Look Strong, Sexy, and Ripped: 9 Expert Tips for Building Lean Muscle Mass
Did you know that, after you reach the age of 30, you lose between 3 and 5 percent of your muscle mass every decade?
The more you prioritize muscle gain now, the less likely you are to experience negative side effects of muscle loss as you age (decreased strength, mobility issues, increased risk of falls, etc.).
Do you need help building lean muscle mass without putting on any extra body fat? If so, here are 9 tips that can help.
1. Lift Heavier Weights
If you’re having trouble learning how to build muscle mass, one of the most important things you can do is to lift heavy weights. After all, there’s only so much progress you can make if you’re always lifting light weights at high rep ranges.
If you always use high rep ranges, try changing things up. This introduces a new stimulus and can help you to gain strength and muscle mass.
2. Focus on Compound Exercises
In addition to the amount of weight you lift (and for how many reps), it’s also important to factor in the types of exercises you’re doing.
If all you do are biceps curls and tricep extensions, you might see some growth in those particular areas of your body. However, you won’t be getting as much out of your workouts as you could be.
You’ll see better results and have an easier time building muscle if you make compound exercises the main focus of your workouts. Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses use several muscle groups at once. This allows you to get more bang for your buck than if you only did single-joint exercises like curls and extensions.
3. Eat Enough Protein
If you want to gain muscle, you need to make sure you’re taking in enough calories. You need to fuel those workouts.
If you only focus on calories and don’t prioritize protein, though, you might find that you’re putting on more fat than muscle.
How much protein do you need? Most experts recommend aiming for between 0.7 and 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 180 pounds, for example, that would mean consuming between 126 and 180 grams of protein per day.
4. Refuel with Carbs
For those who are eager to gain muscle, carbohydrates are a must.
Forget about all the fad diets telling you to skip out on carbs. By including plenty of carbohydrates in your diet, you’ll ensure that you have enough energy to push through your tough workouts and continue increasing the amount of weight you lift over time.
Make sure you’re refueling with carbs after your workout, too. Carbohydrates help you to recover post-workout. They ensure you have plenty of fuel stored in your body for your next training session, too.
5. Be Consistent
No matter what kind of fitness goal you’re trying to achieve, consistency is key. When you lift heavy weights and eat enough food regularly, you’ll be setting yourself up for maximum muscle building.
Keep in mind that it takes time to see results. If you’re following these muscle building tips but only stick with them for a week before giving up, you haven’t given your body enough time to make progress. Be patient and remember that it takes time to make lasting changes.
6. Include Some HIIT Cardio
Many people assume that cardio is off the table when they’re trying to build muscle. It’s true that doing lots of steady-state cardio is not ideal for muscle gain. However, adding in some HIIT cardio a couple of times per week can help you to shed extra body fat (or avoid putting it on) without sacrificing muscle.
HIIT cardio involves doing short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by longer periods of rest. For example, you might sprint as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds and repeat for 10 minutes. These workouts are short and easy to include in your routine without having to set aside a ton of extra time.
7. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is essential if you’re trying to build muscle. When you drink enough water (half your body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb), it’s easier for you to maintain your stamina and avoid fatigue while exercising. You’ll also be less likely to deal with headaches and other issues that can hold you back from doing your best during workouts.
8. Prioritize Rest
It’s true that you need to work hard and lift heavy when you’re trying to build muscle. However, you also need to prioritize rest.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Aim for 7-8 hours so your body has time to repair itself and produce growth hormones, which are essential to building muscle. Consider using supplements like melatonin or CBD oil to promote extra relaxation, too.
Schedule time off each week, too. If you’re hitting the gym every single day, you might find that you have a harder time seeing results.
Your body needs to recover in order to build muscle. Otherwise, you’ll just be beating yourself into the ground and setting yourself up for burnout.
9. Use the Right Supplements
If you’re hoping to gain muscle and lose fat, including the right supplements in your regimen.
For example, you may want to use protein powder to ensure you’re hitting your daily protein goal. Conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA) may help to boost your metabolism and help you lose body fat without sacrificing your precious lean muscle.
You may also want to consider adding in stronger supplements, like Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (or SARMs), if you’re hoping to gain a significant amount of muscle quickly. SARMs are similar to anabolic steroids when it comes to their muscle-building benefits, but they don’t come with as many side effects.
Start Building Lean Muscle Mass Today
Is it time to start building lean muscle mass? Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a much easier time as you work to gain muscle mass without putting on extra fat at the same time.
If you’re ready to take your muscle-building journey seriously, we have lots of other resources on our site that can help. Check out the Working Out section on our site today to learn more.