It is pretty simple, prepare a Quality Diet, add more Protein and Start Training!!!
Muscle building begins with eating more to gain more. Here, the problem is people often end up putting on a lot of weight, precisely fats. Now, in order to shed the extra weight gained, dieting becomes essential and this brings them back to where they began with. This becomes an endless cycle of frustration and pain!!!
Bulking is a process of muscle building, where you gain a good amount of muscles with minimal fat gains. We are going to discuss more about it.
Keep in mind, as you look to build muscles you are very likely to gain some fats. This is a very normal process. You cannot avoid fats completely, even the essential fat content mentioned in studies are 3-5%.
What we are trying to achieve is,gain lean muscle mass. This can be done by following a calorie surplus diet and doing proper workout; it shall promote maximum muscle gains with least amount of fat gains. The surplus diet can be carried out for a brief period of time, while still looking good.
Clean bulking is one of the major fitness goals and of course a challenging one. This is because in order to gain muscles you will have to consume more calories and its clear when we consume more calories, chances of gaining fats increases.
Remember, you can only gain 1-2 pounds of muscles per month, which varies briefly on your current muscular health. So, if you are gaining more weight by increasing the calorie content, the excess weight is fat.
There are different ways on how you can build up lean muscles; your focus should be on-
- Consistent training.
- Following a high protein diet.
- Getting enough rest to recover.
12 Best ways to increase lean muscle mass- things to do
1. Measure your body composition
Bulking requires you to get leaner first. Analyse your current body composition and measure the muscles to fat ratio. The recommended fat percentage to begin clean bulking is 10-15%.
If you have more fat, then you will have to plan a calorie deficit diet. This needs you to reduce the amount of calories you consume daily. Thus, if your daily calorie intake is around 2500cal, reduce it by 250-300cals; this will help you to get leaner, without getting weak. Once you have reached the desired level of fat percentage, you can begin the bulking process.
If you are already very lean, bulking becomes a lot easier for you. You only need to plan a calorie surplus diet. Measure the amount of calories you consume daily for maintenance and increase it by 300-500cals. For example, if your current calorie consumption is 1600-1800, increasing it by 300-500cals will help you to build lean muscles and not fats.
Of course, you will have to train; simply eating food is not going to build muscles for you.
2. Increase your calories
You are not going to build muscles if you continue to be in a state of calorie deficit. It needs you to increase your daily calorie intake.
I am not talking about adding pizzas and burgers to your diet…
Quality of calories that you consume is very important. If you are doing intense training in the gym and not giving the body the right fuel, it is not going to work out the way you want.
The calories that you consume daily must come from high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates; contain no sugar and minimal fats (you must not avoid fats completely).
Note: Avg calorie consumption for an individual is 1800-2500cals.To build muscles it has to be increased by 300-500cals.
3. Increase the protein intake
Protein is a very essential macronutrient, if you want to build lean muscles. Protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis and helps in building new muscle fibres.
Protein drinks and shakes only provide you with a quick boost in protein pre or post workout, they are recommended but food based protein sources are very essential. Food-based proteins provide you with additional vitamins and nutrients, which are essential for overall growth.
Add food sources to your diet that are high in protein, such as sea food (contains least amount of fats), lean grass-fed meat, eggs, nuts, etc.
Avoid taking one big meal of protein, but try to spread it into different meals. As protein is not stored in the muscles like carbs or fat for fuel, it becomes essential to keep a supply of protein throughout the day. This is especially important when you look to build lean muscles.
Note: The recommended daily protein intake is 1.6gm per kg bodyweight daily. 1gm of protein contains 4 calories.
4. Understand the importance of Carbs
A proper meal consists of optimum amount of proteins, good or complex carbs and good quality fats. The protein to carb to fat ratio should be around 40:30:30.
Carbohydrates are very essential to fuel the body; you do need an extra amount of fuel to provide the energy for workouts.
It is often recommended to have a heavy breakfast, to maintain the energy levels throughout the day. After intense workout sessions, your body gets into the metabolic state and starts burning more. If adequate fuel (carbohydrates and fats) is not provided, it will start burning muscle protein for fuel.
