The Stark Differences Between Lean and Bulk


There are some huge differences within the world of muscle building, many of which have to do with our particular body type. Each of us has a different genetically pre-disposed tendency for ability to build bulk muscle, and it varies widely from person to person. A naturally mesomorphic body type will have an easier time packing on lean or bulk muscle, but must watch not to build too much mass (unless that’s what they’re going for) where a endomorph who is more toward the average body type will tend to lose weight before any growth in muscle occurs. At the other end of the spectrum are the naturally thin ectomorphs, who are unlikely to ever develop bulky muscles as seen with pro bodybuilders, even as they get stronger. They can however, build a nice set of toned and lean muscles quite nicely due to a natural lack of fat typified by this body type. If you are female and find yourself among the mesomorphs who naturally build up bulk, this can be a problem. Livestrong wrote an article with tips on how to lose muscle bulk for just this purpose.

Something else to consider when thinking about body type and building muscle, is whether you’re doing it purely for aesthetic purposes or if you want a more functional and lean look. (Picture an Olympic swimmer). Building bulk muscle does not directly correlate with being healthy however, as evidenced by this article. It describes issues dealing with low hormones, wrinkly elephant-like skin, and dehydration common in bodybuilding. This is not to say the pursuit of bulking up is not without merit, just that it should be done safely and gradually, without the use of steroids or protein powders, both of which do your body a huge disservice. Using programs designed to develop your own personal dimensions into healthy and functional muscles with low body fat are one of the best ways to go about building from scratch.

It might surprise you to learn that many people men and women alike do not find the image of the typical bodybuilder attractive. If aesthetics is your primary goal, aiming for something a bit larger than a typical swimmer is about right. What a bodybuilder is doing, is reshaping their body to maximize muscle, minimize fat, and focus on symmetry and proportions as much as possible. They are making an artwork of sorts, a sculpture of their muscles for display. Since most of us aren’t looking to become competitive bodybuilders, shaping muscles purely for purposes of bulk has enough downsides to not be worth the effort.

Big bulky muscle means a loss in flexibility due to all the extra bulk. Muscle is heavy and dense, it does not give, so even if you stand with your feet together, your thigh muscles will keep them at shoulder width. It looks unnatural and unappealing, which can affect your social life in numerous ways. It means long hours at a gym grinding day after day to get that mass in the first place, and you will likely find yourself bored eventually by the rinse and repeat that is necessary for building up all that bulk. There is no variation, or very little from one week to the next, so it can be hard to want to continue.

For those who absolutely want to be completely ripped and cut beyond that of a lean body, it can be helpful to learn some of the expert tips that help go the extra mile, even if competition isn’t in your plans. There are also some benefits to big muscles, like the fat loss factor. Muscle gain means higher metabolism which equates to fat loss. It also makes you feel great about yourself watching your body transform in the mirror. You’ll see rather quick results using programs like the one above, it just requires quite a bit of maintenance to keep that look. Big muscle means focusing on one body part for every session usually, though you can mix two connected parts like back and shoulders, or biceps and lats. By dedicating two days every week to each muscle set, you’re going to begin seeing the results rather quickly. Doing this means some parts will grow unnaturally bigger compared to some others, leading you to work on the rest as you go.

Another thing to consider is the personal ideals for your body. We may see a photo in a magazine, or on television depicting a man in what seems to be the prime state of masculinity, and decide right there and then we must build to that level, and make that our goal, not considering for even a moment that we may not even have that body type, or the genetics to pull off the perfect symmetry commonly found in male models. A great way to see all the many variations that our bodies can have including limb length, where muscles start and end, and even how many heads are within our biceps can be read on the Bayesian Bodybuilding site which also helps to make understood other issues men who seek a bodybuilding career must deal with, or sacrifice for the sake of competition. Gynomastia is just one, where breast tissue forms and must be removed. As with anything you do for your health, be sure your plan is a complete map to where you really want to be before you even take that first step.

On the opposite end, lean muscle is not just considered to be the most physically and aesthetically attractive, it is also widely considered the most healthy overall. Full body exercises help to build lean muscle by incorporating things like swimming, sprinting, yoga, eating well, and doing exercises like squats, pushups, dead-lifts, and overhead presses. Lean muscle comes with no disadvantages, but the advantages are many. A few of them are: They make you stronger – full body workouts give the movement that allows for both strength as well as speed and endurance. You become more flexible by doing body weight workouts using resistance training and yoga, as well as running or sprinting. There is a ton of variety in the exercises you can perform, so there’s no boredom involved, and nearly always a new way you can workout. There’s less overall time spent in a gym because most of the exercises you need to do can be done at home, or you can opt for classes to join in with others for fun and health purposes. You will gain a more natural body shape with lean and long arm and leg muscles. It also aids in long term fat loss, which is shown to be the only way that fat loss lasts. The Los Angeles Times printed an article that details even more research regarding the benefits of strength training, and is well worth the read.


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