The main obstacles that most people find between themselves and building lean muscle are sticking to a strict diet and working out with consistency and intensity. Since the human body is designed to gain fat as it gains weight and lose muscle as it loses fat, you'll have to follow an impeccable daily routine to gain lean muscle alone.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Evaluate your calorie intake according to your current body fat level. If you have a gut, you're likely consuming too many calories and you'll have to cut down. If you have a flat but soft stomach, your calories are probably just about right. If you have visible abdominals, you'll have to increase your caloric intake to grow.
Take an inventory of the foods and drinks that you consume over the course of an average week to determine your average daily caloric intake, using an online tracker for convenience. If you need to increase your calories, aim to take in 500 extra calories daily. If you need to decrease your calories, aim to take in 500 fewer calories daily. These adjustments will allow you gain or lose about half a kilogram (1 lb) of bodyweight per week, respectively.
Increase your protein intake to ingest 1 g to 1.6 g daily of protein per kilogram of body weight to attain the amino acids necessary for new muscular growth. Build your diet around protein-rich staples such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, tofu and nuts. If necessary, further supplement your intake using a whey protein powder, available in most health food stores.
Train with weights three times per week. If you're looking to gain muscle in a particular area, focus on exercises targeting that body part. To build a bigger chest, for example, perform chest presses, chest flys and cable crossovers. If you're simply looking to build muscle overall, perform the bench press, shoulder press, bent over row, squat and deadlift. For each exercise, complete five sets of five repetitions, using the heaviest weight that you can manage without sacrificing proper form. Rest for two minutes between sets to maximise muscular recovery.
Tips and warnings
- Consult a doctor before beginning a new program of diet or exercise.
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