Your go-to guide for building lean muscle mass and losing the rest.
Having a hard time building muscle? Gaining strength by working out and building lean muscle mass is way more than just occasionally lifting weights. Muscle is your 24hr. metabolic bonfire that helps keep your body fat down and your body active. As we age, we lose around 5% of our hard-earned muscle every decade after the age of 35. But rather than just ride with that statistic, know there’s a lot you can do to keep your body strong and lean. Here are ten ways to get, keep, and feel more confident about getting to the gym!
For anyone having a hard time gaining muscle, you absolutely must eat every three to four hours. This will help feed the decrease in glucose you incur after lifting weights. Food fuel will give you energy to lift weights, and it will also help encourage that metabolism of yours to speed up. In-between snack ideas are whey protein shakes with fruit, a handful of nuts, a chicken breast, or rice cakes with peanut butter.
This move, unlike many others, is essential for anyone looking to build muscle and improve posture. As we age, hamstrings and glutes tend to get short, tight, and weak. On top of that, this posterior-focused movement helps keep your back and shoulders strong as well.
3. Compound exercises
If you’re looking to lose weight but also keep muscle, work some compound exercises into your regular routine. These moves use more than one muscle group at a time and they burn the most calories. Examples are the clean and press, renegade row, burpees, and a lunge with an overhead press. Since these moves burn more calories, don’t forget a solid pre-workout snack!
4. Increase your protein.
Protein helps in building muscle tissue, it keeps your belly full, and it is one of your three main fuel sources in addition to healthy fats and carbohydrates. Guys should aim for 56g or more per day. However, if you’re working out five days a week, try to get .55g per pound of your body weight.
More is not always better when it comes to building muscle. Every time you lift weights, micro-tears in the muscle tissue occur. When they repair themselves, the muscle tissue gets stronger. So, in order for you to build muscle, you actually need a minimum of two rest days a week. If you’d like, do some yoga on one of your days off. Flexibility will also help with longevity in your active endeavors.
6. Don’t forget cardio
Many guys think they should skip cardio to help save their muscle from disappearing into thin air. But in order to build endurance, stay lean, and help build cardiovascular strength, you need at least two to three days of cardio for 20-60 minutes each session. Try running, incline walking, swimming, boxing, or jump rope.
7. Eat healthy fats
What most people don’t know is that healthy fats like those found in fish oils, olive oil, avocado, eggs, nuts, and coconut oil can actually help you burn unwanted body fat. They also help keep your joints supple, lower inflammation, keep you full, and help make your skin soft.
8. Alternate muscle groups
As apart of your weekly plan, you don’t want to work the same muscle group in the same way two days in a row. You do and you’ll risk overtraining. This can lead to hypertrophy of some muscles and atrophy of others. It’s like saying you want to be injured, and suffer other overtraining side effects like insomnia, moodiness, and overall body achiness. Plus, your body will be completely imbalanced! No thanks!
9. Stay hydrated
Water is key for anyone, exercising and otherwise. Most doctors recommend a daily average of 8-10, 8-10oz. glasses of water each day. What they don’t always mention is that if you are exercising that day, you’ll need more water. You’ll also need extra electrolytes to keep your consumed water working the right way.
10. Use free weights
If you’ve been a machine guy your whole life, try branching out to the free weights area to mix things up. Machines provide an amazing amount of strength, and they are the most stable way to lift. Using free weights requires a bit more energy and instability which requires more muscle activation to stabilize the joint. You will use more muscles and it will burn more calories so that you stay lean.
Your lean muscle mass is a prized possession that you need to keep tending to and strengthening. If you’re consistent, you should notice changes every four to six weeks! The saying, “Use it or lose it,” is absolutely true! So keep at it and keep changing it up!