1 Reason For Excess Fat Gain While Bulking (Not Diet!)

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj on www.SeanNal.com – www.RealScienceAthletics.com,
and in this video of today I want to go over one less often discussed reason for excessive
fat gain during a bulking phase. Now, when most people think about the idea
of minimizing fat gains during a bulk it’s usually all centered around the nutritional
side of things, in particular moderating the size of the calorie surplus being used. Now, this is obviously hugely important. Your body can only make use of so many calories
over a given day for the purpose of building muscle, and if you go overboard with the size
of your surplus then the excess calories are just gonna be stored as fat. And I’d say in most cases there really isn’t
any need to be eating any more than about 300 calories above maintenance for a beginner,
around 200 for an intermediate, and even less for an advanced lifter, since the rate of
muscle growth is gonna keep slowing down the longer that you’ve been training. So, yes, keeping your calories moderated is
definitely a key aspect of carrying out a successful lean bulk. But it’s important to understand, too, that
what you do in the gym is also going to directly affect how much body fat you end up gaining. And I’m not talking about cardio, but instead
your actual weight training plan. Most people think it’s all just about diet
but you have to think about the logic of what it is that you’re actually doing in the gym. You’re lifting weights and breaking down muscle
tissue to stimulate a muscle building response and then you leave the gym and you consume
a surplus of calories that are going to be used to carry out the recovery and the growth
process, but the problem is that if your workouts aren’t being implemented properly for whatever
reason, maybe it’s too low of a training intensity, maybe it’s not enough total volume or frequency,
not applying progressive overload in the right way, then not only are you not gonna gain
a significant amount of muscle from your training but that extra calorie surplus that you’re
eating won’t have anywhere to go except your fat stores since the muscle building stimulus
from your training wasn’t strong enough. And this often gets exaggerated even further
since a lot of lifters go overboard on total calories as well. So they have a poorly structured training
program that doesn’t properly stimulate muscle growth, and then they’re stuffing their faces
with huge quantities of food, and weight gain shakes, and things like that, because they
think that that’s what they need to do in order to get really big. And as a result they end up going to the gym
consistently over the course of a few months and they end up gaining mostly body fat, which
is a really depressing situation since they then have to go through the whole process
later on of cutting in order to get rid of it. And I’ve been there myself before, which I’ll
talk about in another video soon, so I know just how frustrating and how tedious that
can be. Now, that’s obviously on the more sort of
extreme end of things. It’s not gonna be black and white like that
in most cases, but the bottom line is that if you want to not only maximize muscle growth
but also minimize fat gains so that the highest possible percentage of your gains are coming
in the form of lean mass, remember that moderating your calorie surplus isn’t enough, you also
have to be really diligent with your training and you have to make sure that everything
is properly set up so that the majority of the calories that you’re consuming are being
used for building muscle. And this is especially true if you’re more
toward the average to, maybe, slightly below average spectrum, in terms of muscle building
genetics, or if you’re in the forty-five to fifty plus age range where muscle building
becomes increasingly difficult. Now, I’m not gonna go into a bunch of details
here in terms of proper programming because that’s not the point of this video, but just
in terms of the basics, aside from using proper lifting technique you need to make sure that
your training intensity, your volume, and your frequency, or all at the proper levels,
and that you’re applying progressive overload as well. So in terms of intensity, as a general guideline,
I think going about one to two reps short of failure on most lifts most of the time
is a good approach. I’ve talked about this many times before,
and that level of intensity is high enough to trigger the muscle building response effectively
but it’s not so high that you’re gonna over stress your body or your joints and end up
limiting the amount of volume that you can use. Remember that training intensity is absolutely
primary. It’s the underlying stimulus that sets the
entire muscle building process into motion. So, that’s really the first thing that I would
look at in terms of structuring your training properly, because the bottom line is that
if you just aren’t training hard enough then your body’s not gonna have any incentive for
growth. Just going through the motions is not enough
if you really want to build an impressive physique, and challenging your body’s existing
strength capacity is what forces it to adapt to higher and higher levels. And then in terms of volume and frequency,
you’re gonna hear recommendations for this ranging all over the map, but I think that
assuming your training is centered around that one to two reps short of failure level,
you really don’t need to perform endless sets in the gym. Some people do well on really high volume
programs, but for the average natural lifter with average genetics, I think a good middle
ground approach works best. And I’d put that somewhere between 8 to 15
sets for large muscle groups per week in total, and between 4 to 8 sets for smaller muscle
groups. Because, keep in mind that most of your smaller
muscle groups are already gonna be hit to a certain degree during your compound lifts
for your larger muscle groups, and so they don’t require as much direct volume. I’m not saying that you can’t do more than
this, but I think that those ranges are gonna be about right for the average natural lifter. And you can then take those total volume ranges
and split it up between anywhere between one and a half to three direct workouts per muscle
group per week. It just depends what type of split you’re
following. And as a general template, I like the approach
of a full body workout three times a week for beginners, upper/lower 3 to 4 times a
week for intermediates, and then legs push-pull 4 to 5 days a week for more advanced lifters. Any of those splits can be used effectively
by anyone no matter what their experience level is, and there are definitely other ways
to break it up during the week as well, but that approach works really well as a basic
template to go by. And then, of course, once your intensity is
dialed in and you’ve got a proper plan in place in terms of volume and frequency, you
need to make sure that you’re applying progressive overload by aiming for consistent improvement
on your exercises from week to week. That’s what’s going to force your body to
adapt to greater and greater levels of stress and make sure that the calorie surplus that
you’re eating is being used to fuel those increases in muscle growth. As you get more advanced there are other methods
of progressive overload that you can use, but for the majority of lifters in the beginner
to intermediate staged, progressive tension overload is by far the most effective and
the most reliable method, which basically just means adding more weight to the bar over
time. So, train for additional reps to start once,
you hit the upper end of your rep range with a given weight, increase the weight the following
workout, train for reps again and then just keep repeating that process and making sure
that your form stays the same with each weight increase. And this is why writing your workouts down
is so critical as well, because that’s going to allow you to progress as efficiently as
possible and it’s also going to hold you accountable during every workout. So, those are just some of the basic fundamentals
to make sure you have in place, but the bottom line here is that minimizing fat gains during
a bulk is both a product of moderating your calorie intake as well as maximizing the effectiveness
of your weight training plan. Because that’s when it’s going to ensure
that the majority of the calorie surplus that you do consume ends up as lean muscle rather
than body fat. Having a poorly structured weight training
plan or being inconsistent with your workouts doesn’t just mean that you’ll see subpar muscle
gains but it also means that you’re gonna put on a disproportionate amount of fat as
well. So, thanks for watching, guys. I hope this was helpful. If you want to learn all the details behind
mapping out an optimal training and nutrition plan so that you can maximize your muscle
gains while staying lean at the same time, you can check out my Body Transformation Blueprint
by clicking up here, or visiting www.BTBluePrint.com, the link is in the description box. For those who are new to the channel my brand
new science-based pre-workout fish oil and multivitamin are also now available over at
www.RealScienceAthletics.com, the link for that is also in the description. And make sure to hit the like button, leave
a comment, and subscribe below if you haven’t already, in order to stay up-to-date on future
videos. Thanks for watching, guys. I’ll see in the next video.

