Best Habits to Increase Lean Muscle Mass
Want to get whipped into shape, have sculpted shoulders, a beautiful back or abs to be envied? If so, there is no option but losing fat and toning your muscles to increase your lean muscle body mass. One more thing, don’t get lied to! There is no secret. There is no magic pill, fad diet or water that works. Concurrently losing fat and gaining muscle is no easy feat. However, with the right diet and exercise routine, the whole exploit can be accomplished. Truth be told, when you persistently increase your protein intake, strength train and cut down on your calories, you create a favorable environment for your body to shed excess fat and build muscles. The process demands time, resilience, effort and dedication but at the end of it all, the transformation is worth the investment. But how? well, in this post, I have outlined 5 ways to help you increase lean muscle mass. Read on!
1. Cut down your calorie intake
There is no better way of losing fat than cutting down on your calorie intake. This is how you do it. By means of an online calculator which factors in your gender, age, size, and height, determine the number of calories you require to sustain your current weight. From the figure you get, deduct between 200 and 1000 calories until you get a 0.5 to 2 pounds weekly weight loss. And since, 3500 calories ideally equal one pound of fat, deducting 500 calories from your daily intake will help you lose almost a pound on a weekly basis. However, if you are a woman, restrain from consuming less than 1200 calories on a daily basis and 1800 if you are a man. Inadequate calories will be counterproductive in your bid to gaining lean muscle because your body will scramble to hold on its fat reserves whenever it perceives a food shortage. And once the fat reserves are gone, it will turn back on the muscles. This is definitely going to result in muscle loss.
2. Eat meals rich in protein
Losing fat and gaining muscle demands that you eat enough proteins. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found out that a high protein intake helps in the growth and preservation of lean muscle after reducing calorie intake for weight loss. In this research, young men were put on a diet low in calories, but their protein intake was significantly increased. They were then required to work out for six days in a week with high-intensity intervals and resistance exercises. After only 4 weeks, participants who took a diet rich in protein posted better results when compared to participants who consumed a diet with less protein. The research concluded that increasing protein intake, strength training, and high-intensity interval training work together to help your body concurrently lose fat and build muscle.
Ideally, aim to consume approximately 0.9 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight on a daily basis. For instance, if you are 150 pounds, your daily protein intake should be 135 grams spread out through all your snacks and meals. Fish, lean meat, eggs, poultry and low-fat dairy products are all ideal sources of high-quality protein. Supplement your calorie intake from vegetables, fruits, unsaturated fats and whole grains. Needless to say, restrict your daily consumption of sugary treats, saturated fats and manufactured sugar products to a minimum.
3. Strength Train
Strength training comes in handy in maintaining and adding more lean muscle in your body. However, if you are a novice in weight training, start small with lighter weights and restrict yourself to 2 pieces of training per week, then eventually progress as your body adapts to more strenuous exercises. Go for those that challenge every muscle group in your body. Some of my favorites include rows, pull-ups, lunges, squats, pushups and shoulder presses.
Eventually, progress to lifting heavy weights. Give yourself a grace period of 48 hours after every work out to facilitate recovery and repair for muscle development and growth. If you don’t trust yourself, why not speak to a professional for help? He/she will help you design an appropriate program for you.
4. Consume protein-rich foods after workouts
There is no doubt that proteins should prominently feature in your post work out diet. Consuming at least 20 grams of protein after every workout will facilitate muscle development and repair. Though whole foods like meat, eggs, and soy are good, the International Society of Sports recommends that you can also reach out to a protein supplement like protein powder. These supplements are efficient and convenient since they provide an optimum amino acid profile, more so after exercises. Don’t forget to throw in carbohydrates to your post workouts meals. They will help in energy restoration and also speed up muscle growth. Foods like fruits, whole grains and vegetables are ideal sources of carbohydrates.
5. Concentrate on HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
When doing high-intensity training, your body alternates bursts of forceful cardiovascular exercises with short bouts of low-intensity workouts. An instance of high-intensity interval training is warming up in a treadmill for five minutes shifting to one minute all-out sprinting and 2-minute easy jogging repeating for ten minutes and cooling down for five minutes. A 2011 paper published in the Journal of Obesity showed that these exercises are more effective when it comes to losing fat when compared to cardiovascular exercises that are performed at a fixed pace. However, this doesn’t imply that you have to completely give up on steady exercises. They are still important when it comes to keeping your heart healthy and burning calories.
For success to be realized, you have to be result oriented. And results don’t just come from the blues. Appreciate the concept of growth by starting small then eventually progressing to higher challenges. And even when results don’t seem to be anywhere near, don’t give up. Keep doing what you have to and in no time you will get rewarded with a physique full of lean muscle. No one ever said it will be easy, after all, “No pain, no gain”