Do you want to build a booty and get stronger thighs, but still aim for that tiny waist?


The thing is, gaining muscle and losing fat are diametrically opposite processes and most people tend to focus on “bulking up”. Once they have gained some muscle, their next goal is to lose the excess fat that has accumulated in their body - commonly called “shredding”.




Traditional bulking – two steps forward, one step back

Almost like an old-fashioned dance - 2 steps forward, one step back! For every couple of pounds of muscle gain, you’ll lose a pound when you go on your lean diet - this is a whole lot of wasted time, effort, energy and not to mention money!


Building muscle requires a caloric surplus; you go into the gym, lift heavy to stimulate muscle growth and eat like a starving horse. Those extra calories go toward fuelling the repair process and building more muscle - it’s a slow and arduous process, meaning as your muscles grow, so do your fat stores.


Losing fat and getting lean means eating less & training more. Naturally, this causes fat loss but also, because of the calorie deficit you are under, you end up losing some of your precious muscle too!


Girls, the typical bulking-then-shredding process may be your faster route to a bigger booty. However, you will also sacrifice a leaner build in other places of your body. Read on to see how you can build muscle without having to sacrifice!


3 rules to build muscle without fat

1. Increase your caloric intake slightly

Initially, increase your caloric intake by around 200 calories a day, above maintenance. That way, you have enough energy to repair and build muscle but not so much that you’ll gain lots of fat. If you aren’t gaining weight after a couple weeks, add another 200 calories a day. You should be looking to gain around 0.5 pounds/250 grams per week.


You may be tempted to increase this number even more so that you can quickly build muscle. Remember that it is more important to develop slow, steady changes to your body so that you can maintain these changes later in the long term. You also don’t want to be gaining fat faster than you are gaining muscle.


Also, don’t forget to take your extra calories straight after your workout. This is when your body is best able to make use of additional calories! Think of this rule as unbreakable; get your post-workout feed on as soon as you finish your last set. Calories ingested at this time are going to be used by your muscles for repair and nourishment, rather than deposited into your fat stores.


2. Reduce your calorie intake to maintenance on non-training days

If you aren’t working out that day or if you’re having a rest day, you don’t need a calorie surplus. For starters, you wouldn’t have burnt the 400+ calories through your workout. As such, you wouldn’t have that extra 200-400 calorie leeway for that day! Eating less on non-training days can save you from gaining anything up to a pound of fat that week!


And don’t fall into the whole “I’m not fat, I’m bulking” mindset.


Your extra calorie intake should be based off clean foods, not fast food and donuts! This will help you gain muscle, not fat. Clean means lots of lean protein, veggies, whole grains and healthy fats. Think avocado, beans, chia seeds, tofu, etc.! Remember, you are what you eat. If you want to look great, then you gotta eat great!




3. On training days, increase your carb intake, on rest days reduce carbs and increase protein


Protein has a high thermogenic effect, which simply means that consuming protein uses more energy to digest than eating carbs. You need carbs for energy on training days, but on the days where you aren’t burning this off, the excess may be stored as fat.


So, what about cardio?


Another good question. Personally, I like to focus on lifting weights to build muscle. Cardio is great for when you want to lean out and burn that extra bit of stubborn fat. If you feel you need to do lots of cardio to control fat gain, you need to eat focus on the nutrition side of things, NOT do more mindless stationary cycling. If you need help with your diet, be sure to check out my meal plans - you can choose the meal plans suited to your goals (plant-based, regular, muscle gain, weight loss, etc).


You can also add different forms of cardio into your workout routine - sprints, high-intensity interval training, etc. Steady state cardio can have a catabolic effect on your muscle gains. Aim for 20 minutes and this should be sufficient!


You’ll need to exercise both your patience and your muscles, but it’ll be worth it in the end! In the long run, you won’t have to go through an incredibly lean diet, which can be quite hard to sustain for lots of girls.

Consistent, clean eating paired with weight training will help you achieve your goals without having to put on fat during the process! In other words, when summer rolls around, you might not even have to ‘diet’ at all! Remember, if you’re looking for structured meal plans, check it out here, and for training programs, click here.


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