Learning how to build lean muscle is important whether you're an athlete, bodybuilder, martial artist, or just someone who wants to look healthy and sexy. Enough said.
Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!
So, here's the best way to build lean muscle fast. It takes hard work, but doing it right from the beginning will make a world of difference, and show you astounding results in weeks!
Big, multi-joint exercises are the key to stressing your body enough to grow. Without them, you're simply not going to get as big and strong as you could otherwise get.
Squats, shoulder presses, bench presses, deadlifts, and rows: these are big exercises that build muscle throughout your entire body. Isolation exercises (bicep curls, leg extensions, etc.) will never build the kind of full body integrated strength that multi-joint exercises can, nor the muscle that those big lifts can.
So, big lifts are your key for how to build lean muscle. Include them, maybe even as part of a basic workout routine, and work them hard. They are vitally important to strength as well as to building lean muscle.
For beginners who have just started lifting, you're in luck! You can make gains much more quickly than the more experienced lifters can, if you eat enough.
Don't worry about putting on fat initially. The time to slim down and get that ripped look is after you've built some impressive muscle. And to build muscle, you need a lot of energy: calories.
When you have a caloric excess, your body will devote energy to building more muscle because it has that luxury. Without extra food you won't build muscle. For how to build lean muscle, it's that simple.
And as part of that food, you need to make sure to...
Protein is what muscle is made of. Your body cannot make protein itself from extra fat. You need to eat protein to supply your body with the raw material for muscle.
Find out what your daily protein requirements are and be sure to eat at least that much protein. Since you're doing intense strength training, you'll need around 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
As long as you're getting that protein (plus a little extra to build up your muscles) you'll be fine. Don't overly stress about it, just eat more shrimp, egg whites, sashimi, steak, or other dead animals and you'll be fine.
Tofu would work too, though I'm not overly fond of it. And it might cause some odd hormonal side effects if you eat it for long periods of time.
A good post workout meal will do wonders to build muscle. Take advantage of it.
During your workout you've damaged your muscles. And afterward you have a window of time to do the most to rebuild them.
A good post workout meal will be easy to eat and will include protein and carbohydrates. Easy to eat means that even if you're busy, you will eat it. That's why protein drinks and shakes are so popular.
Include protein, since this will make up the raw material of your bigger muscles. Eating carbohydrates will trigger an insulin response that will help transfer the protein to your muscles as quickly as possible.
A turkey sandwich with whole milk is good, though a milkshake with protein powder will also work. Find whatever is tasty and works for you and eat it!
I call this 'micro-cycling.'
If you're an experienced lifter and already lean, putting on muscle without putting on a lot of fat is difficult. Doable, but difficult.
I've read a number of methods and tried several of them myself, but they all boil down to this: calculate your base metabolic rate, including the exercise that you're doing, and then eat slightly more than that to build lean muscle.
Since you already have a baseline of strength and fitness going on, you gain muscle more slowly. Thus, you won't benefit as much as a beginner would from eating tons of food.
You'd also put on some fat! With this method, you'll be putting on the minimum amount of fat you need.
When you eat enough for your base metabolic rate, you fulfill your energy requirements. Then you eat an 'extra' 200, 300, or 500 calories with which to build muscle — even though it's not really extra, since you're using it to build muscle. See what I'm saying?
So, your body will put those few hundred extra calories into building muscle and not into fat. It won't be perfect, but it's a very efficient way to gain almost only muscle.
Even with this method, you'll probably put on some fat over time. But if you keep tabs on your body weight and body fat percentage, you'll be able to catch yourself when you're putting on a few pounds and be able to take care of it quickly.
These micro-cycles work for putting on lean muscle and avoiding a lot of fat gain, but you need to customize them. Start with an extra 300 calories a day, and see how that works for you for a few weeks. Everybody's different, and as a more advanced lifter you'll have to do a little more tinkering with amounts and types of food.
For beginners, though, putting on muscle and eating a lot is your best strategy. You can diet down to a low body fat percentage to get 'ripped' later.
When you think about how to build lean muscle, supplements immediately come to mind. They shouldn't.
Hormones and other drugs will give you massive muscles fast. But if you don't have the lack of scruples (or the pocketbook) to use them, your options are limited.
Supplements aren't magic, but some will help you to put on more muscle faster. Most, however, aren't worth the bottles they're packed in.
Creatine is a great supplement, and the only one shown to actually increases muscle mass in studies. If you're serious about muscle gain and want to pull out all the stops, check out this info on how to take creatine to get results fast.
And if you're curious, check out how creatine works to build your muscles. It's pretty cool!
Yes, sleep. It's important for growth of all kinds, and an especially important part of how to build lean muscle.
During sleep, growth hormone gets released. It helps repair your body and make you grow stronger.
So, make sleeping a priority. If you want maximum benefits from your lifting, take a short nap after your workout (and after eating your post workout meal).
And make sure you get around 8 hours of sleep at night!!!
Your time in the gym is spent tearing down your body. Your rest, recovery, and especially sleep are when your body puts itself back together.
When you think about how to build lean muscle, think about sleep. It actually makes you stronger.
Sleep in to get strong!
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
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Thank you very much, I was too lean before 2 years (55 Kgs), after the gym now I'm 72kgs, all the muscles have developed... when someone hand shakes with me it can be squeezed easily, they're making fun of me! ~ Tamil Arasan