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NO MORE BULKING! How to Build Lean Muscle Mass

by Frank Rich, Creator of MASSTHETIC MUSCLE

Hey guys, Frank Rich coming at you from the Critical Bench Compound in Tampa, Florida. I’m the author and fitness creator of Massthetic Muscle, and in this video, we want to go over building muscle and losing fat, but more or less I want to talk to you about building lean mass!

If you’ve been in the muscle building world or fitness space for a long period of time, we’ve been told that in order to build muscle we have to go through what would be considered an excessive bulking cycle where we’re going to put on a little bit of muscle and a lot of body fat and our end result is going to be revealing a lean, aesthetic physique. And I want to unveil to you some of the negative side effects of putting on too much fat and why you want to avoid that and how you can effectively build a lean physique by adding just pounds of muscle and minimal, if  any, body fat.

First of all, why do we want to avoid putting on excessive amounts of fat? Well, there’s going to be some negative effects that happen within your body, hormonally and physiologically. The first one is a principle, a concept known as fat cell hyperplasia and what this is, we think about a fat cell and we look at it as a Ziploc bag or as a bucket. We can only store so much fat inside of our current fat cells. Once we reach the limit of what that cell can hold, our body has to create a new place to store new fat cells. So what hyperplasia is, is actually the creation of new fat cells.

So, if we have one fat cell that gets too full or get too overloaded we need to create a new place to store that fat so our body is going to create a second fat cell. Now we have two fat cells and obviously there’s thousands if not hundreds of thousands of fat cells within our body, but just using small numbers here.

So, if we think of hyperplasia, now we have two fat cells. So, if we continue down this path for let’s say three months or a six-month bulk, what’s going to happen is we’re going to continue to produce new fat cells. Now, when it comes time for us to go through our cutting phase or to your shredding phase and we’re going to end up with that lean physique in another three to six months, we can only make those fat cells smaller. We can’t get rid of them. We can’t delete current fat cells.

Basically, what you’ve done is you’ve multiplied or doubled the amount of fat cells in your body making it much harder for you to lose body fat. But also, at the same time, because your body has more fat cells in it, it’s going to want to fill those.  You make your body more adept and more efficient at becoming fat. Reason number one why you want to avoid excessive bulking and putting on fat is because you want to avoid fat cell hyperplasia.

Secondly, we talked about this a little bit earlier, before, is the effects that it has on your hormones. We know testosterone is the male hormone and it’s one of the most anabolic hormones and it’s crucial in building muscle mass and losing fat. So, estrogen, in the contrary, is the female hormone. So as your body fat raises your estrogen levels are going to increase as well. Another reason why you want to avoid putting on excessive amounts of fat is just to keep your hormones at optimal, optimal levels for being a man. So higher testosterone levels are going to increase energy, it’s going to increase muscle mass, it’s going to increase performance, it’s going to increase sexual drive, all the things that make us men and make us enjoy the life that we have. So those are two big reasons why we want to avoid going down the route or going down the path of doing excessive bulking.

Really, if we think about why we’ve been told this and why this information has been passed on to us for decades through these magazines and experts and fitness coaches, the reality, we see these bodybuilders, we see these guys that have these amazing physiques on stage and on TV and in the magazines and these guys are loaded on drugs, loaded on anabolic steroids. It’s easier for them to go through these phases because they’re going to have things that are going to allow them to make that shredding or make that leaning-out much easier.

And another reason, what I truly believe, is it’s just a lack of discipline and just pure laziness. We look to do these excessive bulking especially through the winter holidays or through the winter months as an excuse to eat junk food. If we just change our mind set a little bit and have a little bit more discipline in what we are doing with our life we wouldn’t have to go and we wouldn’t allow ourselves. I’m not saying don’t enjoy the foods that you love eating because I would say that’s a big part of just living a happy life. But don’t let it get out of control.

