Building Lean Muscle to Create a New Physique

First thing you need to know is that you will be in a surplus. So what happens when you are in a surplus?

You improve your strength and/or physique You eat above your maintenance calories (usually high carbs too) Your body fat will increase Some of your clothes won’t fit The number on the scales will increase (but do not focus on this alone)

Your lean muscle mass will increase


You should also be aware that you need to be patient during this phase. Changing a body composition is a slow process. It usually takes 4 months at a minimum to start to seeing any major changes. The more time you give yourself the better results; 6 months is a better option and 12 months is an ideal time frame.

During your building phase you should definitely have a plan and stick to it..

For example; if you wanted to compete in a bikini/fitness competition or for someone who just wanted to build lean muscle and drop the body fat....

I would recommend to dedicate 2 months to fat loss which puts your body in an optimal start for hypertrophy and muscle building.

Then spend 2-4 weeks focusing on posture and corrective training. This is to make sure that you are lifting correctly before adding some serious weights.

Next phase would be strength base training for 3 months with the goal to increase strength and build shape. Calories would be in a surplus to assist in achieving this goal. A reverse diet (ie. gradually increasing calories each week) would be optimal here so not to increase body fat.

Then to achieve a physique that is required to compete, a cut is implemented here that lasts over a 12-20 week period. Calories are in a deficit (with diet breaks scheduled when required). The main goal here is to maintain as much muscle as possible while the body reduces fat. This is where the body really starts to change shape.

After comp, a reverse diet would be implemented with the goal to bring calories back to a maintenance level. Training would change from high volume training to strength. Main focus would be reversing out of the metabolic negative adaptation that has occurred while being in a calorie deficit for a long period of time (this is why you shouldn’t be a in a deficit for a long time). Goals here would be to improve energy levels, stabilise hormones/metabolism, improve sleep & good digestion.

So main take away points to remember here are:

1. Building shape takes a LONG TIME

2. You need to be patient

3. You need to have a plan

4. You need to be ready to put on some body fat

5. You need to know that the number on the scales will increase

6. You need to put in some serious work, time and effort to make sure everything happens (the longer the better)

Do all this and you will reach your goals and you will be amazing!!

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Merri's Nutrition & Fitness

Hi there! My name is Merri Van Lierop and I am a qualified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, diet and nutrition coach and busy Mum creating wholesome and delicious recipes. I have created Merri’s Nutrition and Fitness as a platform where everyone can be educated on what is the correct way to eat a nutritious and balanced diet while reaching and maintaining their health and fitness goals. 

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