Not everyone has the same fitness goal in mind. Some want to get big, so they train for hypertrophy, others want to build explosive strength and endurance, so they train accordingly. But if you want to be lean and muscular, perhaps even lose some weight, then you must take a different approach to meet your fitness goals. Everybody is different, so listen to your body and experiment with what works and what doesn't work for you.
The tips below will help you lose unwanted body-fat and help you build lean muscle mass. While this seems like 'less work' than the efforts required for hardcore muscle building goals, make no mistake - you still have to make the effort to switch to a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain and improve your results. The trick with long-term results is to make a healthy habit out of your exercise routine and healthy diet.
Reduce your Body-Fat and Build Lean Muscle Mass
1. Frequent Meals
If you increase the frequency of your meals, not only do you learn how to control your portions, but you keep giving your body less energy than it needs consistently. This way, you force your body to tap into your fat resources in order to get the extra fuel it needs to get through the day. Additionally, if you eat small healthy snacks or meals every two hours, you promote thermogenesis, which facilitates your weight loss. Just make sure that you eat protein and fat with every meal:
- Egg White
- Peanut Butter
2. Training Frequency
If you simply want to maintain muscle mass, then you can hit the gym twice a week and you're good. But if you want to add muscle size and reduce your body-fat percentage for a lean muscular look, then consider hitting the gym up to 4-5 times a week. Going to the gym more frequently doesn't mean you need to train until you drop. Make your workouts shorter to allow more time for recovery.
3. Big Lifts
Deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, and pull-ups are compound movements that demand a lot of muscle work. They work your major muscle groups while providing you with the many benefits of weightlifting. The great thing about weightlifting is that you can add more weight each time you return to the gym, especially if you want to increase your muscle mass. You will also burn more calories after your workout and during your recovery for quite a while thanks to the after-burn effect of weight training. Just make sure you don’t overdo it by lifting heavier than you can until you drop. Keep the weight light and the training intense for better results.
4. Active Recovery
Make sure you treat your recovery with the same seriousness that you treat your nutrition and training with. Just because you're out of the gym, that doesn't mean you can eat junk and sit around. Sure, you must get plenty of rest and sleep (8-9 hour per night), but focus on relaxing activities, such as long walks, bike rides, or even social games with your friends and family. You'll notice that not only will you reach your health and fitness goals sooner, but you'll benefit from overall enhanced well-being.
5. Be Consistent
It's very important to vary your training for strength, hypertrophy and injury prevention. Frequently changing your training program can stimulate further adaptation and promote continuous progress while avoiding plateaus. But if you're a beginner, or just someone looking to build lean muscle mass, you need to stick to your program enough to allow your body to improve its strength and efficiency. You can only do this by consistently performing similar movement patterns over a longer period of time.
These 5 tips are the major principles you need to stick to in order to get that lean and muscular look you are aiming for. But there are plenty of other things you can do to help out, such as getting a personal trainer and going to a good nutritionist. However, if you don't have time for that, here are some honorary mentions that can help you achieve your goals:
- Protein up: This shouldn't come as a surprise since all fitness enthusiasts rave about protein. It's what your muscles need in order to build and repair tissue, so make sure you get 1g to 8g of protein per pound of bodyweight every single day if you want to add some muscle on your bones.
- Stress control: Cortisol (the stress hormone) can negatively impact your life, increase your fat gain, and reduce your motivation to work out. While you can't change people and situations that cause you stress, you can at least control your fitness goals. Make short-term goals that you train for consistently. This is a very rewarding method that will boost an increase in your happy hormones!
- Eat before you train: Many people think they can speed up their weight loss by fasting before training. That's not a good idea if you want that lean muscular look as well. Not only will you not have enough energy to work out efficiently, but you won't have enough resources to build your desired lean muscle mass. So make sure you have enough protein before you work out.
- Drink water: You hear this all the time, with every single diet and training program, and that's because it's extremely important to keep hydrated. Sipping on water throughout the day and during your training ensures that you can perform at a high-level and it can also help reduce your cravings. Many people confuse hunger with thirst, so they overeat. A good way to avoid that is to keep hydrated with water, and not with soda or other drinks.
Make sure that you follow these tips to reduce your body-fat percentage and build more muscle mass. As long as you get enough protein to help you exercise consistently, you can expect great results coming your way. Remember that consistent training is especially important to achieve your goals. Jamie Fitz reinforces this tip in his video, so make sure you check it out if you need further convincing.
Drink plenty of water and eat enough protein to have the resources you need for your consistent training. Hit the gym frequently, but don't overdo do it. Keep your workouts short, but intense, to ensure that you burn calories for weight-loss and stimulate muscle growth for lean muscle mass. Train smart and you'll achieve your goals in no time!