Does the idea of accumulating (unwanted) mass just to look good shirtless later disgust you? Do you hate being told you must gain fat to build muscle? Then welcome to the club.
“To get big you have to eat big.” We have all received that advice (for building muscle) at one point or another. It’s often followed by a command to adhere to the archaic Bulk & Cut Cycle.
If you’re as repulsed by such lame cookie cutter advice as I am, then I’ve got good news: despite being stated as fact, the bulk-cut cycle is as cheap, lazy, oversimplified, over-processed, and counter-productive as the junk mass gainer shakes it frequently comes packaged in.
On that note, those who diagnose your lack of muscle mass is caused by ‘not enough calories’ often have no qualifications except for a doctorate in Broscience. In other words, a fictitious degree that they flex on you for one reason, and one reason only…
To prescribe (peddle) overpriced, junk-laden MASS GAINER shakes
I vehemently disagree with their ways. And by the time you finish reading, you will too. Not because I’m particularly convincing, but because facts have a beautiful way of, well, you know, being true.
What This Article Will Teach You About Building Lean Muscle
The bulking then cutting method for attaining your dream physique (supposedly) requires two components: the bulk, which at its core is simply eating more than your body requires for optimal functionality. Then the cut, which as you might guess, is the exact opposite — eating under your daily needs.
Most supplement companies would have you believe mass gainer shakes will help you build muscle. Most companies are full of s***…kind of like their 1,000kcal Mass Gainer Shakes.
In this article, I’ll arm you with the knowledge necessary to forever put those corporate Broscience MDs in their place — the corner booth of a local fast food (obesity) joint.
It’s a pretty vast topic, and there’s a lot to touch on. So, for your convenience, here’s a friendly little list of what you’ll learn:
- History of Heresy
- Caloricentrism vs Biocentrism
- The (Many) Problems With “Bulking”
- Traditional MASS GAINER Shakes Are Killing Your Gains!
- The Pillars of Building Lean Muscle Mass
- The Powerful Solution (Other) Supplement Companies Don’t Want You To Know
A History of Heresy
On June 22, 1633, the Holy Inquisition convicted Galileo to be “vehemently suspect of heresy” based on his book, The Dialogue, which taught the heliocentric model was the only acceptable model of the universe. You might be familiar with heliocentrism. It’s the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the center of the Solar System. Its opposite was geocentrism.
On some random day in 2019, the Holy Fitquisition (might as well have) convicted Bucked Up of heresy and occultism based on the supplement, All Bulk No Bloat, which teaches the biocentric model is the only acceptable model of muscle growth and fat loss.
You might be familiar with biocentrism in ethics or cosmology, but you probably aren’t familiar with biocentrism in regard to health and fitness.
Biocentrism is the physiological model in which Muscle Growth revolves around the Four Pillars, residing at the center of the GAINZ System. Historically, biocentrism was opposed to caloricentrism, which placed Calories at the center.
The reason we, like our brother-in-gainz Galileo, have been so vehemently suspected of heresy is because All Bulk No Bloat’s biocentric model threatens to put the caloricentric model’s reign of tyranny to a swift and well-deserved end.
Caloricentrism: Problems of the Past
Despite everything we’ve been told, several studies over the years have shown that the failure rate with the whole calories in-calories out diet is somewhere around 99%.
In Joslin’s Diabetes Mellitus, it’s said that, “Reduction of caloric intake is the cornerstone of any therapy for obesity. However, none of these approaches has any proven merit.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m not looking to lose weight, I’m looking to build muscle!
If the calorie in-calorie out model has been shown ineffective for weight loss, then by whose logic would it possibly be effective for weight gain (especially when it comes to muscle weight)?
Only those with faulty logic. Those who put far too much weight in calories, and far too little weight in the pillars for fat loss and, more importantly, muscle gain — ahem, broscientists..
The Biocentric Model for Building LEAN Muscle MASS
The biocentric model (is actually not a fitness term at all, and I admittedly stole it from an existing term in ethics because I thought it sounded cool) is the belief that building muscle and losing fat actually comes down to what I recently mentioned.
