Bodybuilding

9 of the Best Tips for Putting On Lean Mass

Tips for Putting on Lean Mass

If you are not already strength training, today should be your first day, after you read this of course. That’s not included in the tips, consider it a freebie!

Sometimes putting on lean body mass may seem like an impossible task, especially if you are a hardgainer or you have already plateaued with your current training. This article covers 9 of the best tips to build muscle mass.

Building muscle mass is easiest in what is called a positive energy balance. Positive energy balance means that you are taking in more calories than you burn. It takes about 2,500-2,800 calories to build one pound of lean muscle mass. But this number depends highly on individual factors such as level of training, body composition, genetics, and diet. The main reason the excess calories are needed is to support protein turnover and prevent muscles from going catabolic, however training does help increase protein turnover positively if not overdone. The tips here are meant to help you build lean body mass in a quick and efficient manner.

Use the UXO Strength and Recovery Stack to supplement your goals!

The human body can build at most around 227g of muscle mass per week. This means eating too many extra calories while trying to build muscle will also gain you some extra bodyfat. If this is a concern for you try sticking to about 250-500 extra calories per day over maintenance. This approach will support lean muscle gain without the extra bodyfat. Not sure what your calorie intake should be? Use this calorie calculator to figure it out! Try adjusting your calories based on how easily you gain bodyfat and lean body mass. If you find that 250 extra calories isn’t enough, adjust them up. If you find that 500 extra calories gains you too much bodyfat, adjust them down. It may take a little time and trial to find the right amount of additional calories for you to build muscle mass and stay lean, but it is worth it.

Whey protein powder: typical post workout shake option adding lean mass
Whey protein powder: typical post workout shake option.

Additionally, some research suggests that consuming lean protein 15-20 minutes before, during, and within one hour of training can help build muscle! Your best bet is going to be to consume a high carbohydrate meal before the gym that also has at least 25 grams of complete protein. Then take a shake with you to consume immediately after your workout to take advantage of increased protein synthesis. While this isn’t required to gain muscle, it definitely will help. Especially if you struggle to get enough protein in throughout the day.

While protein is important, it is not the answer to building lean muscle mass. It’s also important to eat balanced meals. Balanced meals get you the macro and micro nutrients you need to stay healthy and build muscle mass. So, without any further ado, here are 9 tips to help you get that lean mass!

1. Eat Breakfast to Increase Lean Body Mass

Ghillie Greens

Breakfast gives you energy to start the day but also sets the trend for the rest of the day. If you eat a healthy breakfast you will tend to eat healthier the rest of the day as well. Some of the best, easy foods for building lean body mass are omelets, smoothies, and cottage cheese. Make sure to include some fiber and greens in your breakfast to provide the nutrients your body needs to grow. If you struggle to get your greens in try Ghillie Greens as a quick, easy, and tasty way to get them in early.

2. Eat Regularly for Lean Body Mass

Eating the right foods at the right time is extremely important for increasing lean body mass. The simplest way to make sure you are getting what you need for muscle growth is to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner as usual but to include meals pre or post workout and right before bed and to include two snacks in between. Try to eat smaller meals every 2-3 hours. This will keep food intake up for muscle growth, decrease hunger, and decrease stomach size. The decrease in stomach size will make you feel full quicker and keep your waist trim, while the regular meals will decrease cravings.

3. Consume Protein at Every Meal to Increase Lean Body Mass

In order to build and maintain muscle mass your body needs protein to combat protein breakdown from training. You should be getting at least 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight but I actually recommend 1.2 grams per pound as the extra protein will help you feel fuller for longer and for sure won’t hinder your muscle growth. The easiest way to get this in is by eating complete protein with each meal. Not sure what I’m talking about? Learn more about complete protein.

4. Eat Fruit and Veggies to Keep Leaner Body Composition

Veggies help you feel full without gaining extra bodyfat.
Veggies help you feel full without gaining extra bodyfat.

Most fruits and vegetables are low calorie, especially veggies. This means you can eat until you are full without gaining extra bodyfat. In fact if you are not use to eating this way, or you have high bodyfat, you may even experience some weight loss while increasing your lean mass. Fruits and veggies are also full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which will help with digestion. Just be careful to check the sugar content of the fruits you intend to eat. This will help you stay in your calorie goals.

5. Use Carbs To Your Advantage

Try to consume any rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, or other simple carbs pre or immediately post workout. This will help provide energy for increasing weight in strength training and will refill depleted glycogen stores from training. Keeping these carbs to the whole grain variety will also help you get your fiber in!

For your other meals try to get your carbs in with lower calorie fruit and veggies. These are more filling.

6. Healthy Fats Support Healthy Body Composition

Healthy fats such as those found in whole foods support overall health as well as healthy body composition. This is because they digest slowly. Balance your fat intake by eating some healthy fats at every meal such as avocado, cheese, egg, nuts, or fish. Try to avoid trans-fats and margarine.

7. Drink Water To Build Lean Body Mass

Water increases recovery from strength training to help add lean mass
Water increases recovery from strength training

Strength training causes water loss through sweating which can impair muscle recovery if that water is not replenished. Failing to replenish it will harshly impact your muscle building efforts as water is also needed to carry the nutrients you consume throughout your body. Beyond that, drinking enough water prevents dehydration and also decreases hunger as it keeps your stomach from feeling empty.

8. Whole Foods Support Lean Body Mass Goals

To get the most out of your food and to increase lean body mass efficiently 90% of your food intake should be whole foods. This means they are unprocessed and unrefined foods, they are as close to their naturally occurring state as possible. For example, fresh meat, eggs, veggies, fruits, and grains.

9. Sleep To Put On Lean Body Mass

Recovery is crucial when trying to build muscle mass. Without enough sleep your body will not rebuild and it won’t produce the hormones needed to support lean muscle. In fact, without enough sleep you may experience muscle loss or have terrible body composition even with the right diet.

Muscle mass takes time and effort to acquire. There is not a quick fix, but there are simple things you can do to increase lean muscle mass. The best thing you can do is stay consistent with your diet, sleep, and training. Do these and you will see muscle gain over time. If you are doing all these things and are still wanting to maximize your efforts try supplementation to support your muscle building goals. 

Oh yeah and if you REALLY want to start gaining muscle follow doug.grows on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to the blog 😉

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