The Dos and Don’ts of Building Lean Muscle

lean muscle

If you’re looking to get lean muscle mass, then you’re in the right place. Throughout this article, we’ll cover the essential dos and don’t when it comes to bulking up.

In a recent study, 63% of men thought either their arms or chests weren’t muscular enough. In light of that, we wanted to give out a little advice to help you get the gains you want!

So without further ado, let’s dive into the dos and don’t of building lean muscle.

1. Do Have a Plan of Action

If you’re aiming to get a more muscular physique, it’s not as simple as hitting the weights and eating more food. If you want to build muscle mass, then you need a strict plan.

This should include:

  • Upping the frequency of your gym sessions (we recommend at least four times a week)
  • Increasing the average time of your gym sessions.
  • Getting and following a diet plan tailored to building muscle.

2. Do Lift Various Sized Weights

Yes, weights between the eight and 12 rep range are great for making muscle. However, whether you realize it or not, your body loves to be challenged.

Therefore, we recommend doing some lower-rep strength work for about a month, in addition to a higher-rep endurance-style workout.

You’ll find that mixing it up will help stimulate muscle growth.

3. Do Add Supplements to Your Diet

Supplements are helpful for boosting your performance at the gym. For example, we often don’t get enough creatine, fish oil, or, vitamins in our typical diets- all of which can help achieve lean muscle.

Supplements help ensure we get everything we need for building strength and aiding recovery.

Disclaimer: supplements are not magic beans- they’re an addition, not a comprehensive way of building lean muscle. You should take them alongside a healthy diet and a rigorous exercise plan.

4. Do Eat More Protein

As you probably already know, you need to consume enough protein to build muscle.

Aim to consume anywhere between one to eight grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This will undoubtedly help you achieve your body goals.

5. Do Your Most Important Exercises First

We recommend doing your more intense workouts at the beginning of your gym session. These kinds of workouts hit more muscles and therefore require more strength and endurance.

Unsurprisingly, it’s best to do these first, before you feel too worn out!

The following exercises fall into this category:

  • Heavy squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Cleans
  • Snatches
  • Jerks

Once you’ve got the heavier lifts out the way, move onto activities that focus on two or more muscles simultaneously. For example:

  • Overhead presses
  • Bench presses
  • Rows
  • Pull-ups
  • Glute-ham raises

Finally, to finish up, do a few exercises that work on individual muscles. Common muscles you might want to focus on include: biceps, delts, and calves.

5. Do Your Most Important Exercises First

When you don’t get enough sleep, it makes it harder to maintain your muscle-building habits. When you get your eight hours a night, you’ll have more energy to nail your workouts and execute your meal plans.

Also, your brain releases growth hormones while you sleep.

So, if you don’t allow yourself enough rest, your body doesn’t get enough of this essential hormone. This is essential for building muscle and replenishing damaged tissue.

7. Don’t Eat Too Many Protein Bars

As previously mentioned, supplements like protein bars (or gels and powders) are a fabulous addition to your diet. However, they shouldn’t be the only thing you eat.

You need to eat the right combination of protein, carbs, and healthy fats from ‘real’ cooked food.

This is essential for maintaining both your lean body mass and giving you enough energy to smash your workouts.

Obviously, you need protein to obtain muscle but, you should try to get it from sources like:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beans
  • Quinoa

These natural foods give you micronutrients that aid the repair of damaged tissue. Sadly, powders and gels just don’t have the same effect.

8. Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Cardio

Although, you need to do aerobic exercise to strip the fat. You shouldn’t overly focus on this form of exercise. Unfortunately, too much running can hinder your body from generating muscle.

This is because the energy you waste on cardio zaps the strength you’ll need for weight training.

Additionally, if you want to build muscle, you’ll need to eat enough calories to enable your muscles to build up.

So, if you’re doing a lot of running, say 45 miles a week, it’ll be harder to replenish those calories because there’s too much tissue to repair afterward.

Therefore, you waste your calorie reserve on that rather than building muscle- not cool. Instead, you should consider doing two or three days of cardio (at under 45 minutes).

9. Don’t Get Dehydrated

If you haven’t drunk enough water, you’ll start to feel tired, sick, and may suffer from headaches. This will inevitably make working out harder than it needs to be.

Also, people often mistake being thirsty for being hungry. So, drinking enough water may stop you from overeating. This will help deter any unwanted fat from building up and over your muscles- win-win!

10. Don’t Be Impatient

Building muscle takes a long time. When you first hit the weights, you can produce anywhere up to 20 pounds of muscle after just one year.

However, after that, you’re probably looking at around 12 pounds a year, approximately one a month.

This sometimes results in guys giving up before they make any more progress. So, stick with it- if you do the right exercises and eat the correct diet, then you’ll eventually get the gains you want.

Did You Enjoy This Blog Post on Lean Muscle?

If you enjoyed reading this article, then you’ll love our health and fitness blog. Over there, we talk about everything from exercises that make your abs pop, to the habits of healthy people.

So, feel free to take a browse!

Or, if you have any questions on the subject of health and fitness, please feel free to reach out and contact us. We’d love to hear from you and will endeavor to help you as best we can. Speak soon!