The biological pillars that stand at the core of our quest for building. Essentially, the foundation. They are:
- Hormone Function
- Muscle Recovery
- Nutrient Utilization
In the following sections, I will go over some of the crucial roles these pillars play in supporting our fitness endeavors. In the process, I will unabashedly hammer away at the obscene nature of the caloricentric bulking-cutting diet.
WARNING: by the end of this article, it’s highly likely you never jump on a dirty bulk bandwagon again. Instead, you might just find yourself as a newly converted cult member. Don’t worry. We don’t drink Kool Aid. We drink ALL BULK NO BLOAT (for obvious reasons).
The First Pillar: Hormones
It’s no secret that hormones play a massive role in building muscle. After all, they dictate damn near everything else: cognitive function, mood, fat loss, energy, you get the idea.
There’s a long list of various hormones, all playing different roles in our bodies. Frankly, almost all of them play some part in muscle growth and fat loss. For sake of brevity, I’m going to focus on two of the biggest hitters.
- Augment Hormone
Hormone of Augmentation: Or, in other words, Gr[redacted] Hormone.
Augment Hormone (AH) is considered the master hormone when it comes to building lean muscle. I also had to switch from its real name. The reason being that the online thought police get upset about the word growth. Especially if a certain obvious word (h o r m o n e) is in the same sentence.
AH functionality is one of the most powerful ways to hack biology for maximizing results. Reason: it plays a vital role in many aspects of our lives, including: repairing healthy tissue in the brain and other organs, speeding up healing after an injury. AH can also help to speed up the process of repairing muscle tissue after exercise. This acceleration of muscle tissue repair is key for building muscle mass.
The problem with bulking to build muscle is that it can severely affect AH. Two of the ways in which bulking can impact AH levels are:
- Many bulks include frequent trips to fast food places, and ingestion of low-quality calories (e.g. mass gainer shakes).
- Even if eating mostly “clean” food, studies have shown that overeating in itself can suppress AH. (00)
We all know that fast food can lead to things like obesity, heart issues, and type 2.
Those of us who live an active lifestyle and regularly hit the gym aren’t really worried about that sort of thing. However, a paper published in the journal Environmental International recently introduced a new concern. It comes in the form of an annoyingly difficult-to-pronounce chemical: phthalates.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals often found in food packaging and other materials used in food processing. They’re incredibly useful in such areas. That being said, they can also be detrimental to fitness goals, as it’s thought that phthalates can actually disrupt hormones. One of them being those associated with the reproductive system — i.e AH.
But what if you’re meticulous about your bulk being “clean”?
Well, you still probably aren’t in the clear. For one, if you’re drinking pretty much any mass gainer shake, those things are often laden with crappy carbs that spike insulin and hold no real nutritional value. Now, spiking insulin post-workout can have some benefits, but there are many healthier options for doing so and even if you do go for some high glycemic post-workout, you never need 100g worth of the stuff! And, even if you do decide to go crazy with post-workout carbs…like…why would you ever pass up a delicious homemade muffin for freaking sugar powder? That’s blasphemous.
I digress. Overeating has been shown to markedly suppress the secretion of AH. That sentence might not be very digestible (like your mass gainer shakes), so let me quickly explain in English why that suppression is damaging your gains, using metaphor…
Let’s say your muscles are flowers, yearning to tear shirt sleeves and blossom into their true beauty. Now that we have that established, let’s also say that water is for plants what food is for muscles. Likewise, sunlight is the equivalent of hormones.
Most flowers need things like water and sunlight and whatever, right? So we know these three things:
- Muscles = Flowers
- Water = Food
- Sunlight = AH
I’m no botanist, but I think it’s pretty obvious that in order for flowers to grow, they shouldn’t be drowned in water. And (most of them) also shouldn’t be kept in the darkness. Overeating is simultaneously drowning and casting your muscles into that darkness, where they’ll never photosynthesize into their fullest pedally selves.
Testosterone: The King of Muscle Growth
As far as Testosterone goes, those who frequently participate in bulking, or getting fat in hopes of building muscles, are much more likely to find themselves hindering their goals instead of reaching them. The reason is because fat cells can (and often do) lock up free testosterone.