Don’t use bulking, don’t use building muscle as a reason to let yourself go and really those foods, they’re not going to be best as far as fueling your body. We’ll talk more about the performance in the gym here in a little bit, but ultimately you want to use the food to fuel your performance to fuel your body, to fuel your mind and all that’s going to come down to really eating whole foods, eating proper nutrients. So those are kind of a few reasons on why we want to avoid going down that path of excessive bulking and some of the reasons on why maybe we felt that’s what we needed to do for as long as we’ve been training.

Let’s talk about what we need to do in the gym to build muscle, lose fat at the same time and end with a lean, aesthetic, shredded physique. First of all, it’s going to come down to your performance, your exercise execution within the gym. If you’re training for muscle mass, if you’re training for hypertrophy, you want to learn to train movements; you want to learn to train muscles. We can talk about strength training, we can talk about power lifting, that’s a different approach to lifting.

But building muscle comes down to how much tension, how much load can you put through that muscle under tension, under time under tension. So, learning proper mechanics, learning muscular function and how to apply load in different variable resistances through the course of your workout. We’ve going to take you guys through some different videos here and explain how we can use these techniques or these principles in training, but really it comes down to setting your goal first. If you goal is building muscle, learn to train for hypertrophy. It’s not so much going to be focused on strength, on numbers. Obviously, yes, you want to lift heavy. You’re going to need to learn load, but the first thing you need to do is learn proper mechanics and proper exercise execution.

Secondly, frequency. Frequency is going to be a big thing. Research has shown that training a muscle twice a day—or twice a week as opposed to just once a week is going to be more optimal for increasing protein synthesis and creating a better hypertrophic response within that muscle. Thirdly, we want conditioning work. That doesn’t mean we need to be slaving on a treadmill, that doesn’t mean we need to be spending hours walking on a stair master, but we want to create a metabolic response within our body. So that can be done first in our training session, so how we’re programming our workouts. We want to end every session or incorporate some type of super sets or some type of max output training into our workouts.

So, this is going to be the use of drop sets, this is going to be the use of super sets, tri sets, multiple movements that you’re doing together to keep your heart rate elevated. Rest period we want in the minute to two minutes. We don’t want to do a set and sit down for four minutes and let our body fully recover. We want to maintain, like I said, a metabolic environment within our body.

And then when our conditioning work comes into play, we want to think HIT style training, high intensity intervals. So, these are going to be maximum effort, maximum efficiency working periods with minimal rest. So, think of doing prowler pushes, think of getting maybe on a spin bike and doing a 20 second, 30 second all-out sprint. And when I say all-out, that means at the end of the 30 seconds you don’t have anything left. Tire flips can be great here. That’s one of the great things about coming here to the Compound is these guys have this gym set up with everything you need.

There are incredible machines, there’s free weights, but at the same time they’ve got tires, they’ve got grass, they’ll have us running around the building. These are the type of things that you want to do. How much work can you get done in the most efficient, shortest period of time? That’s what’s going to help you maintain that lean, shredded physique.

The next thing you want to think about is we talked a little bit earlier about this before, is the fueling of your body. Obviously, we know that protein and carbohydrates are going to be necessary for building muscle, but the timing in consuming of those is going to be crucial. So, I’m a big advocate of intra-workout-nutrition. I think that carbohydrates during your training are crucial for recovery, they’re crucial for training intensity and then BCAAs as well.

So, this is going to ignite a little bit of protein synthesis while you’re training. This is the point where you’re literally starting to break-down your body. So, the sooner you can start repairing that, the better that you’re going to recover, allowing you to maintain that frequency of training that you need to build optimal muscle. So, carbohydrates, like I said, during training and then within an hour or so post training. This is where you really want to kind of start replenishing and refueling that body. So a big carbohydrate meal consisting of potatoes, white rice, oatmeal, something that’s going to make you feel full, make you feel satisfied, but at the same time start restoring and refilling those glycogen stores.

