Diet to Stay Lean but Add Muscle

First, thank you to the makers of this site for offering such a great platform. I’m submitting myself to everyone in hopes of seeing better increases in the gym.

My biggest battle is I run 3 businesses. This has me at my desk (at home, thankfully) or in my car almost all of the time. Of the physical activity I get each week, 90% of it comes from my trips to the gym (5 days a week on average).

I’m 6’5" 225lbs and have long arms. I’m trying to fill out and have a look of someone you can tell goes to the gym rather than just looking “fit”. So I know I need to eat A LOT to gain that size.

Simultaneously, however, I don’t want to have a big gut. My stomach is the only place I gain fat.

Right now my diet is exclusively whole foods- lots of protein (mostly chicken (I use the whole bird) and fish, lean carbs (oatmeal, white rice) and plenty of produce.

Where I am a slow gainer, I try to hit each body part twice per week. My knees are bone-on-bone, so I have to be selective with my cardio.

I would like to hear from the experts on what I can do to get bigger but not wider. Thank you. I have attached a picture of my mediocre body.

What does your food intake look like now? How old are you?

The basics are pretty simple: lift heavy, eat loads. You’ll have to figure out the exact details of set/rep, loads and exactly how much to eat along the way.

I’ve been told a good rule of thumb for protein intake is double your bodyweight in kg in grams per day (so based on that with your bw about 100 kg, you’d want 200 grams of protein per day), not sure about carbs and fats.

For the set/rep scheme, this site has tons of good information. Same for programming.

If its a help, I’ll tell you what has worked for me over the last year in terms of gaining muscle, keeping bodyfat limited and getting stronger:

  • work in the 1-5 rep range for the most part with 3 to 6 sets. Assistance you can do more reps if you want
  • I’ve found three to five exercises per session works best. Four is the ideal.
  • train between 70% and 95% of your max, the higher the load the lower the reps. Some 60-70% work is good for speed if that’s something you need to work on.
  • stick to the big basics: squat, bench, DL, rows, pull-ups, press. Assistance work is important, but pick them carefully and try to pick ones that carry over to as many main lifts as possible.
  • value recovery - consider dropping your training to 3 to 4 days per week, but hit the weights hard when you train
  • consider limited intermittent fasting to control bodyfat while eating enough to gain size and strength - a couple of non-training days per week fasting between breakfast and dinner (about 10-12 hours) has worked very well for me. Drink as much as you like of coffee, a little milk and water etc but no other calorie laden drinks
  • for the first month or two drop all cardio except an hour of fast walking each rest day. You may well find that is all you need, and carry that onwards.

Just do a program where you progress on the big lifts, get an ample amount of volume, don’t neglect muscles like side delts, biceps, and lats (they will go a long way in making you look like you lift vs just being not fat).

Diet wise, I’d eat aroung 225-300g of Protein, ~100g of fat, and then fill in the rest of your calories with carbs. I wouldn’t try to gain weight all too fast, and just realize gaining ‘muscle’ without putting on fat is a long, slowwwww process.