Get stronger muscles. You can gain strength and size without putting on fat. You can gain lean muscle mass with focused strength building workouts.
One of the hardest things for guys to do when looking to increase their strength (and muscle size) is to stay away from putting on belly fat. The main reason this happens is because of impatience. Guys want to look like an NFL safety in 5-6 weeks, failing to realize it has taken professional athletes several years to get where they are.
* To get stronger, you must take a long-term perspective. Olympic and professional athletes are on seasonal (1-year) cycles. It would be realistic for you to adopt their attitude.
* STAY AWAY from all shortcuts. Spending hundreds of dollars on worthless supplements each month just serves to discourage you. Ingesting huge quantities of protein shakes will only increase your fat cell storage.
* You get stronger muscles from lifting heavier weights and running tougher intervals during your cardio. Your lifts must center on fundamental, multi-joint lifts. Forget about isolated exercises like wrist curls, concentration curls, flyes, and other "fluff" movements.
* To get stronger, you MUST include exercises like Squats, Deadlifts, Weighted Dips, and Weighted Pull Ups in your routines. These are exercises that require focus and toughness. 95% of the guys in your gym do NOT want to do them. You will be different.
* Forget the nonsense that cardio will make you skinny like a marathon runner. Look at NFL skill players and Olympic decathletes. Interval training workouts are at the heart of their workouts. Do they look skinny to you?
* Getting stronger muscles is dependent on your fuel source. You must learn to eat consciously...knowing EXACTLY what you are putting in your mouth each time you eat a regular meal or snack. You must learn to eat solid protein sources (turkey, fish, grilled chicken breasts) several times per day. Vegetables and fresh fruit are imperative.
To get stronger muscles requires you to be self-disciplined about what you eat and how you workout. Gaining strength does NOT ride a straight line increase. You will constantly be pushing yourself and changing workouts during your year of pursuing this goal...but the results will be worth it.