10 Ways To Build Lean Muscle

Arnold Schwarzenegger side chest pose
"For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer."

Forgot the endless ineffective bulking and cutting cycles and follow these 10 tips to help you build maximum amounts of muscle while staying lean.

1. TRAIN WITH COMPOUND MOVEMENTS

Multi-joint compound movements are what make you grow. Focus on squat, deadlift, bench press, barbell row, pull up, parallel bar dip and other heavy multi-joint barbell, dumbbell and cable weight training exercises for maximum muscle and strength gains.

Compound movements provide the greatest muscle stimulation as well as testosterone and growth hormone response to help you pack on muscle. Remember, if you don’t prioritize compound movements, then you can’t make much muscle building progress.

2. LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS

Challenge your muscles with heavy weights. Set new PRs and keep pushing for heavier weights. Every time that you step into the gym you should push to lift heavier.

By consistently lifting heavy weights, you demand your muscles to grow and adapt to the increased stress being placed upon them.

3. TRAIN WITH HIGH VOLUME

High volume training is key to packing on muscle to your frame. Most guys in the gym don’t train with sufficiently high volume to build muscle to their full potential.

Train each muscle group with 5 to 7 different exercises, with majority of those exercises being multi-joint compound exercises.

4. FOLLOW A FLEXIBLE DIETING PLAN

A flexible dieting plan like If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) will allow you to maintain a primarily healthy eating schedule that you can maintain for the long term. IIFYM gives you the flexibility to eat foods that you want to eat while keeping you within your pre-planned macro and calorie numbers that will help you maintain a lean physique.

When preparing your IIFYM macro and calorie numbers, aim to eat 200 to 500 calories above your maintenance calories to provide you with a sufficient surplus for muscle building.

5. KEEP YOUR PROTEIN AND FATS HIGH

By eating more quality protein and healthy fats you will not only build more muscle but you will also lose more body fat. Protein and fats are highly satiating and they keep you fuller for longer. Get your protein and healthy fats from foods such as whole eggs, salmon, chicken breast, lean beef, walnuts and avocados.

Consume 1.2 grams of protein and .75 grams of healthy fat per pound of body weight. 40% of your day’s calories should come from quality proteins, 40% from carbohydrates from whole sources and 20% should come from healthy fats.

6. WATCH YOUR CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates are not bad. In fact, they are essential to help you train hard and heavy at the gym. But, keep track of your carb intake as well as your daily calorie intake. When you want to build muscle while staying lean, you have to watch your carbs and not overeat things like bread, pasta and rice.

Time your carbohydrate intake so you eat your carbs primarily during your pre-workout meal. Have some carbs in your post-workout meals as well to help in recovery. Select complex carbs from whole sources such as sweet potatoes, oats and brown rice.

7. DO CARDIO REGULARLY

Perform 30 minutes of moderate cardio after your weight training sessions to elevate your heart rate and help you burn off some of the excess calories from the day.

Also try to move as much as possible. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevators and walk to places where you can instead of driving.

8. USE EFFECTIVE SUPPLEMENTS

Right supplementation will help you build lean muscle mass and strength more effectively. These are the supplements you should be taking regularly:

Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine will help you maintain higher levels of energy during hard weight training sessions. Long term studies have shown that creatine can help increase strength by 5-15%.

Whey Protein: Whey protein is a fast digesting protein that helps you recover quicker from workouts and stimulates muscle growth.

Pre-workout: Pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, B vitamins and nitric oxide – which help increase blood flow to the muscle and increase energy levels to be able to train harder and longer.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): BCAAs help protect muscles from protein degradation and promote muscle growth. This can improve recovery time from workouts.

Omega 3 Fish Oil: Omega 3s and other healthy fats play a crucial role in muscle repair and maintaining healthy connective tissues.

Multivitamins: Look for high quality multivitamins to fill the gaps in your nutrition.

9. DRINK MORE WATER

Recent studies have shown that our body’s signal for thirst is often misinterpreted for hunger. So, if it’s not time to eat and you feel hungry, grab a bottle of water instead of that carb and sugar filled snack.

Drink sufficient amounts of water to both stay hydrated and to stay away from unnecessary snacking. Loading up on water will ensure that your metabolism stays running at peak levels and your body makes the most of the nutrients that you consume.

10. GET MORE SLEEP AND RECOVER FULLY

Once you have fully trained your muscles, it’s important that you do everything to fully recover. The period between your training sessions is when you grow, especially at night when you sleep. So, make sure that you get quality 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a consistent basis.

Lack of sleep can throw off your lean muscle building plan in multiple ways; lack of sleep increases your stress level, causes you to make poor food choices and eat more calories and it diminishes your ability to train effectively.

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