Think of it like this: your free testosterone is your wide receiver, and your fat cells are a combination of corners and free safeties. Optimally, when you throw some quality food to your free testosterone, it can catch and dash to the touchdown to deliver your body some points toward winning the game of gains.
However, the more fat you accumulate, the more defensive backs are allowed on the field. It can get to a point where it’s more like playing in a Turkey bowl where the opposing team somehow has thirty guys on defense, and they’re all locking up your receivers. Yeah, good luck with that…
That being said, obviously we need some fat for optimal performance; very few people can perform at max capacity when they’re in the ‘survival’ range of body fat percentages. Ideally, unless competing, you want to maintain body fat percentage ranges between athletic and fit (preferentially, “fit”)
|Women (% fat)||Men (% fat)|
This is a pretty simple percentage to attain and maintain. Especially since, when you’re at such levels, your testosterone can run freely.
Supplements Strengthen the First Pillar: Hormone Function
The right lean mass gainer supplements come with ingredients that can boost your testosterone’s performance, as well as help optimize your augment hormone functionality. One of the most powerful ingredients for this…
Glycine: Considered the “anti-aging” amino acid, studies have shown that Glycine can help enhance the secretion of the muscle augmentation hormone.
Second Pillar: Muscle Recovery (and Protein Synthesis)
Muscle recovery is far more than just being able to recover between workouts so you can perform at peak physical performance (it’s that too). It is one of the primary components in muscle growth. When it all boils down, the most simple and straightforward way to grow is a two step process.
- Tear: Most commonly performed with resistance training, when we train a muscle group to absolute failure, we induce a micro-tear. This micro-tear is necessary for developing lean muscle mass.
- Repair: Protein comes in and starts rebuilding muscle tissue, and upon doing so, the muscle fibers grow back stronger and larger, leading to hypertrophy.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle. What we want is for the protein to do one role, the role it was built for: to repair muscle protein fibers.
(Note: Carbohydrates and fats can play a critical role in recovery as well, but not in the same way. Post-workout we want to restore muscle glycogen. This replenishment can be accomplished via carbohydrates or, due to gluconeogenesis, with enough protein and fats. Having filled muscle glycogen stores aids in the recovery process, but it doesn’t require an excessive amount of glucose to accomplish this feat.)
Although a slight oversimplification, the most basic way to build muscle isn’t eating an excessive amount of food. It’s utilizing your food and nutrient timing appropriately to optimize the process necessary for hypertrophy to occur.
We need either carbs or fat (or a mix of both) to keep our bodies fueled during daily activity. The body’s preferred source of fuel is glucose, and for daily activity that’s pulled from liver glycogen. If keto-adapted, we will rely on ketones as opposed to liver glycogen.
Whichever route you go, the important part is to keep your nutritional protein working toward repairing muscles. That means eating enough of the other nutrients to where your body doesn’t need to tap into amino acids for energy.
And as for ingredients that can largely, positively impact your body’s ability to recover:
The tried, the true. L-Glutamine is perhaps one of the most epic supplements to ever be utilized by those building their dream physique. L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It can be found in muscle tissues, plasma, and much more.
Strenuous exercise (like weightlifting) can deplete our L-Glutamine stores. This is suboptimal, since L-Glutamine plays a significant role in muscle recovery. Supplementing with L-Glutamine can provide serious benefits in many areas. Most importantly, accelerating muscle recovery.
Hailed as one of the most legendary supplements for encouraging muscle growth, and overtraining prevention, HMB is an active anabolic compound found in skeletal muscle, and is also formed through transamination of leucine.
More importantly, it’s as close to a magical recovery potion as a person can get without feeling guilty. Numerous studies have been conducted to showcase this powerful supplement’s efficacy in helping athletes achieve their dream physiques.
Alpha Ketoisocaproic Acid (KIC):
You’ve probably heard about leucine before; belonging to the trio of amino acids found in any quality BCAA, it’s considered the most powerful of the three. KIC is leucine’s metabolic intermediate. It comes into play through something called transamination, a metabolic reaction that involves a transfer of an amino group from one molecule to another.
