Step-by-Step: Gain Muscle, not Fat

By December 19, 2019 No Comments

The Right Way to Bulk: A 10-Step Guide

by Branden Hayward, Physique Coach

Hey, Girl,

If you want to add muscle without getting fatter and softer, I’ve got good news for you.

I’ve condensed over thirteen years of quasi-success, failure, and head-turning success, and summed it all up in ten steps, below.


The Right Way to Bulk: A 10 Step Guide 

  1. HABIT. Have a visceral “why.”

(Write down an aesthetic goal that you would like to reach, one year from today. Write down what it is currently costing you to *not* already be at this goal. Write down how it will feel once you *do* reach this goal.)

  1. HABIT. Accept that the journey will involve setbacks and sacrifices, and that it will be imperfect. 

(Understand that you won’t help yourself by giving up on, or being too hard on, yourself. Consistent imperfection is much better than inconsistent perfection.)

  1. HABIT. Track your food. 

(Track your food intake for 1 consecutive week. Apps like My Fitness Pal are helpful. Try your best not to change your eating + drinking habits during this time.)

  1. HABIT. Increase protein intake gradually (all body types). 

(Refer to the carb, fat and protein averages that you ascertained in the above step. 

1.2x your daily protein average. Hit your goal *daily*, not just with your weekly average. 

Maintain your carb and fat averages compared to your first week. 

Ideally, you’ll be getting 60% or more of your daily protein intake from high-protein natural food sources. For the remainder of your gaily goal, small bits of protein in regular foods will add up to get you much of, if not all the way, to your goal. If you aren’t already taking protein powder, don’t start. If you are already taking protein powder/supplements, do not increase the dosage, focusing instead on increasing only your real food intake.

Don’t add other new habits until you’ve hit this for 2 weeks. ) 

  1. HABIT. As you proceed into more changes, move slowly but steadily. 

(Work on only one new habit at a time, and maintain a habit for 2 weeks or more before you add another.)

  1. HABIT. For thin-limbed and medium-build body types: Increase your daily carb intake by 1.3x the amount you established in your first week of tracking. Do not fall below this on any given day. *Cap your daily dietary fat intake at the average you established earlier in the process. Otherwise, you’ll risk gaining non-muscle weight.*
  1. HABIT. For thicker-limbed / stockier body types: Keep your daily fat intake between 1 and 1.1x the amount you established in your first week of tracking. *Cap your daily carb intake at the average you established earlier in the process. Otherwise, you’ll risk gaining non-muscle weight.*
  1. HABIT Slowly and steadily progress your workout routines in volume, weight, and/or reps, but keep the focus on basic, compound movements. 

(Begin – or advance – a 2-5 day/week progressive weightlifting routine, focusing on large compound movements like squats, weighted bridges, lat pulldowns, seated rows, push-ups, and shoulder presses. Focus on 5 exercises per workout. Hit 20 sets in a total workout, keeping breaks to no longer than 1 minute.)

  1. HABIT. Get your protein up to a bare minimum of 150 g/day, and your daily fiber intake up to a bare minimum of 25g/day.  

(Now that your eating habits have been changed for a while, take another look at your protein and fiber averages. Protein supplements tend to add more body fat than protein from real food sources, so only use supplements sparingly. 200g/day of protein – or more – for individuals over 170 lbs. could produce greater results in time.

Foods that are high in fiber are foods pulled directly from the earth – without processing – like vegetables, fruits, beans, oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and the like. With all the surplus of protein you’ll be taking in, you’ll need fiber more than every before to keep waste moving expeditiously through your system. 25g/day of fiber can be managed by making sure to eat 1-2 fist size servings of an aforementioned fiber-rich food.) 

  1. HABIT. Use progress to inform future adjustments.  

(Track your progress with photos/measurements every 4-8 weeks. Adjust macro levels {protein, fat, carbs} as suggested by progress or lack thereof.)

Have questions? Want to share with me your thoughts?

Contact me at branden@brandenhayward.com 


Author brandenhayward

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