How to Diet & Build Lean Muscle Mass

Updated February 21, 2017

According to the American Council on Exercise, building lean muscle mass is a common goal in today's society. Lean muscle mass creates a long and lean body. When building lean muscle mass, proper diet is just as important and proper exercise. Your diet must provide your body with the nutrients required to sustain proper performance and build lean muscle mass, said Jane Kirby, author of "Dieting for Dummies." The proper combination of diet and exercise will help you build a lean figure and improve your overall health.

According to Kirby, you should consume 10 to 20 grams of protein 30 minutes before each workout session. Consuming protein before exercising your muscles gives them the proper nutrients that they will need to support maximum muscle mass gain. Protein bars and shakes are both good sources for this pre-workout protein consumption. According to the American Council on Exercise, another source for this pre-workout protein boost is an egg, which contains about 6 grams of protein.

Calculate your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, to determine your daily caloric requirements. Your BMR tells you how many calories your body must consume to support regular function. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should recalculate your BMR once a month to keep your diet properly adjusted. Use the following formula to calculate your BMR; after you've calculated it, adjust your diet accordingly.

Women: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years) = BMR

Men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in year) = BMR

Begin a cardiovascular exercise routine; cardiovascular exercise helps build lean muscle mass, improves heart health, and increases your metabolism. According to Suzanne Schlosberg and Liz Neporent, authors of "Fitness for Dummies," to build lean muscle mass you should get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five days a week. Examples of cardiovascular exercise are cycling, jogging, skipping rope, swimming and rollerblading.

Begin a body-weight exercise routine. According to Brad Johnson and Randall J. Strossen, authors of "Bodyweight Exercises for Extraordinary Strength," body-weight exercises are effective at building lean muscle mass. Body-weight exercises should be performed for 20 to 30 minutes a day three to five days a week. Examples of body-weight exercises are squats, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, calf raises and crunches.


Always consult with a physician before beginning any diet and exercise program to ensure that you are physically healthy enough to do so.

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