What is Lean Bulking? Muscle Growth without Fat Gain
In old-school bulking and diets, bodybuilders would eat as many calories as possible from any type of food source for the purpose of putting on extra pounds. While this approach was effective at increasing bodyweight, some of the increased pounds were from added body fat and not muscle mass.
The problem with this is that after people pass the first hurdle of putting on extra weight, they face a new one of having newfound body fat that they want to shed.
Lean bulking takes a more measured approach to nutrition, calories and macronutrients are more tightly regulated for lean muscle gains.
4x World Champ Sadik Hadzovic shared all the details with us of what he eats in a day and gave us great tips on his approach to successful lean bulking.
What to Eat for Breakfast
While some lean bulk diet plans encourage practices like skipping meals, especially breakfast, Sadik goes in an opposite direction and encourages breakfast. In fact, Sadik kicks his breakfast off with over 500 calories, using this meal as window to consume key muscle building macronutrients.
Sadik “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so it’s very important that I load up on carbohydrates and protein first thing in the morning.”
What Carbohydrates to Eat
High carb or low carb? White rice or brown rice? The field of nutrition is filled with many debates about which foods to eat, which to avoid, and which are superior. For his lean bulking diet, Sadik takes a more practical approach to carbohydrates.
Sadik “There’s the age-old discussion brown rice vs white rice, in small quantities, the difference isn’t going to be drastic, so you’re going to eat the rice that digests and tastes best for you.”
What to Eat Post Workout for Recovery and Lean Muscle Gain
The post workout recovery window is an important time to replenish nutrients that are used during a workout. Sadik emphasizes two important macronutrients during this post-workout window - protein and carbohydrates.
Protein supports muscle repair and increased muscle protein synthesis to contribute to the building of new muscle. While carbohydrates support replenishment of glycogen, glycogen from our muscles is a fast-acting fuel source that’s used during intense exercise.
Sadik: “My post workout meal and it’s the easiest meal to prepare. I have a scoop and a half of XTEND Pro and 1 bagel, the fast-acting carbohydrates help shuttle the protein into my muscle.”
What to Eat for Strength & Power
Red meat like flank steak is rich in creatine. Creatine is a compound found in muscle cells that plays a role in cellular energy production, which supports increased ATP levels. ATP is the fuel used by our bodies to power muscle contractions. Explosive strength and power movements are predominantly fueled by the ATP-Creatine Phosphate system of our body.
Sadik: “Flank steak and potatoes is a staple in my diet. This meal has tons of carbohydrates, tons of healthy fats, and creatine, which helps keep my muscles full.”
What to Eat at Night to Finish Your Clean Bulk
There's a misconception that eating certain foods in the evening may impact your metabolism more differently than eating them at other times of the day. Because of this, some people avoid specific macronutrients like carbohydrates or fats. Sadik takes a different approach and incorporates healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein into the last meal of his day.
Sadik: “What I love about this meal is that I increase the fats to slowly release the protein throughout the night while I’m sleeping.”
In addition to these excellent tips, Sadik also shared the exact foods and portions he eats during one day of his lean bulk.
Sadik's Lean Bulk Diet: Full Day of Eating Meals
Meal 1 - Breakfast
- 7 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 4 packets of quaker grits
- Macros: 579 calories, 39 grams of protein, 7 grams fat, 90 grams of carbohydrates
Meal 2 - Mid-Morning Snack
- 6.5 chicken breast and 8 oz of Jasmin rice
- Macros: 476 calories, 58 grams of protein, 8 grams fat, 43 grams of carbohydrates
Meal 3 - Pre-Workout Meal
- 1 box of Pasta Roni and 6.5 oz chicken breast
- Macros: 719 calories, 59 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat, 96 grams of carbohydrates
Meal 4 - Post-Workout Snack
- 1 ½ scoops of XTEND Pro and 1 bagel
- Macros: 465 calories, 49 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 61 grams of carbohydrates
Meal 5 - Evening Dinner
- 8 oz flank steak and 10 oz white potato
- Macros: 439 calories, 7 grams of protein, 19 grams of fat, 60 grams of carbohydrates
Meal 6 - Evening Snack
- 7 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, and 2/3 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
- Macros: 496 calories, 46 grams of protein, 15 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbohydrates