Ultimate Guide to Build Lean Muscle Mass Like A Bodybuilder

Building lean muscle mass is a less complicated and lengthy process than you might think.

Honestly, having a solid protocol and knowing what you’re doing is more than half of the work.

In this guide, you will learn all the fundamental elements for gaining lean muscle mass like a bodybuilder.

Nutrition Planning to Build Lean Muscle Mass

Eating clean and healthy consists of 80% of our efforts to change our body composition and build lean muscle mass.

In this process, counting calories and eating nutrient-dense foods are equally important.

Below is the eating protocol for building lean muscle mass.

Calorie Suficit or Bulking to Gain Lean Muscle Mass

To gain lean muscle mass, we should be in a slight calorie suficit or else called bulking.

Bulking is a process in which we eat more calories than our body burns daily to aid lean muscle mass growth.

But most people do bulking badly. They don’t count calories or eat too many high-calorie, unhealthy foods. This will lead to gaining more fat than muscle.

A good calorie suficit is between +300-500kcal from your maintenance calories, which you can calculate here.

Add this suficit gradually in your diet and not all at once, so your body has the time to do protein synthesis– the process of building muscle.

Consume 1.6gr of Protein for Every Kilogram of Your Weight and Distribute It Evenly in Your Meals

Loading up on protein is king to build lean muscle mass, but there is more to it.

For starters, you should consume between 1.6-2.2 gr of protein per body weight kilogram. So, if you weigh 70 kilograms (154 lbs), consume 112-154gr of protein daily.

You can also find out your protein intake in this calculator online.

Studies show that you should also divide your protein intake evenly thought all your meals and consume your meals 1-2 hours pre-and post-workout. This will guarantee a better protein synthesis and adapt your body to build lean muscle mass.

The preferred protein for bodybuilders that will help you stay shredded is lean, low-fat protein sources, such as:

  • low-fat beef
  • low-fat lamb
  • poultry
  • fish
  • eggs
  • dairy products

Another trick bodybuilders use is consuming high-protein plant sources such as chickpeas and lentils, from which you will take a good amount of protein and fiber.

Don’t Cut Down on Carbs

Carbs are super necessary when you’re training to build lean muscle mass. They fuel our body adequately so we can get through a hard workout.

Studies found that carb deprivation also affects the metabolisms’ ability to do protein synthesis.

If we don’t take bulking (calorie suficit) seriously, our body will enter the catabolic state, using our muscles for extra energy.

You can always consume fiber-rich, low sugar, whole grain carbs sources such as quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, peas, beans, lentils, etc.

Calculate Your Macronutrients First from Protein and Fat Intake and Consume the Remained Calories from Carbs

As said, you need 1.6-2.2 gr/kg of protein daily.

A recent study shows that we should consume 0.5–1.5 g/kg/day of fat to build lean muscle mass.

Knowing this, we can calculate protein and fat intake in calories. (1 gr of protein = 4 kcal; 1 gr of fat = 9 kcal)

154 gr of protein x 4kcal = 616 kcal from protein

70 gr of fat x 9 = 630 kcal from fat

Let’s say you have a 2800kcal suficit calorie intake daily. Now we can also calculate your carbs:

2800 – 616 – 630 = 1554 kcal for carbs (1 gr of carb has 4 kcal)

1554 / 4 = 388 gr carbs daily

Solid Training Routine for Lean Muscle Mass Growth

A solid routine means knowing the most efficient exercises for each muscle group and switching among them to optimize lean muscle mass growth.

Resistance Training and Hypertrophy to Build Lean Muscle Mass

Studies show that resistance training, especially hypertrophy is the most efficient to build lean muscle mass.

Hypertrophy means muscle cell growth. It is the process of breaking down muscle tissues where the new ones grow. The hypertrophy range is between 6-12 reps with 40-60 seconds rest between each rest.

Switch Up Your Training

When your body learns your exercises and routine by heart, it adapts to it and stops growing or building lean muscle mass.

Yes, your routine is the most efficient in the world. But, if you don’t vary it every 12 weeks, you will most certainly hit plateaus.

You can switch between strength (1-5 reps) and endurance training (12+) repetitions to achieve your shredded body goals.
In addition, you MUST change your training splits as well.

Some training splits to build lean muscle mass are:

  • 1-2 muscles/day or the ‘bro split’
  • Push/pull/legs split
  • Upper body/lower body split
  • Full body split

Don’t Spend the Whole Day at the Gym

The most efficient workout is around 45 min.

Performing 4-5 exercises per muscle is more than enough to break down the muscle tissues.

More than that would lead to overtraining and lead to muscle burn.

Don’t Underestimate Cardio

Most bodybuilders incorporate cardio after their training.

Cardio will keep your heart strong, help you build endurance, and it doesn’t hinder muscle growth at all.

Cardio helps recruit more muscle fibers and increase the chances for lean muscle mass.

You’re not sure how to plan a training routine? Look for a personal trainer near you and make your lean muscle mass growth process easy-peasy.

Supplement Your Diet to Optimize your Lean Muscle Mass Growth

Supplements are paramount for people who break their muscles daily. They enhance the training performance, recover the breakage in muscle tissues, and facilitate lean muscle mass growth.

Bodybuilders take a wide range of them, from multivitamins to muscle gainers, pre-workouts, BCAAs, Creatine, Protein Powders, and so on. But you don’t have to turn your house into a pharmacy.

Remember supplements add to your diet, so focus on your nutrition first and then add what is missing.

The most recommended supplements for building lean muscle mass are:

  • Protein powder is the most popular supplement. If reaching your daily protein intake every day is hard, protein powder shakes might help with that.
  • Creatine is a performance-booster supplement that helps you train harder. The recommended intake is 3–5 grams pre- or post-workout.
  • BCAAs support muscle protein synthesis and help repair the damaged muscle.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol and Cheat Meals

If you ask any bodybuilder about their alcohol intake, they will not remember their last sip.

So, stop consuming alcohol or cheat meals, at least too many times in a row.

Bodybuilders schedule their cheat meals, for example, one in a few months. Doing a cheat meal every week can affect the leanness of your muscle gains.

You can still enjoy high-calorie foods but make them as healthy and nutrient-dense as possible.

Rest and Recover

Sleeping and resting can be easy for other people, but all the bodybuilders I know, hate their rest days.

That is a mistake you have to stop doing if you want to build lean muscle mass faster.

Too often, we ignore the signals our body gives us to sleep and rest more. You should leave days off from your training and continue fueling your body in a calorie suficit.

Sleeping 7 hours every night is paramount when it comes to building lean muscle mass. Sleep aids the body recover from training and build new muscle cells.

Last Takeaway Steps

  1. Set a lean muscle mass goal,
  2. Plan your calorie intake and training routine,
  3. Stick to the plan,
  4. Enjoy and have fun meanwhile!

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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