57 thoughts on “1 Reason For Excess Fat Gain While Bulking (Not Diet!)

  1. Hey Sean little out of topic here but i think you could help me. If i do Deadlifts at the gym on Wednseday and i only have TUESDAY and THURSDAY to do sprints, which day should i sprint? for optimal gains and recovery from both weight training and sprinting?? PLEASE HELP!

  2. am following a ppl routine and include face pulls and cable side lateral raises however I am only concerned with asthetics and the overhead press is in my routine and wanted to change it to dumbell shoulder press instead for more effectiveness for hypertrophy. Would this be counter productive? Also the thumbnail ?

  3. If someone is over 110 kg , should you be focusing on pure cardio or combine it with weight training?
    I have a high bodyfat percentage and littel amount of muscelmass and i dont know what i should focus on.
    I do not have so much muscelmass on my body but i have a alot of bodyfat… i am 181 cm btw. (ENDORMORPH)

    Please Sean reply 🙂

  4. Great info. Seems like the biggest problem is that a majority of people don’t look at training or changing your physique as a long term project. Everyone wants to add 60lbs of pure muscle in a year or get shredded to the bone in a few months using crash diets.

    Also made me rethink the values of what a moderate bulk should look like. A 300 caloric surplus as a high end requires patience. But like you said, at least you know all the gains are mostly muscle.

  5. Should each compound lift set performed count as just a set for say, pecs in the case of the bench press, or should I also consider that a set for triceps or front delts? I try to do 10-15 sets per muscle group per week, but I find if I'm really doing that for each and every muscle group (pecs, delts, tri's, lats, traps, bi's, quads, glutes, hams, forearms)then I am spending endless amounts of time at the gym.

  6. So you've been inactive for some time and are now copying active youtuber videos but just putting it in your own words, as usual. unsubbed

  7. I am 43 y.o…can I still build muscle? I have trained 1.5 yrs but muscle grow very slow…any suggestion what kind on training suit to 40+ y.o ppl

  8. “Weight gainer” is a laughing stock… ps, would really love a detailed video on how to over come poor lat activation and what worked well for you in your own experience. Cheers fella

  9. what kind of exercise isnt good to do 1/2 reps before failure Sean? i usually get nervous doing this with dead lifts cause is a really delicate exercise

  10. Everything he says is 100% on point. Few years ago I started a serious bodybuilding regime. I basically trained every day, heave ass lifts and I ate like a pig. 30% healthy bulk and 70% dirty bulk. I also consumed 4000 to 4300 and maybe more per day in calories, when I should have consumed around 3100 to 3300. I did this for 3.5months.

