When building lean muscle there are a few fundamentals that you need to know and focus on. However, before you start the process, you have to be mindful of that, in order to be successful with the muscle-building process, you will need to be consistent and take a long enough approach to let muscle fibres grow.
Apart from being consistent and patient in the building process, in this weeks article, we share some key principles to help you build lean muscle tissue.
Firstly, an important area to focus on is your nutrition.
Here are three nutrition tips to consider:
1. Consuming Enough Calories
As a guide, if you’re training 3-4 times per week, aim for 15-20 calories per pound of overall body mass. For example, for a 200lb male, at 12% body fat, we would recommend 3100-3500 calories per day. If you’re nowhere near the calorie requirements you need to gain muscle size, don’t complain when you don’t see the results you’re looking for. Time to make eating a daily priority!
2. Include Healthy Fats Within Your Diet
Not only do essential fats support your immune system, lower inflammation and help deliver vital vitamins around the body, but foods like oily fish, avocado, nuts and oils provide 9 calories per gram. If you’re struggling to add calories to your diet, you’re missing a trick if you’re not adding in your fats. Fats should form around 20% of your daily calorie intake.
3. Eat More Protein
Protein is a key building platform to help you build lean muscle mass – but are you eating the right amount? There are many different opinions about the quantity you should eat each day. A good amount to start aiming for is 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight for muscle gain and repair.
The process of gaining muscle mass isn’t as simple as just working out protein and food intake requirements.
To help you gain muscle you have to also really focus on the quality of your training sessions.
1. Emphasise Focus When Working Out
You shouldn’t really be wasting time when working out. Avoid spending more than one hour on actual training time. To ensure your sessions are really productive, prepare your workout ahead of time, whether that means noting your session beforehand or planning your exercises prior. That means you can get started, train hard, and then get on with the rest of your day.
2. Time Under Muscle Tension
An area where we see so many people in the gym going wrong, is their inability to use weights at the right amount of tempo. This is important to make sure that the timeframe being used is one which supports muscle growth. For this to happen progressively, you must make your set last between 45 – 75 seconds. Quickly performing 12 reps in a set could take between 20-30 seconds. You get completely different results if you try the same 12 reps with a 2-3 second lowering tempo, quick pause at the top of the exercise and 1 second on the way up, and repeat.
3. Mind & Muscle Connection
To grow muscle, you must muscle learn when to contract it. The best way to learn how to do this is how to focus on the muscle you’re training during the set. So next time you’re performing your set, slow down your reps, focus on the muscles you’re working and reap the results!
Finally, an area often underestimated when it comes to building muscle is REST AND RECOVERY. This factor for many is sometimes one of the hardest to achieve but it plays an important part in the muscle building process.
Ensuring that you recover enough after your training sessions allow the body to revitalise and repair damaged tissues. Remember that during weight training, muscle fibres actually get damaged (small microfiber tears) and only afterwards, when we rest, does the body start to repair these muscle tears and create muscle growth. Consistent attention on recovery increases your energy levels and prevents body fatigue, allowing you to train on a consistent basis and perform better in your workouts.
A lack of sleep can increase your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and levels of stress on this hormone could in turn potentially impact your testosterone. If you don’t know this by now, we need testosterone to grow! So make sure you focus on getting quality sleep, ideally 7-8 hours.
Some other recovery techniques that you should be considered can include mobility work, stretching and types of massage can help too.
Have a great week,
Lean Body Team