You’re busting your butt in the gym hoping to see gains but you’re not sure if you’re doing the right things.
Building muscle can be a frustrating and slow process, especially if you aren’t sure how to best go about it.
Overtraining and eating the wrong foods can hurt your progress, so what is the best way to increase lean muscle without giving up all your beloved foods?
Don’t worry, with a few simple tweaks, even your morning coffee and muffin can help you with your muscle gains.
How to Increase Lean Muscle Mass
The two most important parts of building muscle include the type of training you are doing and the meals and snacks you are eating.
Training for Lean Muscle Gain
If you are hoping to tone up and see some definition in the mirror, spending endless hours in the gym doing cardio is not going to get you there.
To build muscle you need to challenge your muscles. This means incorporating a minimum of 2-3 days of a strength training exercise that works for all your major muscle groups (chest, arms, shoulders, back, abs, glutes, and legs).
When incorporating strength training, you need to work on consistency and constantly challenge yourself.
If you are strength training with the same 5-pound dumbbell for 6 months, you probably aren’t going to see a big difference in muscle definition.
Always choose a weight that challenges you to get through your reps. Once it becomes less challenging, increase the weight a little more.
Equally as important as your strength training routine is incorporating rest days. If you work out your legs, you don’t want to work them out again the very next day, especially if they are sore.
This can lead to overtraining and risk for injury. Instead, plan to give yourself a day of recovery in between each strength training day.
This is a great opportunity to squeeze in some low-intensity cardio, such as going for a light walk.
An Optimal Muscle Building Diet
The next most important part of building muscle mass is what you put in your body. As the saying goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet.
A common mistake many people make when looking to build muscle is restricting their calories or thinking they can eat whatever they want because they are working it off.
Although strength training does burn calories, it does not burn as many calories as cardiovascular exercise. Instead, strength training increases your overall calorie burn throughout the day.
The more muscle mass you gain over time, the more energy your body burns at rest. However, it’s a slow process.
To best fuel your body to build muscle, you mustn’t overly restrict your calorie intake.
Equally important is making sure you are boosting your protein intake to support muscle growth. When you strength train, you create tiny tears in the muscle tissue.
These tears are necessary to rebuild that muscle a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger. To rebuild that muscle, you need protein.
According to the American Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM), those who are strength training regularly should aim to consume 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.5-0.8 grams per pound).
To put that into perspective, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACND) recommends the average person consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
This is a large increase for some, often requiring swapping out high-carb foods for protein-dense ones. .
So, can muffins help you gain muscle? It depends on the muffin. Using a high protein, low-calorie mix such as Naked Bake, Naked Nutrition’s protein banana bread mix, can help get you there.
With 15 grams of protein and only 5 grams of sugar, it puts traditional muffins in their place and provides you with an extra dose of protein to meet your exercise goals.
Choosing a store-bought muffin provides high amounts of carbohydrates and added sugars. A high-carb diet without adequate protein can result in a lack of muscle gain and even weight gain if you aren’t careful.
This means subbing out that blueberry muffin from your favorite bakery for eggs or a homemade protein muffin instead. Not a fan of muffins? No problem. Naked Bake can be used to make waffles or pancakes as well.