Building muscle is definitely among the more complicated and controversial topics out there. Everywhere you look, there’s a different opinion on how we should go about it, and the best tips to gain lean muscle.
But, as with most things, the simpler the approach is the better approach, and more reliable over the long haul.
To that end, below are the five best tips to gain lean muscle:
Eat Enough Calories is a Key Tip to Build Muscle
Eating enough calories is one of the best muscle-building tips out there. Period.
Too many people put their entire focus on the training aspect of muscle growth (which, to be sure, is important) and don’t think twice about their food choices and quantities.
The fact is, you need to supply your body with enough calories so that it has the energy it needs to repair itself and build muscle tissue.
You don’t want to go overboard and eat 1,000 more calories than you burn or you will pack on pounds of fat. So it’s important to know how counting calories works, and also knowing your BMR is important (your baseline of how many calories you burn).
Get Enough Protein
Aside from getting enough calories, consuming adequate levels of protein is another great tip to gain lean muscle.
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to get between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (1)
So if you weight 150 pounds, you should aim to consume 120 grams of protein most days, and especially around your workout days.
A good tactic to use here is to eat lean meats like chicken – it’s generally low in calories (and fats), but it offers a lot of high-quality protein for each serving. Lean meats are one of the best tips to gain lean muscle.
Click the downloadable healthy grocery list below for more great foods.
Do Resistance Training Two to Three Times Per Week
One of the best tips to gain lean muscle is to stimulate them regularly – this signals your body that it needs to grow and strengthen them. And what better way than with resistance training.
And you don’t need to live at the gym to make progress. All you need to do is train two to three times per week, challenge yourself adequately, and ensure that you’re doing a bit better each time you’re at the gym.
And another important reason is that if you build lean muscle, you can turn your body into a fat-burning furnace. This is because muscle burns substantially more calories than body fat, even at rest.
Take Care Of Your Post-Workout Nutrition
Once you’ve finished a workout, your body is in a catabolic state. This means it actively breaks down tissue (fat and muscle) for the energy it needs to repair itself. Now is the time to provide it with energy through food and supplements so it doesn’t catabolize muscle.
This is also a great time to sneak more protein into your diet as it will provide your body with the much-needed amino acids.
For example, prepare a protein or creatine shake, and put it in your gym bag and drink it right after training. This will kickstart the recovery process and allow you to build lean muscle more effectively.
Drink More Water
When thinking of tips to gain lean muscle, drinking more water certainly doesn’t come to mind as often. But, it’s every bit as important as all of the previous ones.
The fact is, if you want to build muscle optimally, you need to be drinking lots of water. Proper hydration is one of the best, and most overlooked, tips to gain lean muscle. (2)
For one, water helps prevent muscular fatigue because it plays an important role in energy production and utilization. It’s not an apparent energy source like carbs are, but it’s vital nonetheless.
Second, water helps with athletic performance. Research has shown that as little as two percent dehydration can severely impact our physical performance.
Third, hydration is vital for post-workout recovery and muscle growth, as water plays an important role in the transport of nutrients to our muscles and protein synthesis.
- Emmie Satrazemis, R. D. (2021, July 15). How much protein do I need to build muscle? Healthy Meal Delivery – Trifecta Nutrition. https://www.trifectanutrition.com/blog/how-much-protein-do-i-need-to-build-muscle#:~:text=Based%20on%20the%20averages%20from,mass%20using%20a%20calorie%20surplus
- Jeff Behar January 22. (2019, January 22). Understanding the importance of proper hydration for maximum gains in and out of the gym! Bodybuilding.com. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/behar12.htm