The difference between "bulking" and "building muscle"

Since her "big reveal" last year, Megan has worked hard to build more muscle without adding any body fat

Bulking (verb): Eating lots of junk food and letting yourself get fat (and hopefully building some muscle in the process). No data is collected because every day is different, hence there is no accurate form of measurement to ensure the process is successful. Also known as throwing shit at the wall and hoping something sticks.

Building muscle (v):
Eating in a slight calorie surplus by consuming a high volume of nutrient-dense food in order to build muscle without putting on any extra body fat. Calories are controlled and regularly measured for the purpose of systematic increases. Relevant data is collected at each stage to monitor the variables and adjust the outcome.

In the last 12 weeks before the photo on the right, Megan ate in a calorie surplus every day and only put on 900g

This is Megan.

After winning the prestigious MP Female Trainer Transformation Award last year, Megan set her sights on bringing an even better and more muscular physique this year. And so her goal for this latest 12 week program was to put on a little extra muscle without putting on any body fat. In particular, she wanted to develop some extra muscle in her glutes, upper back and shoulders. 

In order for her to do this, she needed to eat in a calorie surplus every day for at least 12 weeks. She chose her own foods and picked things she liked eating so she would stick to it every day and not deviate. We then measured the calorie intake against her minimum requirements and slightly increased her volume of food to ensure she stayed in a surplus. She was then required to accurately record how closely she stuck to the plan so we could measure the outcome. 

During the 12 weeks, she ate off the plan 8x times (and most of them were intentional, lol).

She also had a latte every day to help keep her calories high.

Megan ate on average 200-500 calories over her minimum requirement every day, but the key to staying lean was to make sure it always came from a high volume of nutrient dense, calorie sparse food. The X factor in every program isn’t to be perfect, but simply to be a little better than you were in the previous program. Hence, we regularly tracked her compliancy and adjusted accordingly.

Megan is now exactly 900g heavier and has made visible changes in her back, butt and shoulders. Which means we now move onto the final fat loss phase in the lead-up to her second big reveal!☺️👌🏻

Most girls are afraid to eat more food to build muscle, so they over-train and cut carbs instead. Megan is not one of those girls. ;-)

Megan says:

Being on a lean muscle mass program, my body was in the best state it’s ever been in.

Having a high volume of highly nutritious foods and a latte a day (lol) to keep those calories high I was nice and full, and because I wasn’t putting on excess body fat you could see more muscle definition forming. I felt great with no bloating or busting out of my pants which I was worried may happen.

I had no cravings therefore I could be super-choosy when it came to non-compliant meals. The meal would have to be planned or meaningful, e.g. wedding/birthday/special occasion or date night would be an appropriate time for a non-compliant choice and not “just because I feel like eating that”.

Megan's top 5x tips for building muscle without putting on body fat:

  1. Be in a routine first. Make sure you have your eating habits pretty well under control.
  2. Re-program your metabolism for at least 12 months, maybe even 2 years plus. Which ties into no.1, routine/addressing habits and getting your metabolism into a good state first.
  3. I got to enjoy a latte everyday to ensure those calories were up instead of using it as an excuse to eat crap cause you know “I’m bulking”. Which brings me to 4…
  4. I had wild cards for when it came to non-compliant meals, which gave me more control of when I chose to eat off the plan and didn’t. I assessed each opportunity and asked myself “Is this event/occasion or even this food in particular worth it?”
  5. Lastly even though I ate a high volume of food I never “stuffed” myself or forced any of the food in. I ate until I was full and satisfied.
Megan has a very strong support network at home with her partner Pete

Boring is best

At the Ab Factory, we don’t use fancy words such as “bulking” or “cutting”. We use simple, boring terminology such as “building muscle” and “losing body fat”. It's easier to understand and therefore simpler to follow. And we like things that are simple to follow. ;-)

Well done Megan, bring on your next big reveal!

Trish xoxo

PS: Read more about Megan here. 

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