Lean muscle building doesn’t only benefit body builders and gym goers, it also delivers health perks to any other ordinary people. For athletes, boosting the growth rate of lean muscles can improve their health, performance, and can lower their chances of injuries. On the other hand, building lean muscles for the elderly can improve functional abilities, and their quality of life by giving them enough power to be independent in their daily lives.
If you’ve been searching for ways to improve your muscle mass, you came at the right place. In your search for answers, you probably have read or heard many tips and advices from other people based on their own experiences. Although, their routines might also work for you, there’s a chance that it won’t because people have different bodies. If their routines are not based on facts and scientific research, you can’t be totally sure if what they do can deliver the same results to your body. Thus, in this chapter, we’ll share 6 good tips from experts on how you can build lean muscle, sure and fast.
#1 Volume Load
Volume load simply means the amount of work you do (i.e. number of reps), and the weight or load you lift. Volume load plays an important role in building lean muscles, and you must pay attention to it. To get the right volume load that determines the capabilities of your muscle growth, you should calculate the amount using this equation: load = Weight x Reps x Sets. It means, multiplying your reps each set to the number of sets and the weight you lift in a single rep.
Research says that there’s a link between your muscle growth and volume load, implying that the higher the volume you lift in a certain period of time, the faster you’ll grow your muscles. Researchers also found a meta-analysis, showing the correlation between the two, and determined that 10 sets per muscle can suffice a weekly work.
However, increasing the volume abruptly, and out of nowhere increases the chance of injuries. To be able to efficiently use volume load that can lead to gains, you must track it. You can gradually increase the weight you have now, by adding 10% more weekly. This way, you’re overloading your muscles and allowing your body to adapt, which causes your muscles to grow. If you’re working out for the past 1-2 months with great intensity, you may reduce your volume in 1-2 weeks. This way, you’re allowing your body to recover, and grow correctly.
#2 Rest intervals
Rest intervals are important when building lean muscles. Rest intervals are the pauses you do every after set. It has a major impact on your muscle growth, and the intensity of your training. Rest intervals under half a minute, boosts the production of muscle building hormones such as, testosterone and IGF-1. However, it also increases metabolic stress levels. The short intervals have good and bad consequences, but putting them altogether has more beneficial effects in building lean muscles than just acutely increasing hormones.
Long intervals (more than 90 seconds), however, will help your body adjust better, allowing you to lift heavier weights. Therefore, experts recommend combining short and long intervals when working out. The combination of varied intervals will optimize your total workout volume.
#3 Rep ranges
8-12 rep range is typically used for building muscle, but it doesn’t mean, that’s the only option you have. Although, researchers demonstrated a level of muscular hypertrophy between rep ranges 4 and 30, it doesn’t mean you should cross out everything in between. Changing your rep ranges will confuse your body in adapting, meaning your muscles will grow constantly. Switching rep ranges also stimulate different muscle fiber types, which grows muscles using various methods.
In a study conducted to see and compare the effect of varied rep ranges, experts found that people who train with with rep ranges of 2-3, 8-12 and 20-30 acquired better results in building muscles than those who do their rep ranges constantly over the week. Varied rep ranges will also avoid boredom, and will make you feel more motivated. You may stay at 8-12 rep ranges, but do some very light or heavy work out at lower or higher reps. Adding advanced workout routine to your reps could also help.
#4 Learn about creatine
Creatine monohydrate has shown impressive effects in improving muscle mass and muscle strength. In the recent years, it has been the most researched supplement for people looking for something that can help them build muscles fast, efficient and safe. Researches showed that creatine is a great supplement that gives the body more adenosine tri-phosphate, which is turned into energy used for intense workouts. Research showed that people who took creatine while working out had double muscle gains over 12 weeks than those who worked out without it.
Other studies also found that creatine and resistance training on lean muscles can increase the average body mass by 4.4 pounds. Over 200 researches, creatine has been proven safe and effective for human consumption like all other supplements in the market. Creatine won’t only help you gain muscle, and give you more strength when working out, it can also improve your overall health.
Average dosage of creatine is 5g per day before and after workout. It’s advised, however, to first undergo a loading period of creatine into your muscles. To do it, take 4 doses of 5 grams everyday for five days.
#5 Consume whey protein
What’s so special with whey protein, and why almost everyone at the gym has it? Well, it’s all about its rich leucine content. Whey protein helps a lot in boosting lean muscle mass, as it makes muscle protein synthesis larger than muscle protein breakdown. Taking whey protein after working out, allows the body digest leucine quickly. Leucine is an essential amino acid that aids muscle growth. When taken after a workout, leucine is quickly absorbed in the body that makes protein synthesis faster. According to studies, taking whey protein and doing high intensity resistance training, statistically increases body mass by an average of 2.2 pounds. Taking 1-2 scoops of whey protein 30 minutes to one hour after training can improve workout results drastically. For those who are not allowed to have whey protein, chicken, beef or egg protein can serve as substitutes.
#6 Casein before bed
There are two main reasons why you need to take casein before you hit the bed: one, it improves protein synthesis; second, it aids greater body fat loss. Casein is a protein derivative that can be found in milk. This protein digests slowly, which means, taking it before sleeping will allow you to stay in anabolic phase, helping your body recuperate. In a study involving 16 young, healthy males who workout with high intensity are observed to identify the effects of casein in the body. Half of the subjects were asked to take casein before sleeping, while the other group was given with a placebo. The results were impressive. The group who took casein had 22 percent better protein synthesis than the other group who took a placebo. In other research, it showed that taking casein before bed improves body fat loss over time. When taking casein, drink 30-40 grams before sleeping. Casein, besides those in powdered form, can also be acquired in cottage cheese or high-protein Greek yogurt.