If you want to gain lean muscle mass and reduce body fat, then it’s important to have a solid game plan in place that addresses all of your nutritional and fitness needs. If you don’t, then you will find yourself simultaneously gaining mass and fat, which means you’ll never achieve that lean, cut look you’re after. Here are 7 tips to help you gain lean muscle mass without the fat:
Stick to a diet that consists of high quality fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Not only are these vital to muscle recovery and growth, but they provide much needed energy and boost your immune system as well. Healthy protein choices include lean beef or venison, low fat dairy products, eggs and chicken breasts. Healthy carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, oatmeal and beans. Finally, be sure to include healthy fats from avocados, olive oils, seeds and nuts.
You need to always stay hydrated! In general, this means consuming around 10 cups of water per day. It’s also vital that you avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee, energy drinks and sodas as much as possible because they can cause dehydration.
Keep your metabolism in overdrive by eating more smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones. Space your meals two or three hours apart and always make sure that each meal contains a healthy balance of proteins and carbohydrates. For example, a chicken breast in a whole wheat wrap with lettuce and tomatoes would be a perfect midday meal.
To maximize your results and avoid injury, it’s important to focus on compound exercises like lunges, twist curls, close grip push-ups, deadlifts, upright rows and bench presses. All of these exercises incorporate more than one muscle group and more than one joint range of motion. This is vital because if one muscle group becomes too strong in relation to another, this can cause serious injuries.
As soon as you finish your workout, you need to feed your muscles because they desperately need vital nutrients after the abuse you just put them through. Without them, they can’t rebuild torn muscle fibers and build lean muscle mass. The quickest way to meet your body’s needs after a workout is to drink a whey protein shake mixed with milk, water or grape juice.
Even though your focus is on building lean muscle mass, don’t neglect your cardio! You still want to do 30 to 45 minutes of cardio three times a week on days you’re not weight training. This doesn’t have to be running, which many find to be boring. You can also do rowing, arc training, elliptical training, stair climbing or cycling.
Last but not least, make sure you get plenty of rest! Your body performs most of its rebuilding and repairing tasks while you sleep, so if you ever want to see the results of all those hours spent in the gym, it’s vital that you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.