The Beginners Guide To Lean Bulking For Effective Gains

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How best to kickstart your lean bulking goals if it’s your first time.

When it comes to bulking, there are few different ways to go about it, and though bulking has taken on a life of its own with the right approach, it isn’t as hard as it may seem. For those looking into lean bulking, you have come to the right place. Lean bulking is a great way to see serious gains in muscle mass, while allowing yourself the opportunity to set yourself up and live a healthy lifestyle all while not putting on too much body fat.

In opposition to dirty bulking, which involves eating everything in sight whether it is a cheat meal or not, lean bulking, often referred to as clean bulking, is a great way to set yourself for success down the line. Watching calories, eating whole foods, and prioritizing supplementation has its perks for putting on efficient gains and allowing yourself to thrive inside and out of the gym. By knowing how best to approach a clean bulk, you will set yourself up for only the best gains.

Let’s jump into this Beginners Guide For Lean Bulking and see what makes this such an effective way to build muscle. Knowing what it is and how best to approach it when it comes to training, nutrition, and supplementation will better prepare you for whatever comes your way as you look to get as massive as possibly while being as healthy as possible.

lean bulk

What Is Lean Bulking?

Lean bulking is when you try to gain as much muscle with as little fat as possible, something that is not an easy task. This is where your protein intake would be increased and both fat and carbs are typically quite reduced. The foods involved with lean bulking are clean and can come from things like lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The key is to watch your caloric intake and to avoid sugar, as this can have an effect on your muscle building.

To contrast lean bulking, looking at something like dirty bulking is an easy opposing viewpoint when it comes to an overall bulking phase. Dirty bulking focuses on more on the quantity of food and is less about a ratio of macronutrients and more about overall calorie count. Fitness influencer Sam Sulek had a diet was viewed as more of a “dirty bulk”, as he did not eat very clean when trying to put on size. Overall, lean bulking is a much better option for not only do you put health above all else, but you allow yourself to see more effective gains.

How To Prioritize


When it comes to training during a lean bulk, you need to follow a plan that supports muscle growth while also accelerates fat loss. Resistance training will put an emphasis on muscle growth and allow for only the best gains to unfold (1). By focusing on building muscle directly, you give yourself a better chance at changing your physique and turning fat into muscle.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another great approach for this high-intensity style workout will get your heart rate going to burn calories while also building muscle to see gains (2). Longer forms of cardio can be mixed in here and there but know that the more cardio you do, the hungrier you may feel so sticking to weightlifting with efficient cardio is the way to go.


For nutrition, ensuring only whole foods is imperative as you look to see only the best gains. Foods like lean meat, fish, and some red meat can give you optimal levels of protein. Whole grains are perfect carb sources for energy and leafy green vegetables, as well as those with color can greatly affect your gains for the better. Avoiding sugar and artificial additives is also important for these can limit muscle growth and stunt fat loss.


The key to a clean bulk is the right supplements. Working with only the best supplements can give you that edge so you never have to suffer from any deficiencies or sacrifice gains. Key supplements like pre-workouts, fat burners, BCAAs, and protein powders can raise your workouts to the next level and give you the exact gains you are looking for.

Protein powders are a great way to get ample amounts of protein into your diet and mix well with water, another beverage of choice, or in a protein shake. You can also mix with oats or other foods to ensure your protein limit is to the max. Protein powders will increase muscle growth, help with recovery and aid in weight loss (3). For those wanting a great option, Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is that protein supplement to enhance your gains to new heights.

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Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free, boasting a great formula for a top protein powder. With nothing artificial added, this is a clean protein that is easier on your stomach.

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Lean Bulking Tips & Tricks

In order to have an effective lean bulk, here are a few tips and tricks to keep you going when things get tough:

1. It Will Take Time

A lean bulk will take some time so stay on course, write what you need to down, and give yourself the best chance at seeing success.

2. Calories Are Huge

Your caloric intake is very important here and can make or break a lean bulk. Keeping tabs on the amount of calories you need in a day and how many you consume will help you with honest and helpful records.

3. Supplements

Find the right supplements for you can stick to them. They will help you greatly as you look to see those gains you want most.

4. Don’t Neglect Cardio

While lifting is essential, don’t neglect some cardio which can greatly help you with shedding calories and ultimately losing fat. Remember, HIIT workouts are great ways to get in cardio while also building muscle.

5. Keep Goals Realistic

So often when we set goals, we start to reach for the stars. Remember that these things take time and going with the flow and allowing yourself to hit little victories along the way is a great way to see gains.

Wrap Up

This beginners guide to lean bulking will give you everything you need to see serious gains. A lean bulk is an essential way to see growth and one that is safe, healthy, and effective at that. Following the right tips can be of great assistance and give yourself the benefit of the doubt as you work hard and stick to the right lean bulking plan.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Westcott, Q. (2012). “Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health”. (source)
  2. Laursen, P.; et al. (2002). “The scientific basis for high-intensity interval training: optimizing training programmes and maximizing performance in highly trained endurance athletes”. (source)
  3. Pasiakos, S.; et al. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.