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How to Gain Lean Muscle

March 14, 2006 Print This ArticleShare

Author: Michael Greeves

ripped male abs and pecs

Lean Muscle

In terms of building lean muscle, your diet is dependent on whether or not you play a sport as well as how hard you hit your workouts. If you do play a sport, your diet should consist of 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 20% fat. If you do not play a sport, you have a bit more leverage and flexibility. Your diet should consist of 40-60% carbohydrate, 20-30% protein and 20-30% fat.

The Guidelines for Gaining Lean Muscle are as Follows:

  • Eat nutrient dense,muscle transformation foods. Keep junk food and processed food at a minimum. These contain calories that the body does not use optimally because of their low vitamin and mineral content. Fresh is best.
  • Eat approximately every 3-4 hours to maintain insulin levels and aid in physical and neural recovery.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates (starches). Starchy foods such as pasta, wheat bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and vegetables provide a major energy source to fuel your activities. These foods are also a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients - the health protective substances in plant foods.
  • Choose protein sources from turkey, chicken, eggs, fish, lean cuts of beef, tofu, low fat cottage cheese.
  • Choose healthy fat sources from nuts, avocadoes and cold-water fish. Eat 40-100g of fat per day. If you do not get enough of these, take an essential fatty acid supplement or fish oil supplement (1-2 tablespoons/day).
  • Keep drinking wateror a sports drinkto maintain hydration while strength training. Try to avoid water-like substances such as Kool-Aid, sodas, juice or lemonade. Although these may contain water and some carbohydrates, they also contain a greater amount of the wrong type of carbohydrate source (sucrose and/or fructose), which can ultimately lead to gastrointestinal (GI) distress (i.e. diarrhea) and decreased performance.
  • Eat a diet that consists of a wide variety of foods by keeping in mind the basic food groups. It is the best insurance for getting needed nutrients.
  • Consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day among the foods that you eat. High fiber foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and cereals. Read labels and be aware of fiber content in everything you eat.
  • Avoid high-fructose corn syrupand excessive table sugar, even when trying to gain weight. These include candy, juices, desserts, baked goods, etc.
  • Use meal replacement shakes, fruit smoothies or bars whenever necessary. Always keep bars available such as in a book bag, purse, glove compartment, locker, or wherever poor nutrition might be the alternative such as at a competition. Try an assortment of brands to see which you like.
  • Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement from a reputable brand.

Lean Muscle Workout Training Strategies

Finding the time to work out is usually one of the biggest reasons people give about why they don’t work out. But the truth is that most people have the time to work out if they plan properly and create a program that fits into their schedules. Supersets are great for people trying to get good results in a shorter period of time. The basic idea of a superset is to combine different work outs into one big set. Below are a few ideas on how to combine work outs into a superset.

Staggered Supersets

This type of superset will be a combination of work outs targeting different muscles or muscle groups. An example would be to start with biceps curls and then follow that exercise up with a set of lunges. This way while you are doing your lunge your biceps are resting and vice versa. This type of set is great for people looking for big results with short workouts. The reason these work so great is because it keeps the heart rate up the whole time which will add in losing unwanted weight.

Compound Supersets

This type of superset is one of the hardest sets around, but is also one of the most effective ways to workout. A compound superset will combine two compound exercises into one set. For example you can start with a pull-up followed with a set of push-ups. These are very hard work outs to do and will require a little more recovery time, but if the goal is to get a great work out in a short period of time compound supersets are a great way to go.

Strength and Cardio Supersets

This type of superset combines a cardiovascular exercise with a strength training exercise. This is the type of superset that is found in the Workout-X work out programs that aims at cross-training. The basic idea behind these would be to do an intense interval on a rower followed by a set of lunges or squats. The idea is to pair the cardio set with a strength set that works the same muscle or muscle group, but in a different way.

Pre-Exhaustion Supersets

This type of superset is aimed at focusing on exhausting a particular muscle, but at the same time working out other muscles. An example would be to do a bicep curl followed by a seated row. The bicep curl will focus the exercise on the bicep and then push it toward exhaustion with the seated row, but since there are other muscles assisting the bicep during the row the workout will be even more effective.

All these supersets are great to for people looking for fast and efficient workouts. Many of the exercises can be done with little or no equipment which makes them perfect for people looking to do them in the comfort of their own home.

The Lean Muscle Mass Gaining Diet

It takes energy to build muscle. You cannot build anything without extra materials, so you must eat at least 300-500 calories above the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight.

Logging your food intake may be needed in a food journal and weekly weigh-ins will be needed.

If you are not gaining at least 1 pound per week, then you are not eating enough. Increase your calories by 100-200 more.

If you are gaining more than 1 pound per week, then you are eating too much and you are putting on more fat weight than you want. Decrease your calories by 100-200 kcals.

Finally, if you are not already, increase protein intake to 1.5-2g/kg bodyweight.

During Your Strength Training

According to the research, during this time of building lean muscle, a lot is dependent upon what you do before, during, and post-workout. You should do the following before (pre-workout), during, and after your strength training:

  • Try consuming 20g whey protein 30-40g carbohydrates 30-40 minutes prior to exercise.
  • Sip CHO-containing beverages during weight training (i.e. CytomaxTM).
  • Immediately after, consume a protein shake with at least 20g whey-casein combo and 25-50 g carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates.
  • Eat a whole food meal with the above ratios 1 hour later to support post-workout recovery.

Lean Muscle Supplements

In terms of nutritional supplements, take creatine monohydrate. Load up with 20 grams per day (5 grams taken 4 times per day) for the first 5-7 days and then take 5-10 grams as a maintenance dose. Mix it in with a protein shake or juice for convenience. The micronized version mixes best.

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