Muscle Types, Bulk Vs Toned Vs Lean Muscle?

So you want to build (insert muscle type here) muscle. If you’re just guessing and have never researched muscle building you probably have no clue what exercises will build lean muscle and what exercises would build “bulky muscle”. I’ll give you a tip though, light weights don’t tone you up and really heavy weights don’t build muscle.

That’s a simple start no I’m going to redefine each muscle type:

By fat i mean the fat surrounding the muscle; your bodyfat percentage.

Bulky muscles = Lots of muscle, lots of fat

Toned muscles = Some muscle, little fat

Lean muscles = quite a lot of muscle, little fat

Now I’ve redefined each muscle type, you have to realise the the type of exercise you do doesn’t affect the type of muscle you build from a aestetic perspective. The type of exercise you do will affect the the performance type of muscle you do (even this is a theory) You can build type 1, type 2a or 2b muscle but they have zero affect on how you look, just on performance,click here to get a breakdown on the performance of muscle types.

Now What’s the best way to get the muscle you want, to save time, everyone should be on a muscle building programme to build as much muscle as possible, why? it’s obvious if you want to bulk up or get lean muscle, but for toning? Yes if you can build all the muscle you want to for toning up in a month it’s much better than spending a year. Building muscle isn’t easy, especially for girls so you wont accidently bulk up! If you do build too much muscle, it’s easy to lose you just stop weightlifting and it’ll go faster than you built it.

Now we know every type of muscle type needs to build as much muscle as possible, in your workout aim for 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets and 60 second rest. Make sure you cannot do anymore reps when you get to the end of your set, I recommend only using bad form or a spotter for the last two reps otherwise you could do harm, so reduce the weight. Just as important make sure the weight is heavy enough that you can’t do 13 reps, unless you have an injury preventing you from lifting any heavier.

The main factor determining what type of muscle you build is fat, which depends on diet, cardio and many other lifestyle factors affecting fat loss. I’ll go into extra detail below for each muscle type.

Bulky Muscles

Stick to your muscle building programme until you have as much muscle as you want, I guess you’re either bulking to cut or to become as strong as possible when you switch to a strength building programme. You might as well do 5-30 minutes of light-medium intensity cardio post workout to stop yourself getting fat, or do a 30-60 minute walk every day. The main way to get huge muscles is to eat 1000-2000 calories over sustaining or more, to build more muscle make it a healthy bulk as you’ll build more muscle and less fat.

Lean Muscle

Stick to your muscle building programme until you have as much muscle as you want (this could be forever) if you don’t like following a bulk/cut cycle then this is for you, eat 25-750 calories over sustaining and do intense 5-30 minute cardio after your muscle building workout and a 30-60 minute walk every day not on an empty stomach, if you want to lean more towards building muscle you might want to do less intense cardio after your workout, you will gain a bit more fat but your muscle gains will be faster.

Toned Muscle

You’re lucky, you have a limited amount of muscle you want to build, again stick to your muscle building programme until you have as much muscle as you want, it might take a few weeks or a few months, eat 250 calories over sustaining, do 30 minutes of intense cardio after a workout and 30-60 minutes of walking every day. To sustain your toned muscle and not bulk up afterwards, try a strength training programme of 2-3 reps of 2-3 sets and eat a normal calorie diet, keep the cardio after your workout or just the walk, both will be enough to stop fat gain. Chances are when you start “toning” you’ll be happy with adding more and more muscle without making it look abnormal, so you’ll keep it up longer than you expect.

You can leave the gym altogether once you gain enough muscle but you’ll lose muscle over time and gain fat easier. If you accidently “bulk up” with muscle and fat which isn’t possible in my opinion, stick to cardio and eating sustaining calories you’ll lose the muscle you want to.

That’s all you need to know, you might want to see this blog post about building muscle to get you to your goals faster, gain muscle and lose fat!