Sure, that knowledge is cool, but who cares? Well, if you’re interested in something that’s been recognized as a potent anticatabolic compound for about 40 years, then…you do. Many studies suggest KIC is responsible for decreased proteolysis (catabolism) observed with leucine supplementation. You’ll hear a bit more about why having an anticatabolic compound is such a powerful tool in a second. For now, just remember this: KIC is OP when it comes to muscle recovery. Oh, and interesting note: when in combination with HMB, KIC has been shown to greatly reduce exercise induced muscle damage (so, doubly effective).
Also known as leucic acid, HICA is an anti-catabolic and anabolic agent. Studies have shown HICA to boast benefits highly valuable for gainz. To name one: increased lean body (muscle) mass.
Another benefit shown is an overall decrease in DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in as short as time as the third workout during the first week of trials. In other words, on this day (and others), gains shall be made.
Protein Synthesis for Gains
By now, you know the interplay between muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown is one of the key factors in whether you are successfully building muscle or not.
For a lot more detail about protein synthesis, check out this article. For just a little more detail about protein synthesis: protein synthesis is the process of your body using amino acids found in protein to build new muscle. Throughout the day, we fluctuate between two states:
- Building — also known as protein synthesis or “anabolism”
- Breakdown — also known as catabolism
Despite what many of us have been taught, catabolism isn’t some evil overlord robbing us of our gains. For example, rigorous training is catabolic, since you’re inflicting damage on the muscles — breaking them down. Afterward, however, the body almost immediately shifts into hyper-anabolism and starts healing itself, soaking up the quality nutrients you intake like crazy. You know this as the anabolic window.
Catabolism is the precursor to anabolism. Catabolism is not a problem until it occurs more frequently — and at unwanted times — than anabolism. As such, it’s the interplay between these two states that largely determines muscle growth.
The greater the rate of protein synthesis to muscle protein breakdown the more effective your body will be at building muscle.
The thing about a bulking diet is that more often than not, it overlooks just how crucial protein synthesis is, and even those that do get enough protein often aren’t ingesting quality protein.
Like, let’s say McDonald’s is on the menu, because you are bulking and “need” all the nutrients possible; not only are you ingesting a food that will spike insulin (more on that in a second), you are also taking in subpar protein, that likely doesn’t have that great of a bioavailability.
But, little did you know, there are actually some truly powerful ingredients out there that can seriously increase protein synthesis.
Phosphatidic Acid powerfully activates what we nerds call the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. mTOR regulates protein synthesis, leading to ingested protein being translated into new muscle (due to accelerated muscle protein synthesis).
On top of that, recent studies show that Phosphatidic Acid may reduce muscle protein breakdown.
Now in English — for those of you who aren’t native to the language of nerd — think of your dream physique as the mansion you are trying to build. The labor force you hired is Muscle Protein Synthesis, and everyday they work tirelessly stacking one brick after another to get the job done. But you have opposition: a gang of misfits known as Muscle Protein Breakdown. This gang takes a brick every time your labor force lays one down.
Phosphatidic Acid is the equivalent of giving your entire labor force a super soldier serum, dialing all their (muscle) building skills to the max. As a result, the gang of muscle protein breakers have no hope of stopping progress and your dream physique becomes reality.
L-Alanine plays a role on the regulation of protein synthesis in the liver. Through its benefits (promoting polyribosomal aggregation accompanied by a decrease in the polypeptide chain elongation time) it has gained some notoriety as a vital player in the body’s protein biosynthesis.
Still often underutilized, L-Alanine is the unsung hero for those on a quest for building lean muscle mass. In other words, make sure you have a supplement in your stack equipped with L-Alanine.
Pillar Three: Nutrient Absorption (Utilization) & Glucose Uptake
Contrary to popular belief, absorption and digestion are two very different processes.
- Digestion is a mechanical process of breaking foods down into food molecules.
- Absorption is a cellular process, the utilization of broken down food molecules.
So, when we digest food, we’re making it small enough so that our body can absorb and then utilize those nutrients, pulling them out of our digestive system into the bloodstream. This is a pretty complex process.
