Although many of us are still in the midst of winter, depending on where in the world you’re reading this from, of course, the warmer summer months will soon be here. With the warmer weather comes the chance to hit the lakes, the beaches, the resorts etc, and strip off and soak up some sun in the process. When it comes time to hit the beaches, you’re going to want to look like a Greek god. Not only are you going to want to have shifted as much body fat as possible, you’ll also want to be sporting a lean and muscular physique that makes other guys green with envy. Building lean muscle mass is more difficult than simply building muscle mass, as the idea is to increase muscle gain and burn fat simultaneously, or at the very least keep your body fat under control. Although you’ll need to hit the gym and pump some serious iron, the real hard work is done in the kitchen. If your nutrition isn’t on point, you simply cannot build lean muscle, no matter what. There is however, a diet plan you can follow which experts are referring to as the lean muscle diet. In actual fact it isn’t a diet at all, but rather a healthy lifestyle instead.
Protein is the key – Protein and muscle go hand in hand with one another and you simply cannot build muscle without it. Protein is an essential macronutrient that promotes muscular and cellular growth and repair. When we exercise we break our muscle tissue down, we grow when we rest as our bodies rebuild it via protein synthesis. Protein synthesis requires protein, and lots of it. If you’re looking at building lean muscle mass, you will need to consume a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, preferably 1.5 grams. So, a 200lb man would need between 200 and 300 grams of protein per day. Protein also promotes fat loss as it keeps you feeling full for longer, and as it is thermogenic, the body burns calories just by digesting it. Get your protein from lean meats, organic eggs, seafood sources, and other natural sources. Stay clear of frozen or processed meats, and think about investing in a good quality protein powder as well.
Fats are your friend – People hear the word “fat” and they begin shaking in their boots. In reality, fat is not only healthy, it is actually essential for our health. There are healthy fats such as poly and mono – unsaturated fats, and unhealthy ones such as trans fats and saturated fats. Healthy fats boost metabolism, they fuel the body, they reduce harmful cholesterol, and they promote muscle growth. Great examples of healthy fats include: Oily fish, avocados, natural nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, organic peanut butter, and coconut oil.
Carbs are what count – When trying to build muscle, carbohydrates are very important as they’re broken down and converted into glycogen by the body, which is the primary energy source for our muscles. Too many carbs however, can slow down fat loss or even promote fat gain. When building lean muscle, carb cycling is very, very effective. Get your carbs from healthy sources such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta etc.