It has to be said from the beginning that this article is a basic approach on how to build lean muscle. Why? That’s because there are so many complexities and variables involved, it just wouldn’t be realistic to cram everything into a single article.
Instead, the article will generalise and take from the most common practices people use to help them reach their goal. In other words, it’s a quick guide on how to build lean muscle, and you can choose to do with it what you please.
It’s A Mental Game
The first thing you have to know that any profound body change requires as much mental strength as it does the physical determination. This means you have to find the balance between the two, and learn about your limits. Of course, you are going to surpass them at some point, but you are not going to do it if your mind is not in the right place.
However, it doesn’t mean you should kill yourself building lean muscle. But maybe it can require you to wake up an hour earlier three times a week to hit the gym – or make some time after work. And instead of just sticking to it for a month, push through for a year and see the difference.
So, before getting into any of the other detail, are you ready to push through, even when you feel like the most discouraged person in the world? Because that is what it takes to build lean muscle.
Set Realistic Goals
If you feel confident in your decision to follow through, it’s time to set some realistic goals. That’s right; special attention should be paid to the realistic part of your goals.
For example, if you don’t really have any lean muscle, and you might even have a few pounds you need to get rid of first, a process needs to follow. And this process is going to take time, given that these are dramatic changes to your body. If you don’t give your body time to adapt, you are only hurting yourself.
Coming back to setting goals, assess where you are right now, then consider a reasonable increase in lean muscle over the next month if you gym 3 to 4 times a week. How much muscle can you realistically expect to build, and how much fat do you have to lose?
Keep in mind the reason why so many people stray from actually building lean muscle; it’s mainly because they set their goals too high or they simply expect too much. Putting yourself under too much pressure to perform is not a good way to approach this. Instead, remind yourself that you will be going to the gym (or exercise at home) for as long as your body lets you. In other words, you are running a marathon, not a race. Because if you don’t sustain your routine, don’t expect your lean muscles to stick around.
Build Discipline And Experiment With Different Strategies
This is definitely the fun part because it involves you researching your different options. Obviously, you can’t effectively participate in everything come across, so shortlist a few and experiment with them.
And to help you get started, here are some suggestions on the type of exercises that help to build lean muscle.
- Resistance Training
As the name suggests, the exercises you do are aimed at pulling, lifting, or pushing a specific weight. In other words, you are working with a distinct resistance you can typically adjust according to your level of training.
The type of resistance or weight you want to use can vary extensively. For example, some individuals are strict about pumping iron, while others prefer using their own body weight — naturally, the more resistance, the more effective the exercise. But there is also the matter of how you execute the technique in order for it to be the most effective.
- High-Intensity Interval Training
A lot of people swear by HIIT for building lean muscle, and with good reason. Because the idea is to push your body to the limit in short intervals, and one of the best examples of this training would be Crossfit.
From burpees to rope climbs to sprinting and deadlifts, Crossfit covers an array of HIIT exercises – all named after women – that can bring results quickly, but it’s not a magic button.
Prepare yourself to put your body through different types of shocks if you want to get results very quickly.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which option will be the best suited for your body type and your set goals. Do you want to do it the healthy way and pace yourself? Or do you want to risk injury and push too hard?
Point blank – you need to practice discipline in your choices if you want to see a significant change.
Balance Your Strategy With Your Diet
You can either support or sabotage your efforts to build more muscle and tone your body. And you’ll do this by the type of diet you ultimately follow.
Once again, going into details will be difficult, seeing as different exercises work better with specific eating plans. So, the best advice would be to look at the exercise plan that interests you the most, then look at diets geared to fit these exercises. Remember, food is fuel, but only if you make the right choices. If you don’t eat right, there won’t be any muscles to show from all your hard work.
Adapt Your Lifestyle
If you really want to help your cause, participate in other physical activities when you are not working out. For example, get into a sport or swim regularly. Take the stairs and not the lift, and stand for a few hours instead of sitting at your desk all day.
Let your habits support your choice to make the healthy change because it will speed up the process significantly.
Sustain Your Motivation
One of the biggest challenges most individuals face is staying motivated. Even after 3 or 6 months, it can be tough to stay motivated when you don’t reach those unrealistic goals you set. But a good way to stay motivated is to think about the benefits that come with all the exercising. They include:
- A stronger immune system
- More energy during the day
- You feel more capable and productive
- It will naturally lift your mood
- It can help you to live longer and grow old within good health
- You’ll feel more confident
Don’t just think about the lean muscles and how good you are going to look. Also, remember that you’ll feel like a whole new person if you stick to it.
Learn To Rest And Repair
You’ve likely heard that sleep is when your muscles grow. You might even consider that ancient knowledge. Well, it might be ancient, but it’s also right. You need to get your rest when you’re trying to generate muscle. It is crucial that you follow regular repair sessions. In other words, don’t overdo it and give your body ample time to heal between sessions, especially if you choose to go with HIIT exercises. They can really do a number on your muscles, and you just increase your risk of injury if you don’t let your body heal properly.
Your sleeping patterns will influence how effective your lean muscle bodybuilding regime is going to be, given that you even build muscle during the night. That’s right, even while you sleep. However, you need to get between 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night if you want to feel the benefits.
The body uses sleep to regenerate and re-energise, meaning you have to follow strict patterns. Cutting into your sleep will only see you failing mentally and physically not far down the line. In fact, sleeping too short might only mean healing without repairs, so you could be tearing yourself up. This also matters greatly to maintaining hormonal balancing.
Get The Right Gear
If you are serious about building lean muscle, then you need to be serious about the gear you use. For example, lifting certain weights will require a specific type of shoe for the best possible support. Why? Firstly, you always want to avoid an injury, and the right gear is designed to protect you as much as possible.
Secondly, a flat sole shoe gives more support for the heel area, which is what you need for lifting heavy weights. And with better support for better technique, the more effective your workout will be, which brings up the next tip of the article.
Use Progressive Overloading
Not familiar with the term? It’s really just a sophisticated way of saying that over time you should do more than you did before. This simple action is what can get your muscle fibers to tear, and that triggers muscle growth. It’s a simple enough adaptation. You push your physique into doing more than it used to, and it changes to that it can meet future demands placed on it. This goes hand in had with the next point.
Pay Attention To Your Technique
When it comes to any exercise, perfecting the techniques are crucial for the most effective results. Otherwise, you can exercise 24-hours a day, and you still won’t see a difference. So many people lose motivation because they don’t get why they don’t see what they want to look at. And a lot of the time it is based on their technique.
Understand Hormonal Balancing
How your muscles grow is very contingent upon the hormone levels present in your blood. What you truly want is high levels of testosterone. Some try and get this done through steroid use, but don’t fret, there are many ways to boost testosterone levels without using steroids. IGF-1 is short for Insulin-Growth-Factor-1 and it’s a hormone you probably couldn’t ever get enough of. Insulin and cortisol join other hormones in playing critical roles either for or against your muscle building. You need to know where your hormones are at, and blood-testing at your doctor’s office can tell you a lot.
Some Final Advice
Always remember to keep your head in the game and part of the plan. Because if your head isn’t in the right place, your body won’t function like you know it can. Just stay strong, take it step by step, and you’ll eventually get where you want to be.