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Many of the same principals apply to lean mass that would apply to body fat goals. Really, most of what I consider advice for one goal is directly relevant to all other goals. The idea is to be the best you can physically be, and a lot of the goals one sets will require the same recipe to accomplish. While one might require less resistance training for their goal, their diet must still be in check and, one thing that is for sure, discipline will always be mandatory to achieve your goals.

You’re here most likely because your goal is to increase or maintain lean mass (build muscle). Guess where that starts? You bet, it starts with diet. Now as long as you don’t gain fat, which you won’t because your diet is great, a decrease in body fat will be the result. Even if you maintain lean mass, your body fat will go down with diet and resistance training. You’re killing two birds here. Don’t, not even for a second, think that just because you are crushing it in the gym that you will decrease body fat. You need diet and strength training to do that! Or else muscle will be built but fat can still be piled on as well if pizza and beer, or the like, are regulars in your diet.

Now where would you like to see lean mass gain? Arms? Legs? Trunk? Abs? This will determine your focal training point. Take a look at the blog regarding my approach to lean mass gain, which I have had success with, to see how I have been structuring my work outs specifically to gain lean mass. Even if you are trying to build mass in the arms, always aim for a full body workout. I explain why in that post.

Given that your diet is not an issue, strength training will result in lean mass gain. You are not going to gain the lean mass you want if you are running or cycling a lot. While you can build muscle, there are studies that show an increase in cardio causes the body to remain catabolic (essentially breaking down muscle for fuel) for longer, breaking down muscle mass, making it hard to build it.

3 Important factors to increase lean mass:

  • Diet
    • Increase caloric intake for a calorie surplus
    • Aim for 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean mass per day
    • Incorporate BCAAs into routine to promote muscle growth
  • Strength Training
    • Focus on compound, low impact exercises that target multiple muscle groups
    • Rest between sets, don’t train to failure
  • Rest
    • An off day allows for crucial recovery time, which will promote muscle growth

Rest is also important between workouts, so sometimes working out 4+ times a week with weights will hinder your ability to gain muscle. I recommend 3x/week hitting the weights. On off days doing light mobility work that won’t cause your body to work too hard, allowing optimal recovery.

Check out our related blogs to learn more about visceral fat, bone density, and other ways to improve body fat percentage!


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