For many people, increasing lean muscle mass can be just as difficult a task as loosing weight. When exercise is concerned, proper training style, technique, and form are all crucial components for maximizing muscle growth, body toning and overall results. Scottsdale, Arizona based celebrity personal trainer Lucas James and nutrition expert and trainer Jason Apfel have created a customized ‘Lean Muscle Mass Fitness Program’ for both men and women looking to increase lean body mass, expand their athletic abilities and augment their physical edge. We’ve decided to share our insight here with you so you can safely and effectively start on the path towards reaching your peak performance.
Nutritionally speaking, gaining lean muscle mass takes work, aside from getting into the gym. When trying to increase muscle, protein is king. It’s important not to eat the wrong type of calories or foods when fueling your body for lean muscle growth. Make sure to eat foods that will give you energy in the gym as well. This means complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs give our bodies the fuel they need in the gym, while protein helps reduce muscle breakdown and promote muscle growth after exercise. You should have one gram of carbohydrate for each half gram of protein eaten an hour before a workout. This combination not only gives you the energy to lift, it also helps repair muscle damage and fully enhances the recovery process following the exercise. It is ‘essential’ to consume essential amino acids –the building blocks of protein- found in animal products like dairy, meat, eggs, and fish protein. These versions are much more beneficial for building lean muscle mass than their vegetable-protein counterparts. Remember, since everyone is different, it is important to receive proper nutrition counseling so that you don’t over eat, including protein which can cause detrimental effects on metabolism and body function if not taken in the proper amounts at the right time.
In terms of your training regimen, start by lifting heavier weights. People often get carried away with performing the same exercises, lifting the same weight, at the same intensity level every time they get to the gym. The “same” effort will only produce the “same” results. Performing any one exercise for a prolonged period of time is a waste. Not only do your muscles get use to the exercise, but your muscle building capabilities plateau as well. Your body eventually will make all the changes it’s going to make in response to those exercises. To break this pattern and build more muscle mass lift progressively heavier weight with each set. Repeat 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps max so that your muscles are fatigued on the last rep! With each set increase your weight and decrease the number of reps for each consecutive set.
When lifting be careful not to over exert yourself, as injuries usually occur during mass-building programs. Thoroughly warm up with at least 15 minutes of light cardio exercise and stretching and always have a spotter when using free weights, especially on your max-reps. Try creating a power circuit to give your muscles a rest in between sets and employ supersets. For example, if you are working back and shoulders alternate shoulder press with pull-ups so that you engage opposing muscle groups. Make sure you have a proper exercise split so that you don’t over work specific muscle groups. Your muscles need time to recover, otherwise you continually break-down the muscles you’re trying to build up.
Stay motivated, stay dedicated and eat your spinach!