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Lean Bulk: What to Do and What to Avoid

25th March 2023

If you're looking to gain muscle without gaining too much fat, a lean bulk may be the way to go. A lean bulk involves eating a slight caloric surplus to build muscle while minimizing fat gain. Here are some key principles to follow and things to avoid when doing a lean bulk.


1. Calculate your calorie needs

Before you start your lean bulk, you need to know how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight. From there, you can add a slight surplus of 250-500 calories to promote muscle growth while minimizing fat gain.

2. Prioritize protein

Protein is essential for building muscle, so it's important to make it a priority in your diet. Aim for at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and consider supplementing with protein powder if you have trouble reaching your protein goals through food alone.

3. Focus on nutrient-dense foods

To support muscle growth and overall health, it's important to focus on nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. These foods will provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to function optimally.

4. Lift weights regularly

To build muscle, you need to lift weights on a regular basis. Aim to lift weights at least three times a week, focusing on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses that work multiple muscle groups at once.

5. Progressively overload your workouts

To continue building muscle over time, you need to progressively overload your workouts by increasing the weight, reps, or sets over time. This will challenge your muscles and promote growth.


1. Eating too much

While a slight caloric surplus is necessary for muscle growth, eating too much will lead to excess fat gain. Keep your surplus to 250-500 calories per day to minimize fat gain.

2. Relying on junk food

While it's okay to indulge in treats every once in a while, relying on junk food for your calorie surplus will lead to poor health and suboptimal muscle growth. Focus on nutrient-dense whole foods instead.

3. Skipping workouts

Consistency is key when it comes to building muscle. Skipping workouts will hinder your progress and make it harder to reach your goals.

In summary, a lean bulk involves eating a slight caloric surplus, prioritizing protein, focusing on nutrient-dense foods, lifting weights regularly, and progressively overloading your workouts. To avoid hindering your progress, avoid overeating, relying on junk food, and skipping workouts. By following these principles, you can build muscle while minimizing fat gain.

To avoid doing macro math and always compute how many calories you eat each day, you can use a meal planner. For example, AutoMealPlanner makes it easy to generate a custom diet that fits your macros and foods preferences.

Create and customize a meal plan that fits your macros instantly