    I went from 185lbs to 208lbs. Did I have muscles? Ohh yeah. I looked more bloated and beefcake like then rock solid. My strength was through the roof. I lifted weights I never though I could. My gut looked so swollen and put, I looked like a pregnant woman ready to burst.

  11. I would suggest not keeping the camera on your face most of the time…maybe for a bit of video it's fine ..otherwise it's gets really monotonous…I would suggest a video of exercising or something else…love the videos though..keep it up

  12. Hi Sean nice to see you back, you have always been good to your fans & kind enough to answer some of their questions. I am always confused with bulking to just gradually eating more after a couple of years long dieting, how long to eat & by how much weight is gained to call it a bulking phase? Like myself someone over 50 Y.O. who can't grow much muscle fast shouldn't be bulking because we're easier to get fat compare to a 30 Y.O.? Should I just gain only 2-3lbs a month instead? Is an older lifter less able to lean down after a bulking & turn that extra weight into quality muscles?

  13. Hey Sean, just a video idea since you seem level-headed enough to touch on the topic.

    The net positives of a healthy society. Ex: The U.K. has universal healthcare, but obesity is costing it billions, that could otherwise go to more difficult to treat diseases.

    Would be interesting to see your take on how fitness/nutrition relate to public health/politics, as a subject matter you cover one day.

    Thanks for the videos.

  14. Good information Sean! Can you make a video about how much time (Days or Hours) the muscles absorb nutrients and grow after a workout? I believe this could be a cause of gaining unwanted fat aswell. Keep the good work!

  15. Great info for we normals. Anabolic Aliens has started a bulk, cutting series that is very interesting. But you have to realize these guys are extreme!!! Of course we could use it for entertainment or actual work. Justs modify it for normals. Your info is always ready to use without modifying anything.

  16. An hour to an hour and a half of strength training 3 days a week, and an hour of LISS the other 3 or 4 days a week. Eat a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight or more. The LISS allows you to burn fat without harming your CNS recovery and to eat more if you have a large appetite. The protein fills you up and makes you reduce muscle loss in case you might burn too many calories.

  17. Is an antagonist muscle group split better than legs/push/pull for progressive overload?

    Chest & Back
    Lower body
    Shoulders & Arms
    Rest, Repeat


    Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
    Back & Biceps
    Rest , Repeat

  18. Just discovered you, and love the videos. Thanks : )) Do you live in Vancouver? It looked like it in one of your backgrounds.

  19. Hi Sean, I love your videos but this is my very first comment. I weight train for years but still didn’t find the sweet spot of my diet yet. I usually overtrain and don’t eat enough to grow. For couple of months I’ve been forcing myself to eat more and I am seeing results but I also see fat which it drives me crazy and that’s when I start cutting carbs and doing cardio resulting in losing all my gains ugh. In order for me to lower my bf and not lose progress should I lower my fat, my carbs or overall calories? Thanks

  20. You can never gain pure muscle and no fat…that's simply not possible…There comes a point where in order to get stronger…you need to be eating a bit more…those extra 200-300 calories…they help…but definitely will lead to some fat gain…..The leaner you are…the more noticable it is….I lose weight on 3300 calories a day…..I'm not big at all..in fact i'm very small…but i'm very active. It takes me 3700 calories a day to consistently gain weight on a weekly basis. I also get stronger every week the moment I start eating in a surplus…It's honestly that simple.

    People who are above 15% BF…should not consider eating in a surplus….The reason people don't have the physiques they want is because they severely underestimate how much fat they need to lose in order to reveal muscle. The average person is 18-24% BF……Getting down to 10-11% BF…you will reach a point where you don't look like you lift…and then suddenly…the subcutaneous fat will go and it will reveal your muscles….

  21. Very informative video Sean. Thanks. I'm trying to compress all of the volume you recommend into 3 workouts per week in order to allow time for other things in my life. Do you think this is sustainable or suicidal?

  22. I am watching a lot of your videos lately. Hope people are taking it all in as it's great free advice as well as no BS, no bells and whistles and straight to the point. Keep up the good work.

  23. It’d be great if someone could respond to this. I don’t have a gym near me or anything and so I made my own plan at home with some dumbbell usage. So my plan is Saturday and Monday is pushups and abs, ranging from 1-2hrs, but a must of over 1,500 pushups to failure and abs are my rests for pushups. Sunday and Tuesday are my leg days with dumbbells for squatting, deadlifting, and lunches, also abs for rests. Wednesday and Thursday are shoulders, biceps, and abs again. Fridays are my rest days with abs at night. For all these exercises I typically go to failure or close to failure, but my calories consumptions are over the roof with perhaps 500 calories? I was on a deficit for about 2 years and I got down to an 8% BF. Now it’s hard for me to eat, since I somehow have a huge appetite and my body doesn’t know when it’s full. Are these exercises too much or too little for the amount of calories I’m eating?

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