Building lean body mass is no easy task: it requires time, effort, consistency and perseverance. While it is commonly known that protein intake is necessary to build muscle mass—and therefore, lean body mass—there are other best practices that aren’t as commonplace. More so, there is a lot of conflicting information out there keeping you from achieving your health goals. These are 7 tips that will help you stay focused and well-informed during the growth process:
- High Protein Intake: This is a no-brainer. Everyone knows protein is needed, if not mandatory, to build muscle mass. Muscles need protein to grow. What isn’t so widely known is the proper amount of protein needed to sustain an active lifestyle geared towards building lean body mass. Simply put, you need to consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight. Read more about protein intake in How Much Protein Do I Need?.
- Full-Body Workouts: Choose efficiency over effectiveness. As Men’s Journal puts it- “Why spend your time on an isolated exercise like a bicep curl or leg extension when you can get much more benefit from movements that pull in more of the body?” Try workout routines that include more than one muscle group, or that involve the biggest muscles.
- Avoid Routines: But, don’t misunderstand us, this doesn’t give you permission to forget about discipline and become lazy. It means constantly changing workouts and exercises, as our bodies quickly adapt to a single movement or routine. Keep your workout varied so you’ll always have a new challenge to tackle.
- Aerobic Exercises: Since “lean” refers to the absence of fat, when building lean body mass, aerobic exercises are also necessary to get rid of the body fat that makes it much harder for muscles to appear. But don’t overdo it--too much aerobic exercise without compensatory caloric intake will prevent muscle building. If caloric intake is too low, overdoing aerobic exercises might bite into the muscle mass as our bodies resort to muscles to keep going.
- Workout Recovery Meals: As proper nutrition is mandatory when trying to build lean body mass, workout recovery meals are a must on a nutrition regime designed to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. Refuel your body with the right nutrients after every intense workout session. Pack a Powerful Drink in your gym bag to get the much-needed nutrition your body deserves after a tough workout.
- Regular Meals: Consistently eating increases metabolism, and prevents the body from consuming muscles over fat. According to Men’s Journal, “The body is resistant to fat loss and will turn to attacking lean muscle first. Keep plenty of fuel in the tank so muscle is not consumed.” Eat consistently, every three hours or so; but consistently eating is not synonymous with a free pass to eat empty calories, or to increase caloric intake.
- Get Some Rest: This means getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep a night. It is during sleep that the body produces growth hormones that aid the protein synthesis process. But sleeping is only one way of resting; when leading an active lifestyle, active rest is also necessary. It is during rest periods that our muscles recover and actually grow; yet, it is through active rest that muscles recover and strengthen.