At the same time, in that meal we want to have protein as well, so lean protein sources, chicken breasts, turkey breasts, white fish. If you want to just get a quick shake in that’s going to be completely fine as well. And then for the remainder of your meals throughout the day, you want your body burning fat. So, we don’t want to consume a lot of carbohydrates not around the times that we’re training. We want to obviously keep our protein levels at about a 0.8 to 1 gram per pound. So, break that out through the course of your meals. But your meals that aren’t after your training, you want healthier fats. You want things that are going to keep your body burning fat as its fuel.

Let’s use those carbs during our training and after our training to build the muscle and then our energy sources, our energy stores throughout the day are going to be used as fat. So, taking in healthy fats, avocados, coconut oil is great. Coconut oil is incredible as a pre-workout fuel source. It helps with cognitive function. It’s going to help you get a better neurological response within your muscles during training.

I highly recommend having red meat, lean red meat, about 90% or less lean beef and coconut oil pre-training. That’s going to be the greatest meal that you can have for energy, for cognitive function, like I said, and really help you get in the mindset and approach that you need to be training. The next best time that you want to be consuming carbohydrates though it going to be the meal right before you go to bed.

So, another myth that’s probably been in the industry for a really, really long-time is don’t eat carbohydrates after 7:00pm, like our body knows that it’s 7:00pm and it’s going to start storing carbs as fat. Completely false. Completely the worst information that you can possibly have. You want to have carbs before you go to bed. A, it’s going to help just put you in a relaxed state. We know—it’s funny because we just had Thanksgiving here not too long ago, but we always know that feeling after we eat that big, that big meal, Thanksgiving meal. You know, you got sit on the couch, you start watching football and you end up waking up a half hour later, not even knowing that your grandma was talking to you about whatever game she’s been playing with her friends at the clubhouse.

But people think that that restfulness or that sleepiness was caused by the turkey. In reality, it’s the carbohydrates. It’s the massive amount of carbs that you consumed put your body in more of a relaxed state. So, no better time of the day to do that than right before you’re going to bed. And as long as your calories are within range that you need to be eating and activity levels are high, it doesn’t matter really when you’re consuming them, you’re not going to be stored as fat. If anything, you’re going to wake up the next morning with more energy, more focus, more clarity, ready to attack the day.

So, have a big carb meal right before you go to bed. It’s going to put you in a relaxed state. It’s going to increase serotonin levels, reduce cortisol, which are two things you want to have at bedtime. You don’t want to go to bed stressful. You want to be, like I said, in a relaxed state of mind. So consuming carbohydrates before you go to bed is going to be crucial in doing that. But really, like I said, it’s these key factors, these key principles. So, having your exercise execution down, having proper programming and knowing what your goals are when you walk into the gym.

I’m here to build muscle. I’m going to get stronger as a result of that, but I’m focused on the exercises that I’m doing. I’m focused on the training and working those muscles under tension and under load, combining that with a little bit of metabolic work and this will vary from person to person. So, use the mirror, use the way that you look as a guide. Somebody’s that’s in the 15% to 20% body fat range is obviously going to have to do a little bit more metabolic work than somebody that’s in an 8% to 10% range.

But ideally if your goal is building muscle, you want to try to get yourself to about a 10% to 12% body fat and kind of stick there. That’s where your body is going to be most optimal for building muscle. The hormones are going to be most optimal as far as testosterone levels. So, try to get to that 10% to 12% range. If you have to do a little bit of cut to get there first, I would recommend doing that because once you get to that point you’re really going to become an efficient machine at building muscles and losing body fat which is our goal. Lean, aesthetic, massthetic physique.

I know that was a lot of information for you there, guys, so go back, re-watch the video, take some notes. But even better, I want to give you a free gift. Get a free report called The 3 Tips for Building Lean Muscle Mass. All you’ve got to do is click the link below.

CLICK HERE to Download a FREE Copy of
3 Tips to Building Lean Mass

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