If you’ve got your eyes fixed firmly on the upcoming summer months, chances are that you’ll be looking to step up your game and hopefully adding some good quality lean muscle mass to your physique so that you can display your gains proudly this summer time. As you’re probably well aware however, building muscle and losing fat is not easy. People seem to think that building lean muscle mass is as simple as going to the gym a few times a week, lifting some weights, drinking a protein shake or two, and trying not to eat too much junk food. In reality however, building muscle is insanely complicated, and difficult, requiring a great deal of motivation, patience, self-control, self-discipline, and hard work. It takes months upon months before you begin seeing any real noticeable muscle gains, but once you do, providing you continue doing what you’re doing, you’ll quickly notice your physique improving on a weekly basis. If you’re fed up of being out of shape, or even just average looking, here are five sure-fire proven methods of adding lean muscle to your physique.
Follow an effective training program
In order to build muscle, you will need to obviously lift weights, but more importantly than that, you will need to ensure that you lift weights in a sensible and effective manner by following a tried and tested training program. It’s no good simply going to gym and seeing how you feel on the day. If people only trained the muscles they preferred to train, everybody would be walking around with skinny legs and huge chests and biceps. There are numerous different training programs available for you, but the thing to remember is to find one that works for you. If you’re only able to train three times per week however, you obviously can’t follow a 5 day split, instead you’d be better suited to a full-body program. You must ensure that each muscle group gets trained at least once per week, and that you don’t over-train certain others. Do your research and find a program that works for you, but make sure you stick with it and that you don’t simply do what you feel like instead.
Make sure you clean your diet up
People say that you don’t grow in the gym, you grow in the kitchen, and they’re exactly right. Building muscle is a combination of around 30% training, and 70% diet and nutrition so that alone shows you just how important a healthy and balanced diet is. For that reason, make sure you cut out unhealthy processed junk foods, and that you instead fill your body full of healthy and nutritionally balanced foods instead. You will need to be consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein such as seafood, fish, chicken, and turkey. You will also require healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, avocados etc, and complex carbohydrates such as rice, oatmeal, pasta, and potatoes. Make sure you drink plenty of fresh filtered or mineral water as well, as water is extremely beneficial for the human body.
Eat little and often
Another key to lean muscle growth is to ensure you eat small, healthy, and nutritionally balanced meals throughout the day. Rather than waiting 5 or 6 hours in between meals, you should instead be eating every 2 and a half to 3 hours. The reason for this is that it will keep your metabolism running at full capacity, so you will burn more calories and have more energy in the process, which will greatly improve your workouts. It will also prevent your body from falling into a catabolic state in which it eats away at muscle tissue because it is lacking in energy. Muscle requires more energy than fat to maintain, so energy stores are used up more quickly. Once the energy runs out, then the body will eat away at the muscles, which is the last thing you want. To prevent this from happening, eating small and nutritionally balanced meals every two – three hours is essential. Make sure you monitor your calories as too many calories each day will translate into fat gain and that is also the last thing you want to happen.
Don’t discount the importance of supplements
While supplements are certainly no substitute for healthy whole foods, they are still incredibly effective when it comes to lean muscle gain, especially when combined with a smart training program and healthy eating regime. You don’t need to get too fancy or go too over the top here, and something as simple as a multi-vitamin and a good quality whey protein shake will be perfectly adequate. Amino acids, omega 3’s, and possibly even pre-workout supplements are also beneficial, though certainly not essential, especially if you’re relatively new to weight training.
Make sure you get plenty of rest
Another very important aspect of building muscle, and one which many people tend to overlook, is rest and recovery. When we exercise and lift weights, we don’t build muscle at all, in fact, we do the opposite as we break down and destroy our muscles. We build muscle when we rest, providing we have enough nutrients, and providing we get enough rest that is. It may be tempting to workout 6 – 7 days per week, for two or three hours at a time but in all honesty, not only is that not needed, it is also not recommended as it will do more harm than good. If you’re overtraining, you aren’t giving your muscles enough time to recover, which means you’re damaging them and breaking them down in the gym, and they won’t recover as effectively as they should be. A maximum of 5 days training per week is all that is required, along with plenty of sleep each night. If you’re training too much, and aren’t getting enough sleep, you just won’t see the results that you should be seeing, which is not what any of you will be wanting to happen.