Have you been looking for advice on how to gain lean muscle mass? Fitness and diet recommendations vary based on what your end goal is – for example, for weight loss you need to cut calories, eliminate carbs and focus on high intensity exercises and cardio to help you lose fat. When it comes to building lean muscle mass however, the opposite is true – you need to increase your calorie intake, indulge in carbs, eat a lot of protein and stay away from cardio while you focus on weight and strength training. Here are some more tips and tricks to help you gain lean muscle mass.
The Importance of Protein
The most basic rule of gaining lean muscle mass is that the more protein you store in your body, the more muscle mass you will be able to build. Your body is constantly using up its protein reserves for a wide range of uses, including making hormones, which means that the protein you consume isn’t only used for gaining muscle. This is why it’s crucial to work healthy, lean proteins into your daily diet. Some of the top muscle building, protein rich foods include chicken, fish, legumes, nuts, dairy, lean beef, eggs, whey protein powder, oatmeal, whole grains and many others. It’s also important to still maintain balance in your diet by including leafy green vegetables and colorful fruits so that you get the essential vitamins and nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Rest & Recovery
When you plan out your weekly exercise and workout routines, it’s just as important that you make time and schedule days for rest and recovery. Even if you feel energized and like you can keep going day after day, rest days should be an essential part of your regime because if you don’t allow your body to recuperate sooner or later you can get injured, which will ultimately keep you from continuing your training. It’s also vital that you get enough sleep every night, at least seven to eight hours – if your body is tired it can lead to a lack of performance that can affect your ability to gain lean muscle mass and ultimate it can also lead to injury. Remember that your muscles grow when your body is resting, not during the physical workout. This is also why it’s important to target different muscle groups if you are training day after day.
Lose Fat, Not Muscle
The biggest challenge that people have when trying to get fit and build lean muscle is adjusting their diet to achieve that very specific goal. When you are following a weight loss program you typically tend to cut carbs and focus on eliminating fat. When your ultimate goal is to gain lean muscle mass you need to eat carbs that will fuel your workouts, give you energy and leave you feeling satisfied. In order to most effectively gain lean muscle mass in a controlled and healthy way, you actually need to consume more calories than you burn each day. The reason behind this is that your body will slow down the building of new muscle if it senses that there is a calorie deficit. Along with not cutting calories you also need to ensure you are giving your body enough protein to build new muscle mass.
Alternate Your Routine
Whenever you repeat a specific workout or routine multiple times, eventually your body and your muscles will remember the pattern and get used to it. This means that after some time this workout will no longer be effective, and your body will not gain additional muscle mass. This is why it’s important to switch up the muscle groups you target every day, increase the weight you lift if it starts to feel easier, focus on alternating between low and high reps and also schedule time for rest days to give your body a chance to recover and actually the build the lean muscle you’ve been working on.
Strength training and lifting heavy weights exposes your body to a higher risk of injury. As you would with any other exercise or workout routine, make sure that your posture is correct, that you understand how to execute proper form and that you take care of yourself to prevent accidents. If you feel under the weather, if your muscles are tired or if your body is simply telling you that it needs rest make sure to follow that lead.
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