Build Muscle, Fitness
Build lean muscle mass

7 Proven Ways to Increase Lean Muscle Mass

Increasing lean body mass is carefully building muscle tissue without going through bulk phases.

Typical or old-school body-building wisdom going on a bulking phase to build muscle.

First, you’ll need to maintain a calorie surplus.

Second, go into a cutting phase where you maintain a caloric deficit to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass.

This has been traditionally accepted because it anecdotally works.

However, more and more people want to build muscle without being too bulky or dealing with an excess of fat.

Of course, this is possible. However, compared to the traditional bulk and cut phases, this type of lean muscle mass building is not as obvious and takes more time.

Nevertheless, you can end up with the same results without drastic changes in your body size.

Here are seven tips to help you build lean muscle mass without having to bulk get big.

How to increase lean muscle mass


1. Weigh and Measure Yourself

It is important to know your weight to have some data points regarding your progress.

More importantly, develop a healthy relationship with the scale.

Do not develop an emotional attachment to a specific number on the scale.

Remember that the weight you measure is data for tracking your journey.The scale can’t measure the amount of lean muscle in your body.

Despite this inadequacy, it is still an important way you can track your progress.

Weigh yourself daily immediately after waking up before drinking water and eating.

For more accurate tracking, use a digital scale.

Use a measuring tape

A measuring tape can tell you a lot. Your waist circumference will tell you how much you are losing fat or adding muscle.

You can measure your bicep, legs, and thighs to see if you are building muscle in those areas.

Lastly, use the tape measure once a month since changes in inches don’t happen overnight.

Take photos

Taking photos daily or weekly is a great way to keep track of your progress.

Wear tight clothes that reveal your body or take the photos naked if you don’t intend to share them.

Weigh your food

This will help you control your meal portions and avoid overeating.

Additionally, weighing food can make you more conscious of the fuel that you put in your body.

In the end, this will help you eat more foods that will help you gain more muscle.

2. Proper Workouts and Volume Training

Training is the driving force for gaining lean muscle mass.

No matter how perfect your diet and nutrition are, if you do not train properly, you will not get your desired gains of lean muscle.

There are several ways that you can train to build lean muscle. The most common is resistance training, also known as weightlifting or weight training.

Also, you can do plyometric training or high-intensity interval training. Calisthenics, bodyweight training, and yoga are also excellent alternatives.

Whichever method of training you choose, keep in mind that building muscle has everything to do with providing resistance to your skeletal muscles.

Research suggests that as long as you repeat a movement to fatigue, you will gain muscle and strength.

With weightlifting, it is easier to build lean muscle because your progression is easier and more visible. You can simply use heavier weights and lift them more times.

Do more compound exercises that target multiple muscles to build muscle fast and save time.

Isolated exercises like bicep curls may do wonders for targeting a particular muscle group but may lead to muscular imbalance if you focus on it too much.

With yoga and calisthenics, holding poses or simply doing push-ups, squats, or crunches will build strength.

Same with HIIT and plyometrics. However, as you get stronger do more challenging exercises and more reps.

That said, choose the training method that is best for you and your current health condition.

3. Prioritize Protein in Your Diet

No matter how hard you work out, you must fuel your body to build lean muscle.

This can be accomplished with a healthy diet. However, since you have a specific goal of developing lean muscle mass, you should prioritize protein.

Protein is the most important nutritional component of lean muscle. This means you have to eat more foods that will help you gain more muscle.

If you are looking to optimize further, eat protein in every meal.

Your body can absorb a lot of protein in a single meal. Even though it is not clear how much protein we can actually use and not just absorb in any single meal.

Animal sources of protein are generally of higher quality than plant sources of protein. Ensure you eat enough milk, eggs, chicken, and other animal sources of protein to build lean muscle.

If you are vegan, Soy Protein Isolate, as well as Pea and Rice Protein concentrates, will do the job for you.

Determine your required Protein. Current evidence indicates intakes in the range of at least 1.2 to 1.6 g/(kg·day) of high-quality protein are ideal for muscle growth.

After determining how much protein you need, identify your daily recommended caloric intake.

If you are building mass, you will need to have a slight calorie surplus.

You will also need carbs to supply you with energy for the day as well as healthy fats.

If you want to build muscle while losing weight, make sure you are on a caloric deficit. That is, burning more calories than you consume.

You can also take protein before and after workouts.

Recent studies show that as long as you take your pre-workout and post-workout meals within 4-6 hours of each other, you will be maximizing your protein “timing.”

4. Supplement with Protein Powder before Sleep

Consume protein before sleeping. You can either eat foods that will help you gain more muscle, like lean protein, or take a powder shake before sleeping.

One study suggests consuming at least 40 grams of protein before going to sleep to increase muscle protein synthesis rates throughout overnight sleep.

Protein Powder may be needed to meet your protein requirements a day anyway.

5. Take Creatine Supplements

Creatine isn’t a steroid, and it isn’t something you should be afraid of.

It naturally occurs in meat and is massively helpful in allowing for greater performance leading to more muscle, power, and strength gains.

Furthermore, no medically significant side effects have been reported in the literature.

If you ingest extra Creatine, your body will either absorb it in your muscle or just remove it through urine.

Creatine isn’t a dangerous supplement and is something you should consider if you are serious about building lean muscle.

6. Drink Your Coffee

For those who want to lose fat while building muscle, studies have shown that caffeine may be useful for fat oxidation, as suggested by some studies.

According to research, the combination of coffee intake and repeated bouts of low-intensity exercise enhances fat oxidation in the period after exercise.

Performance benefits can also be seen with moderate amounts (~3 body mass) of caffeine. Caffeine is typically included in many pre-workout drinks for this reason.

Furthermore, these benefits are likely to occur in various sports, including endurance events, stop-and-go events, and sports involving sustained high-intensity activity lasting from 1-60 min.

So if you are working out for more than an hour, consider having a quick cup or ingesting caffeine through your preferred drink.

7. Get Enough Quality Sleep

Sleeping is great for two reasons. One for increasing lean muscle mass, and two, for weight loss.

It is recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep for optimal performance.

Lack of sleep has several effects on performance. Sleep extension also improves performance, pain sensitivity, and growth hormone responses which are beneficial in accelerating recovery.

Sleep can be improved by having strategies to fall asleep and having a consistent timing and duration of sleep.

Enhancing sleep quality helps improve training and performance.

Try to have consistent and adequate sleep hours. Establish routines for sleep to “fall asleep faster” and reduce sleep latency.

Sleep is the most underrated factor for weight loss.

One study involving 36 subjects proves this. One group maintained a caloric deficit and had adequate sleep for 8 weeks. The other group had a caloric deficit but slept 1 hour less on weekdays and slept 1 hour extra on weekends to “catch up.”

They found that for the group that slept normally, 83% of the weight lost came from fat, while for those that were deprived of 1 hour of sleep on weekdays, 85% of the weight lost came from lean muscle mass.


Gaining muscle mass may take a little longer to get visible results.

But the results can be lasting as these habits become more ingrained and incorporated into your lifestyle.

Be patient and keep pushing yourself.

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