Thus, carbohydrate consumption becomes essential for building lean muscle mass.
However, if you are not in a calorie surplus diet, the carb consumption should be limited to what you can burn without putting up weight (i.e. building up fats) and convert into muscles.
Note: For muscle building around 45-50% of your calories should come from carbs. 1gms of carbs contain 4 calories.
5. Healthy Fat consumption
Fats are considerably bad as compared to other macronutrient, such as proteins and carbs. However, some amount of fats are important, even when you are looking to build lean muscle mass.
Fats are best source for calories, where protein and carbohydrates offer you with 4 calories per gram; fats provide 9 calories per gram.
As mentioned before, the quality of the calories you get are very important. Fat sources like olive oil, avocados, fish or nuts are great healthy fat sources and provide the desired calories as well.
Moreover, these fat sources have additional nutrients that are required for bodybuilding, such as omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help in reducing inflammation, improving brain functions and have other health benefits as well.
6. Start lifting heavy weights
If you want to build lean muscles, heavy weight lifting workouts are very important.
Heavy weight lifting exercises stimulate the growth of muscles. This means 3-4 days of the week should be assigned for weight lifting exercises.
Your focus should be on partitioning the calories you consume towards muscle repair, recovery and growth. Heavy weight lifting leads to muscle tension and tear, which stimulates muscle repair and growth.
Remember, adequate rest is important for proper muscle growth. Prepare a routine for upper body workouts (including chest, back, etc.) and lower body workouts (leg, waist glutes, etc.), alternate it with one rest day in between. Rest days are important; it is when the muscles actually grow.
7. Focus on complex exercises
Your exercise routine should comprise of both compound and isolation exercises. Compound exercises help you to train all the major muscle groups at once, this include squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls ups, etc. Isolation exercises help you to focus more on one particular region of your body;it includes curls, raises, etc.
Moreover, compound exercises combined with heavy weight lifting help you to release the most important muscle building hormone, i.e. Testosterone.
Additionally, it saves a lot of time and helps you get stronger, along with building lean muscles.
High intensity training works best for burning fats and build lean muscle mass.
8. Focus on volume exercises (Muscle Hypertrophy)
Muscle hypertrophy simply means increasing muscle size.
Focus on combining high intensity exercises with volume, it helps to increase muscle size and build muscles.
Workout in sets, 10-15 reps per set for a minimum of 4-5 sets is highly recommended. This increases the time under tension for muscles. It further helps to stimulate muscle growth and cause muscle hypertrophy.
9. Workout till you feel the muscle fatigue
Our body builds muscle only when there is a need for more strength. Thus, the stress you create in your muscles determines how much stimuli is created for muscle growth.
Make sure you complete your reps; muscle contraction is the highest when you lower the weights or put up the weights. Completing the reps creates more tension and stress in the muscle, which further helps in muscle growth.
After a heavy weight session, pick up a comparatively lighter weight and do as many reps as you can, till you feel the muscle fatigue.
Intense workouts lead to muscle fatigue, in the process our body burns a lot of fats, which helps in gaining lean muscle mass.
10. Workout progressively
Every time you hit the gym, make sure you do little more than your previous session.
You can either add more weights or increase the number of reps or sets. The point here is to force the body to create a stimulus for muscle growth and improve.
Additionally, it helps you to avoid being in a plateau state and keep building muscles with every workout session.
11. Cardio training are recommended
Cardio exercises do not only keep you fit, but they also ensure you burn the fats present in the body.
The cardio exercises focus on burning fats exclusively, without actually burning off all the calories.
Cardio-exercises should be a part of your weekly routine, it keeps you healthy at heart and helps avoid fat gains and remove wastes. It additionally, helps you to build more endurance power, which assists during resistance training that helps to build more muscles.
12. Keep a track of your progress
It is very important part to have an understanding about your progress.
Measure the BMI and fat percentage after every 3-4 weeks to make sure you are gaining or if any changes are needed.
If there is an increase in fats, reduce the calorie intake and if you find no increase in weight, increase the calorie intake.
Regular analysis makes it easy for you to monitor the progress and make necessary changes accordingly.