How to build lean muscle
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘abs are built in the kitchen’, but in reality, both nutrition and physical activity are equally important if you want to build lean muscle. Muscle growth will not only enhance your physical appearance, it can improve workout performance, endurance and metabolism. Here are our top tips to help you on your quest to build lean muscle.
To build lean muscle, you should aim to complete two strength training sessions a week, focusing on all major muscle groups. Depending on your fitness level, you should aim to be completing 3-6 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Pyramid sets are a great way to challenge yourself and to ensure that you do not reach a plateau. A pyramid set refers to starting out with a low weight with high repetitions, and gradually progressing to a much heavier weight, that leads to muscle failure after 1, or 2 reps. By advancing to heavier weights you will increase your personal best and get stronger faster.
Improve Cardiovascular Fitness
To build lean muscle, it’s essential to lower your body fat percentage. Whilst weight training will help, adding cardiovascular activity is an efficient way to lose fat and ensure the muscle you build is well-defined. Adding three or four hours of cardio each week will help to ensure fat loss. This does not need to he high-impact activity. For example, a couple of half hour HIIT sessions, a light jog and a weekend walk, or swim each week, will keep your routine fresh and interesting!
Protein is muscles best friend. A protein rich diet will promote tissue recovery and muscle growth. It can be difficult to get adequate protein from your meals alone, so you might want to consider investing in a lean muscle protein supplement, which will absorb into the body quickly. You should be sure to eat from all food groups, when building muscle, including grains, dairy, fruit and vegetables, as well as protein, to optimize your results. When you eat, and how much you eat is just as important as what you eat. After exercise, you should try to consume quick release carbs. A protein powder and banana smoothie, or porridge oats are both great choices to accelerate muscle repair.
Get Some Rest
Catching some Z’s, allows your body to rest and recuperate, and is an essential part of muscle growth. You should aim to get eight hours of sleep every night to optimise your performance in the gym. Rest does not only refer to sleep though, it’s vital to rest your muscles too, as over exertion can cause damage to fibres. After fatiguing a muscle group, you should allow a 72-hour rest period to allow adequate repair time. During this period, you can still train other muscle groups, or use the time to complete a low-impact cardio session.
Everyone should strive to drink more water on a day to day basis. The health benefits of hydration are endless. To name a few: control hunger, energise muscles, improve skin, aids organ functions. If you find it difficult to increase your water intake, try marking the time on a large bottle to monitor your consumption.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
When it comes to fitness goals, consistency is key. Having a pre-determined gym plan will keep your workouts focused and prevent procrastination at the gym. Though, it is important to mix up your workouts to ensure you are constantly challenging your body and mind. You should also plan when you work out. Scheduling a gym session, like you’d schedule a meeting at work, will hold you accountable and will help to ensure you commit to the regime and make those all-important gains!