As you set out on the question to build muscle mass, there’s no doubt that you want to stay as lean as possible as you go about the process.
The last thing someone wants to do is spend months working on developing new muscle mass only to find that after doing so they have to spend another couple of months working to lose the fat they’ve gained in the process.
Talk about frustrating! Instead, it’s far better if you can take a lean muscle building approach where you will build muscle mass at a slightly slower rate but ensure that you aren’t gaining a lot of fat in the process. This way you’ll also stay looking great as you are building muscle so that you can immediately show off all the hard work you’ve been putting in.
But what does it take to build lean muscle? That’s the important question so let’s look at some of the important factors that you must know.
The very first thing that you should be doing if you’re going to attempt to build muscle mass while staying lean is to make sure that you focus on placing as many calories as you can around the workout period. Since this is the point in the day when your body is most likely to suck them up into the muscle tissues rather than turning them towards the body fat cells, in doing so you’ll provide maximum recovery while staying incredibly lean.
Remember though that your post-workout meal should be strictly carbohydrate and fat based so don’t let yourself get into the habit of eating dietary fat at this time. Save your healthy fats for later on in the day.
Second, the next thing that you can do to help yourself stay leaner throughout the muscle building process is to make sure that you keep your protein intake up slightly higher. Since protein does have a higher thermic effect, meaning you’ll expend more calories simply by eating it, this too can help you stay slightly leaner.
Just do note that there’s no reason to take your protein above 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. Doing that would just be unnecessary and could actually hold you back.
Another key thing that you should consider doing if you want to stay very lean while building muscle is consider making your off days from working out lower in calories. This tends to work very well for most people – they’ll use very high calorie days on their workout days and then very low calorie days on their off days.
By calorie cycling like this you can ensure that the calories you do feed your body are most used up when they need to be for muscle building purposes and you may even begin to burn off a bit of body fat on your off days if you do this correctly.
So there are a few important points for you to keep in mind. It’s definitely possible to stay lean while you build muscle if you’re willing to take a bit of time to carefully access your diet and make a few smart changes.
Cabel McElderry is the director of One-to-1 Fitness in Red Deer. He can be reached at 403-341-4041. Also check out www.personaltrainingreddeer.com for more information.