Intermittent Fasting Tips for Lean Bulking

Intermittent fasting is often believed to be only applicable for weight loss. Did you know, though, that it also goes hand-in-hand with lean bulking? This contradicts conventional wisdom in bodybuilding circles where prolonged periods without eating will cause your muscles to shrivel to the size of prunes. We encourage you to continue to fast even when transitioning to a muscle building phase. We’ll provide some fasting tips to help you manage the process. For those that are shifting from fat loss to lean bulking, there may be an adjustment period. These three hacks should help with the ebb and flow of the transition.

Consider These Fasting Tips for a Lean Bulk

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Eat More Fat

A lean bulk phase means you have to eat more. Often, this entails a calorie intake of 3,000 to 4,000 calories or even more. For those trying to gain muscle for the first time, they may not be accustomed to eating that much. Intermittent fasting may make the process more difficult since you have a smaller window for eating. This means you have to eat larger portion meals, sometimes as high as 1,500 calories in one sitting.

If you’re a burly quarterback, then this won’t be an issue. However, for the average mortal or skinny guy, that amount might be difficult.

To increase calories, don’t be afraid to consume more fat. There seems to be this idea that fats have to be kept to a minimum during a lean bulk. Supposedly, if you eat fat, you get fat since fat is the most easily stored macronutrient in the body.

Remember, though, that it all comes down to a calorie surplus. If you eat more than your body needs to put on muscle, you’re going to put on fat whether the calories primarily come from fat, carbs, or protein.

Here’s the deal: feel free to enjoy some fatty foods to help get in the calories. Fat, after all, is more calorie-dense than protein and carbs.

Go ahead and add an avocado, whole milk, or coconut oil dip for the bread. We recommend keeping the fat to about 30% to 35% of your total caloric intake during a lean bulk.

2. Don’t Obsess About Always Eating Clean

Forget about limiting your meals to chicken breasts, brown rice, and bland tuna sandwiches. We’re not undermining the importance of sticking to lean meats, whole fruits, and healthy carb sources. However, allow yourself to indulge by having foods that would normally be limited to a once-a-week cheat day.

Yes, we’re saying you can have pancakes, Corn Pops, a Big Mac, or grande size nachos. We’re not saying these should consist of every meal, but you may certainly consume just enough to satisfy your cravings without feeling guilty for it.

What we’re saying is that your diet doesn’t have to be so rigid to the point where having even an Oreo cookie is a sin. This flexibility prevents you from caving into your cravings where you may binge eat all the wrong foods.

As long as you’re working out in accordance with the Kinobody program, most of your gains will be from solid muscle mass.

This is certainly one of our favorite fasting tips because it’s not ultra-restrictive. It’s absolutely acceptable to enjoy a slice of cake at a birthday party, or have a drink at a social outing.

We suggest reading Kinochef for delicious and muscle-building recipes that are perfectly compatible with lean bulking.

3. Don’t Obsess About Meal Timing

Some people think they can only eat when it’s time to eat. They may end their fast and eat their lunch at 3:00pm, have lunch at 8:00pm, and that’s it. They don’t eat anything in between or after because it’s not “meal time.”

This makes no sense especially on a lean bulk. You should absolutely consume smaller snacks outside your regular lunch and dinner. This doesn’t even have to be a conventional meal. You can consume a few granola or meal replacement bars along with a piece of fruit. This requires no preparation, and you get in some wholesome calories.

You can also eat before bed and snack on some English muffins and even a lightly-sweetened chocolate bar. Yes, it’s okay to have carbs before bedtime.

Why Kinobody Is Ideal for Lean Bulking

The reason Kinobody works is because it’s adaptable for most lifestyles. In other words, you don’t have to drastically alter your schedule to accommodate your fitness activities. This goes for both the eating and workouts.

This is a huge contrast from the traditional bodybuilding diet that commands eating six to seven meals a day. Some even recommend waking up in the middle of the night to get in an extra meal. Furthermore, you had to specifically eat the right foods. This means egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast, salmon and steamed veggies for lunch, and so forth.

This is barely feasible if you hold a full-time job or are a full-time student. Yes, it can be done, but it makes the whole fitness journey feel like an obligation.

This is also why we love intermittent fasting. From getting out of bed until your first meal (usually anywhere from four to eight hours), you have that timeframe to take care of other stuff besides preparing meals and stuffing your face. This doesn’t even take into account all the additional benefits you get out of fasting, such as a surge in growth hormones and greater mental clarity. It also reduces IGF-1 hormones, which are linked to certain diseases.

Work Out During Your Fast

Yet another one of our fasting tips is to work out in a fasted state. We know that this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Strength training on an empty stomach supposedly increases protein breakdown and have other muscle catabolic effects. However, this becomes a nonissue with a BCAA supplementation. BCAAs have been shown to increase protein synthesis, and there’s research that suggests it boosts metabolism.

Intermittent Fasting Increases Cortisol

Yes, you read that right; fasting elevates cortisol. Before you freak out, know that in this instance, cortisol is actually a good thing. When you fast, cortisol goes up and insulin goes down. This has actually been shown to accelerate how you lose weight. Cortisol only leads to the dreaded fat gain and muscle loss when insulin levels are also high.

Most hormones are neither good nor bad. Their characteristics depend on their environment. When cortisol levels are high and insulin levels are low, the latter produces hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). This is an enzyme that mobilizes fat stores so it can be burned for energy.

Intermittent Fasting and Lean Bulking Are Compatible

We know the last few sections were a bit of a rant. We didn’t mean to deviate from the fasting tips, but there’s so much material to discuss regarding fasting, lean bulking, and how the two go together like bread and butter. In any case, we hope you find this post enlightening and un-conditions you from some of the old-school bodybuilding wisdom.

Greg O'Gallagher

Greg O'Gallagher is the founder of Kinobody, a site dedicated to helping men and women achieve the lean, muscular, and aesthetic "Hollywood" physique. His fitness programs have helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and change their lives in the process.

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