Lean Muscle Vs Bulk Muscle – What’s The Difference?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on October 10 2020

 

Although people go to the gym for endless fitness goals, the very common goal of much would be either weight gain or weight loss.

While having a chat with some of our clients last evening, I was encountered with varied questions on supplements and fitness goals. All was fine, at last, came this one question, which made me pen down this article.

The question goes like this, could you please suggest some tips for gaining lean muscle and bulky muscle?

The question seemed very simple superficially, but I could definitely not aim to give a one-liner answer.

This article aims to provide an insight into whether there is something called a lean muscle and bulk muscle and tries to clear the misinformation about the same.

 

There Are No Different Types Of Muscle - All Muscle Is Lean Muscle

Let’s take an example of 2 people going to the gym, person A and person B who put in a similar effort at the gym but get different results. Person A may appear toned and lean while person B may appear bulky. To the eye of a common man who doesn’t understand that there is no such a thing called a  lean muscle and bulk muscle, it may look like the person A built lean muscle while the person B built bulky muscle. What’s the thing with this muscle type?

This is merely because person A has lower body fat which allows their new 10lbs of muscle to be more visible and toned. Person B, on the other hand, has a higher body fat percentage which causes their new 10lbs of muscle to be covered by a layer of fat. This is what causes person B to look bulkier.

What you should understand here is that it’s not the different types of muscle that were built in each case, it’s just a matter of one person having a higher body fat percentage than the other.

Basically, the term lean or bulky is objective, neither of them is bad.

From a biological point of view, it’s not the muscle that looks lean or bulky, when we say lean, it should be understood as the absence of fat.

 

The Different Body Types Predict How Much Muscle An Individual Can Build & How Easily

ECTOMORPHS: are naturally skinny. They have slight frames and small muscles. They also have a fast metabolism and tend to have trouble gaining weight, both fat and muscle. It’s easy for them to look toned but difficult for them to bulk up.

ENDOMORPHS: are people with large frames and put on muscle easily. They have a slower metabolism and can easily put on fat. Bulking is easier for them, but looking toned may seem challenging.

MESOMORPHS: are in the middle. They have medium-sized frames, broad shoulders and proportionately small waists. It’s easier for them to look toned or bulky.

 

Now, let’s understand the concept better…

 

 All Muscles Get Built Exactly The Same Way

There is a misuse of the term here…it’s not the lean muscle but the lean body mass what you must say. Similarly, it’s not the bulk muscle but the bulk body is the right term to describe your gains.

When you say lean body mass, it implies that you have gained weight from muscle and water and not body fat.

When you say bulk body, it means your muscles are covered in fat.

If you look lean or bulk, it’s not because you built a specific kind of muscle, but because of muscle and body fat composition.

 

Lean Body Vs Bulk Body

You should term as lean body if you want to look more defined and athletic and you should use the term bulk when you want to add muscle and body mass.

Lean body mass is achieved by losing fat as compared to gaining muscles. The amount and type of strength training required to achieve lean body mass are quite different from what is required in the bulking phase.

The bulk body is achieved by losing some fat and gaining a lot of muscles. It does not necessarily involve body fat until you reach the desired muscle mass.

Remember: Getting toned or bulky is a gradual process, you need to slowly reduce your calorie intake and not suddenly drop the calorie intake and vice versa holds good for bulking.

 

Lean Physique Requirement

  • Your calorie intake should be in deficit zone.

  • Protein shake should be sufficient to maintain your muscle mass.

  • Carb intake should be at a level that it supports your training, set the volume as high as possible but while still losing fat.

 

Bulk Physique Requirement

  • Your calorie intake should be in surplus range.

  • Protein intake should be at a level that supports your training, set the volume as high as possible but while still losing fat.

  • High carb intake as you would require maximum energy to carry through your strenuous strength training regime.

You can influence muscle development by adjusting the amount of resistance as necessary. In addition, your diet influences muscle growth, eating plenty of carbohydrates provide your muscles with ample energy to heighten performance and to add body mass.

 

Now, here’s the final big point that needs to be concluded…

It’s never the muscle itself of the type it supposedly is or isn’t that makes a person look lean or bulky… It’s just the amount of muscle you build, and the amount of fat that is or not covering it that creates the illusion…

Muscle is muscle, there is no such thing as lean muscle, bulky muscle or toned muscle… it’s all the same muscle that gets built the exact same way…

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