One major component of optimal absorption (digestion aside), is what’s called Glucose Uptake. Primarily it comes down to what are called glucose transporters. There are about fourteen transporters, but for our purposes, the four primary ones are called GLUTs. Each of these GLUTs has a specific tissue distribution.
To think about Glucose Transportation in a way that doesn’t require a background in endocrinology…
Glucose transporters are similar to a delivery service.
The food you eat is a combination of Bucked Up orders you recently placed to get shipped as gifts to friends and family (i.e. brain, fat, muscles). After the processes that take place in the warehouse, and then in local post offices, your products get loaded onto the truck, which then delivers your generous gifts to their destinations.
Each of these distribution trucks is a GLUT. (For example, the transporter GLUT4 is dedicated primarily to delivering glucose to your muscle tissue.)
Now, we’ve all fallen victim to ordering something from a company on Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) in hopes of receiving it by a certain date. However, during this time, companies both big and small get overwhelmed with orders, leading to significant order delays.
Like a company warehouse, an insulin-healthy body can easily handle the moderate amount of quality nutrient being ingested.
But, when you switch to a caloricentric-based bulk, and start gluttonously guzzling down gratuitous amounts of (often empty) calories, you overwhelm your system with orders, which means your body’s warehouse gets backed up, your GLUTs have too many packages to deliver and not enough drivers, and…
Surprise! Your orders get delayed. So now, instead of making the gainz you set out for, you’re just stuck with excess fat.
This is, obviously, suboptimal. But wanna know what’s the opposite of suboptimal? Prioritizing nutrient utilization, and making sure your delivery system is on point.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Because of its ability to activate an enzyme known as AMPK, Alpha Lipoic Acid can increase your uptake of glucose from the blood to provide energy to cells. And since cells require “energy” to do anything from training hard to recovering, you want that uptake as efficient as possible.
An amino acid found in many foods, many researchers refer to Taurine as a ‘wonder molecule.” It helps to regulate hydration, directing hydrating nutrients to wherever they’re most needed at any given time, while also regulating fat molecules for improved energy production.
Pillar Four: Physical Performance & Mitochondria Function
Saving the best, and perhaps most obvious for last…
In order to build muscle, you must be performing at a level equal to your goals. The more ambitious your goals, the more effectively you must perform.
You can’t just go to the gym, get a lazy lift in, then guzzle down an excess of calories, and hope to build your dream physique.
What you need is to increase your average — or baseline — performance level.
If we look at ourselves like RPG characters in a video game, then it’s easy to imagine that we’re all given a set of Base Stats.
Although food can have an impact on our stats, unless we’re talking about it as a long-term change and habit, most food is more like a buff or debuff (in RPGs, buffs and debuffs are temporary changes that can be either positive [buff] or negative [debuff]).
Let’s say we all have a stat called “Performance.” What we truly want is a method that will essentially raise our Base Performance Stat.
This is where mitochondria function comes in. Often referred to as the “powerhouse of the cell”, Mitochondria are organelles within the cell that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy source used by the cell. If you want to learn more about how ATP works, check out this article.
For now, it’s most important to understand that optimal mitochondria function is crucial for literally everything, specifically athletic performance.
In order to increase your Base Performance Stat, you must maximize the efficiency of your mitochondria. This can be done via diet, as well as supplementation.
Mitochondria Function: Diet and Supplementation
What’s interesting about mitochondria function is that diets involving (healthy) caloric restriction can actually boost mitochondrial functionality. This can be attributed, at least partially, to an increase in bioenergetic efficiency. Caloric restrictions trigger adaptations in mitochondria such as; elimination of damaged mitochondria and production of new mitochondria. Constantly eating at a massive caloric surplus is kind of the opposite of that. It’s possible that a constant overload of food can inspire apathy in the mitochondria.
Regarding supplementation, there are some super powerful ingredients and supplements around that have been shown to boost mitochondria function — and as a result, athletic performance.
Creatine: You can ask anyone, creatine is king when it comes to reliable, trusted supplements. Hundreds of studies have been performed, showing that the way creatine works to enhance mitochondria function (and therefore boost ATP) can improve strength, power output, and even cognition. It can also help with cellular hydration, and inhibit myostatin (myostatin is a protein in the body that signals the breakdown of muscle mass).
