M.Sc Dietetics & Nutrition
All of us work out with the hope of seeing some improvements. Let it be about losing some extra pounds or gaining lean muscle mass. Everybody put time and money to achieve their goal. If you are reading this from a complete stranger you’ve never heard from before, then you are investing your time in something you think can help you achieve your fitness goal. And trust me, you have done the right thing by deciding to read this post. In this post, I will discuss how anybody can gain lean muscle mass faster applying some simple tricks.
By the end of this post, you will have some insight on how to get lean muscle mass with a cost-effective budget. Let’s jump right into the meat and potatoes of this article.
1. Peanut Butter
This might sound very obvious, but is one of the most effective ways to gain muscles without putting on extra pounds. Peanuts are a rich source of healthy fats, protein, iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6. And there is no denying that everybody loves peanut butter.
It has many benefits as it helps in the prevention of diseases like colon cancer in women, Alzheimer’s disease, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases. If you are into bodybuilding, that definitely means you want a healthier life with fewer diseases to suffer from and peanuts can help you achieve that.
Peanuts are full of healthy monosaturated fats which can help you get the roundness of muscles. But does that mean we can have them as much as we want? Absolutely not. Now, as your body seems to gain the fullness of muscles you desired, and you start seeing some fat built up around your waist you’ll need to reduce the intake of peanut butter. For example, If you were having 4 Tsp of peanut butter then after you have achieved the muscle maturity you can lower the amount to 2 tsp.
2. Have Fruits to Gain Muscle
Fruits have a bad reputation among some people. The thought behind this notion is that anything with sugar can jeopardize the diet, which is true because the fructose content can be somewhat problematic for people having dietary fructose intolerance. Other than that fruits can be great for gains if you consume them at the right time.
When we are asleep, our glycogen levels start depleting and this triggers the brain to break down muscle protein and convert it into glucose. So, when we wake up consuming some fruits can really help restore the liver glycogen and stop the process of muscle protein conversion.
I use a simple way to consume fruits everyday without getting bored of it. If you are not a fan of fruits you can surely use my trick. I consume at least 3 different type of fruits in a day. In the morning after I wake up, I consume a banana or an orange. Then before I hit the gym I consume some grapes or an apple. And after I am done with my workout I take 3 dates.
Apples have polyphenols which are really good at increasing strength, Bananas are a rich source of carbs, orange is the storehouse of vitamin c and dates are insanely rich in iron. So, incorporating these fruits can definitely increase your overall health. And when you are on a muscle gaining spree these can be counted as a boon. Oranges don’t let the Nitric oxide in your body get depleted. People take Nitric Oxide supplements for better blood flow which again helps in carrying more oxygen to the muscle groups. This helps in gaining muscle mass.
3. Protein Intake
The daily requirement of protein, of a strength training athlete, is higher than a regular person who is not so actively involved in weight training or resistance training.
If you are not someone who is suffering from some kind of kidney disease, taking a minimum of .82g protein should be in your everyday to-do list every day when you are on a bulking diet. Some people would suggest that you should consume around 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. That means if you are around 200 lbs you would need around 390-400g of protein every day. Good luck with that. And not just this amount of protein every day from wheys and food can be expensive, but an excess amount of protein every day can be dangerous.
Excessive amounts of protein can be harmful to your kidneys and liver. When the protein intake is excessive more and more calcium is excreted through the kidneys and the risk of osteoporosis develops. And excessive excretion of calcium from the body can also cause kidney stones.
There are some safety measures which everybody should consider when you are consuming high amounts of protein. If you are a beginner who has recently started working out and has low muscle mass, there is no reason in consuming high protein like 1g per pound body weight. You can definitely get great results with consuming around .50g protein per pound of your body weight.
And if you are an advanced weight trainer who has trained for almost 3 years or more and has more muscle mass, you can consume around 1-1.6g protein per pound of bodyweight. There is an interesting journal on the amount of protein one can consume. According to this journal, protein intake amount is sufficient at 1.6g/kg/day.
If you are willing to gain lean muscle mass protein supplementation and consumption is very important. Just take some safety measures when it comes to consuming protein on a high amount. Consume around .5-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight and you are fine. You need to reach your goal smartly without harming your body. What’s the point of getting muscle if it makes you sick in the long run.
4. Workout Timing and Importance of Rest
There is no hard and fast rule about how many days one should be hitting the gym in a week. But if you are a natural bodybuilder, you need to hit the gym at least 5-6 days a week.
Why do I say so? I know our body needs rest to recover from the micro-tears of our muscles after an intense session. But there are researches done and many interesting articles on how important it is to train at least 4 days a week to increase the recovery process and attenuate the swelling caused by the initial training or workout session. And it’s not only your recovery that is benefited by a high frequency but it has also been proved that an increased frequency of workout can help make progress when hit plateau. You can definitely read more about this topic in this article by Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, More on the dose-response relationship between volume and hypertrophy.
But this might have different results on your body. You can take these points as a guideline and find out what works best for your gains. High frequency or low frequency.
I have already talked about how important it is to incorporate sessions of High Intensity Interval Training in your workout routines once or twice every week. It helps with removing extra fat which otherwise might come in between your lean muscle mass gain goals and jeopardize it at so many different levels.
If you have this notion that HIIT might not be worth incorporating when you are trying to gain muscles, then you need to understand how it helps with recovering, increasing Growth Hormones and many more.
I have a complete guide on HIIT where I have discussed its benefits with some exercises you can do in a HIIT session. It’ll be a 5 minutes read but will be worth your time.