body builders, gaining muscle mass is different for different individuals. Furthermore, some individuals may experience plateau differently than others. But in concept, it is about increasing the number of calories that your body is going to take along with the right workout.

To effectively gain muscle mass, it is important that you prevent the body from catabolizing its muscle mass. Following this golden rule, it is important that you count the amount of protein you take daily. In some scenarios, it is also important to use of branched-chain amino acids that are proven effective in preventing muscle breakdown.

Also, your workouts will play a crucial role how you are going to bulk up. It is important that you consider high-intensity, low-rep workouts that will initiate structural hypertrophy. That means one to six reps per set with 70% to 80% of your one rep max is the ideal scheme that you’ll need to consciously follow if your goal is to build muscle mass.

Things to consider when bulking up

bulking up

There are many pros to bulking up. For one, you don’t have to worry so much about the food that you eat if you are straight up trying to gain weight. That means you can eat multiple times a day. Included in your bulk up plan are high protein meals from chicken to steak.

Building muscle mass is ideal for different individuals. It can be used by those who plan to lose a significant amount of weight in the long run. If you want to cut several pounds of fats, this becomes easier with a good amount of muscle to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate. With the right kind of exercises, it is also possible to raise your body’s testosterone level which even speeds up the body’s ability to burn fats. On the other hand, bulking up can also be used by those who are thin, to begin with.

But of course, there are some cons. Though you are building muscles, also remember that you are getting fat. Unfortunately, getting fat is a slippery slope. It is important that you first check your fat percentage before you even decide to bulk up the traditional way and increase your body’s fat mass as well.

There is always the risk of failing to cut the fats afterward. Can you imagine stopping your workout for some reason while your body is getting used to eating high caloric meals? Also, you can never tell if you already have enough muscles when you have a high-fat percentage.

According to research, optimum muscle gains can be achieved when your body fat percentage is at 8% to 15%. The reason behind this is because of the fact that leaner individuals are more insulin sensitive, therefore makes use of your carbohydrates better. Testosterone levels are also higher when you are in that range.

Leaning out

lean out

Now, let’s discuss leaning out. Without a doubt, it is considered by many health enthusiasts as more difficult than traditional mass gaining process. Leaning out means that you achieve a low-fat percentage, but maintaining the muscle mass. Developing a lean physique is more aesthetically appealing since this is the ideal body for male models, and of athletes.

In order to lean out, it is imperative to eat the right type of food. According to experts, visible six pack abs is 30% gym and 70% made in the kitchen. Unlike in bulking wherein you can eat whatever you please, you’ll most likely have a clean diet.

Also, you may have to perform cardiovascular exercises such as running which can be difficult for the knees. If you have problems with your knees, you can rely on exercises that activate the core. If done correctly, you may even achieve an athletic physique.

Working out like an athlete in order to achieve a lean body allows you to have a more functional built. With your set of workout, you’ll most likely develop strong hips, developed glutes, and strong legs. Heck, you might even find some muscles that can’t be found in the mirror developed. All of which are a necessity in order to perform the more dynamic movements necessary for leaning out.

Things to consider when leaning out

lean out

Leaning out is a good mix of cardiovascular exercises and resistance training. Excessive cardiovascular exercises may not be fully beneficial to your goal since this can reduce your muscle mass, not to mention make your body adapt to the activity. Once your body adapted to the activity of running for hours, you become more fuel efficient and therefore lessen fats burned over the same period.

This is when a constant change of workout becomes necessary. Muscle confusion allows the body to not get used to the workouts, and therefore burn more fats in the process. The downside is that it can be mentally frustrating since workouts become more difficult with different variations.

If you have plans of becoming lean, keep in mind that it isn’t an easy task. You’ll most likely find yourself struggling to adapt to regular clean meals. Also, if your goal is to look like a professional athlete, remember that these athletes do their workouts for 4 hours or more every day. That is not to mention the help that they get from licensed nutritionists for their meals.

If you don’t have the time or the dedication to do this, then might as well lower your expectations. Following a good diet and working out the right way may still give you some results, but don’t get frustrated if you don’t look like a male model after months of working out.


If you have plans of either to bulk up or to get lean, always have the right expectations. Remember that regardless of what you choose, it is a combination of both hard work and smart work. It is imperative that you have the discipline to perform the exercises and be smart enough on how to approach your diet and recovery.

Do you plan on becoming lean or perhaps bulking up for 2017? We’d love to know what you think about these things we discussed! Feel free to leave a comment below!

Share this post
  , , ,