Magnesium: Along with several other duties, Magnesium is tasked with helping the body synthesize ATP.
Alpha Ketoisocaproic Acid (KIC): You probably recognize this one from earlier. However, it needs to be mentioned again here, because of its ability to mitigate muscle fatigue onset and the force attenuation experienced during high-intensity training.
And, since I’m already repeating myself, here are some other familiar supplements (from earlier) that can boost athletic performance.
All Bulk No Bloat (Zero Calorie LEAN MASS Gainer) Combines the Four Pillars of Muscle Growth
Now, for the solution to all your problems…
Well, a solution to all the problems that actually matter. You know, like the fact that you’re so desperate to finally see results in the gym that you just spent ten minutes reading this article.
Here it is…
The BIG PAYOFF…
ALL BULK NO BLOAT.
Look, I could go into some long description about why you need this ZERO CALORIE LEAN MASS GAINER, I could brag about how revolutionary this formula is, and I could even hammer it down that Bucked Up is the only company with such an obscenely powerful supplement for those who need to get bigger without accumulating fat. But, I would just rather trust that you’re smart enough to come to the conclusion all on your own.
So, keeping in mind all the pillars of muscle growth:
- Hormone Optimization
- Muscle Recovery
- Nutrient Utilization
- Physical Performance
And, also keeping in mind all the supplements I told you about for strengthening said pillars…
Let’s take a look at the divinely inspired ingredients found in ALL BULK NO BLOAT.
- Mediator® Phosphatidic Acid: mTOR (or the human tested, clinically proven trademark, “MEDIATOR”) regulates protein synthesis, leading to ingested protein being translated into new muscle (due to accelerated muscle protein synthesis). On top of that, recent studies show that Phosphatidic Acid may reduce muscle protein breakdown
- Glutamine: increase athletic performance, boost metabolism, improve muscle recovery and build muscle
- HMB: Prevents overtraining and muscle waste
- Creatine Monohydrate: Increase strength and power output
- Betaine Anhydrous: Shown to improve body composition, and help with muscle growth+fat loss.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: Shown to increase glucose uptake in the cells, therefore improving muscle performance, and insulin utilization.
- Glycine: The “anti-aging” amino acid, Glycine helps enhance “g” hormone secretion.
- Taurine: Helps to regulate hydration, directing hydrating nutrients to wherever they’re most needed at any given time, while also regulating fat molecules for improved energy production.
- Magnesium: Plays a vital role in the synthesis of the body’s currency of energy — ATP
- Alanine: A vital player in the body’s protein biosynthesis, L-Alanine is a powerful nutrient for those seeking muscle growth.
- HICA: Also known as leucic acid, HICA is an anti catabolic and anabolic agent. Reduce catabolism, increase anabolism, make gains
- Alpha Ketoisocaproic Acid: Mitigate muscle fatigue onset and the force attenuation experienced during high-intensity training.
Get All Bulk No Bloat
ALL BULK NO BLOAT is the closest science will ever come to touching the occult.
A fusion of evil mastermind and mysticism, ABNB is proof that alchemy is possible.
Embrace Heresy. Join the All (lean) Bulk Cult. We have jackets. Okay, that’s a lie, we don’t actually have jackets, because it’d be blasphemous to dishonor the master gem of muscle building with silly attire.
We wear cloaks. Typically with the shirt sleeves torn off, because, you know, All Bulk No Bloat blesses us with such mystic gains that we can’t stop growing. It’s a high quality problem.
So, if you’re sick of your low-quality problems or you’re just over the ridiculous bulking cutting cycles, then yeah. Consider this your pamphlet. And right here is your entry application.
Please note: rituals are held at the squat rack every full moon. We will be handing out post-workout servings of ABNB afterward, but you must bring your own shaker, because we care about the environment. Additionally, because you must partake of the mythical All Bulk No Bloat on an empty stomach, such rituals will be brutal and will require sacrificial offerings of blood, sweat, and tears dropped into crystalline vials.