How To Build Lean Muscle?

The question, "How many times a week should I work out to grow muscle?" has been asked since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, there is a widespread misconception that you must perform some form of physical activity daily to get benefits. That is not the case at all.

If your body is not allowed to rest and recuperate between workouts, you run the risk of overtraining your muscles. Therefore, it is recommended by specialists to exercise anywhere from three to five times per week for a total of forty-five minutes at a time, with two days of rest in between each session. Because of this, you can give your muscles the time they need to heal to get bigger and stronger.

1. Count Calories

Counting calories is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to get a head start on losing weight quickly, which may sound like a statement that should go without saying.

You will experience weight loss if you burn more calories than you consume, which may be accomplished by either decreasing the number of calories you consume or increasing the number of calories burned through physical activity.

Counting calories is a weight reduction method that can be helpful when combined with other dietary and lifestyle changes to provide the desired results. However, reducing calorie intake is typically not considered a healthy or sustainable approach to losing weight.

Your awareness of what you're placing on your plate can be increased by keeping track of the calories you consume, which can provide you with the knowledge you need to make better decisions for your health.

Interestingly, a meta-analysis of 37 trials indicated that weight loss programs that included calorie monitoring resulted in 7.3 pounds (3.3 kilograms) more weight loss than programs that did not include calorie counting.

Try keeping a food journal or using an app to monitor the calories you consume.

2. How Much To Eat

Begin by adjusting the number of calories you consume daily to experience growth. You need to provide the body with an excess of calories, which is the additional fuel the body will use to develop that new lean muscle mass tissue. You may do this by eating much more food than you normally would. If you want to start new growth, you'll need to add a certain number of calories to this intake on top of what you're already doing, as the majority of ordinary male athletes will keep their body weight at around 17-19 calories per pound of bodyweight.

To begin with, it is important to comprehend that one's body composition (% body fat versus % lean muscle) stays the same when the same number of calories are burned as they are consumed. On the other hand, one pound of muscle is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Therefore, to gain muscle in a manner that is both healthy and effective, you will need to raise the number of total calories you consume by at least 3,500 every week.

Counting calories might not be your favourite activity, but doing so is essential to ensure that your weight loss efforts are successful. By approaching muscle building in this manner, you will maximize the acquisition of lean muscle and minimize the buildup of fat in a manner that is manageable by the body.

The end effect is a gain of approximately one pound of muscle every 6-7 days. If you gain weight at a rate of more than two pounds per week, you risk obtaining a higher percentage of body fat compared to lean muscle mass, which is different from what an athlete wants to achieve.

You must be aware that it is natural for you to put on some fat if you want to follow a diet geared at increasing muscle mass. A weight gain objective of one to two pounds per week should be composed of an average of 75% muscle and 25% fat. So how do you ensure that you are consistently hitting the mark? By performing regular checks on your body composition.

3. Drink More Water

Increasing the amount of water you drink is a straightforward technique to speed up losing weight.

One study revealed that participants lost 44% more weight for 12 weeks when they combined a low-calorie diet with an increase in the amount of water they drank before meals.

According to research, drinking water may help people lose weight by revving their metabolism and increasing the number of calories their bodies burn after eating.

One study, including 14 adults, found that after 30–40 minutes of drinking 16.9 fluid ounces (500 ml) of water, the participants saw a 30% increase in their metabolism.

Consuming water along with your meals will help you feel fuller for longer, reducing the amount of food you consume overall.

For instance, a short study showed that participants who drank 16.9 fluid ounces (500 ml) of water before a meal consumed 13% fewer calories for the meal.

To maximise the weight you lose, you should aim to consume at least 34–68 fluid ounces or 1–2 litres of water daily.

4. Measuring Muscle Gain

It is essential to keep in mind that even though the number on the scale indicates that you have gained weight, this does not necessarily indicate that you have acquired muscle weight. Therefore, in addition to doing your body circumference measures, a reasonable rule of thumb is to have your body fat % measured once every four to six weeks (e.g., chest, arms, waist, etc.). If you adopt this approach, you can determine if the weight gain you have experienced is genuinely due to an increase in lean muscle or adipose tissue (fat).

When measuring body fat, allow me to give some words of wisdom. First, the accuracy of fat tests varies greatly, with some claiming to be superior to others. Refrain from becoming preoccupied with which test is superior to the other. Instead, you should ensure that the test you choose will remain consistent throughout your performance nutrition plan.

In addition to this, be sure that the same medical professional does your body fat test each time. You might compromise the reliability of the test for body fat by using different types of tests and different testers, which can lead to erroneous measurements.

Lastly, if you want to achieve your muscle-gain goals without sacrificing performance, you should focus on them during the off-season. It would be best if you attempted to reach your desired weight six to eight weeks before the beginning of the season. Before you start competing, do it in this manner so that your body has sufficient time to acclimate to your new weight and composition before you do so.

5. Increase Your Protein Intake


It is necessary to increase the amount of protein-rich foods you consume if you want to lose 20 pounds quickly.

A diet high in protein has been linked to less fat accumulation in the abdominal region, the maintenance of muscle mass and an unchanged metabolic rate during weight loss.

In addition to suppressing hunger, protein may help lower overall calorie consumption.

One study involving 19 adults indicated that simply increasing the amount of protein consumed by 15% boosted feelings of fullness. In addition, it dramatically lowered the number of calories consumed, belly fat and overall body weight.

Another study found that ingesting a meal high in protein significantly reduced levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for stimulating hunger, to a far larger degree than eating a breakfast heavy in carbohydrates.

You can incorporate various nutritious sources of protein into your diet, including meat, seafood, poultry; legumes; eggs, nuts and seeds.

6. Consider When To Eat

Let's speak about when you should eat now that you know how much food to consume and what meals are the healthiest options. When it comes to the frequency, you should be eating. You will find that the best results come from eating every three to four hours. It is because the number of calories you consume will be significantly higher.

If you want to eat only three times a day and have a calorie intake closer to 3,500 or 4,000 calories, this can be quite difficult to do, and you will end up feeling bloated and sluggish after each meal if you try to do it.

Instead, break it up into six smaller meals throughout the day so that you may feel energised after each one and ensure that your muscles receive a consistent supply of nutrients to get the growth process off to a good start.

In addition, you should make sure that you consume between 20 and 30 grams of protein at each of these meals and simple carbs right before and after your training and workout sessions. It is the most optimal period for the body to be adding muscle, so you want to make the most of it by ensuring that it receives the food it requires. After a strenuous workout, wait at least four to five hours and ensure you have many unprocessed complex carbohydrates.

The following is a collection of essential nutrient timing suggestions in bulleted form:

  • Eat regularly, every three to four hours, and aim for six small meals throughout the day. Avoid cramming your calories into three large meals, as this will cause you to feel lethargic. Eating frequently will help you lose weight.
  • At the very least, consume between 20 and 30 grams of protein at each meal.
  • Consume straightforward carbs just before and after your workout.
  • Consume whole, unprocessed carbohydrates. 4-5 hours after doing a vigorous workout.

7. Cut Your Carb Consumption

Another helpful method to speed weight reduction is reducing the number of refined carbohydrates you consume.

During the processing of refined carbohydrates, the nutrients and fibre they originally had were removed, leaving behind a final product deficient in nutritional value.

In addition, they often have a high glycemic index, indicating that they are digested and absorbed rapidly. Again, it is because they are heavy in sugar. The rapid digestion of food causes blood sugar levels to jump and then drop, followed by an increase in hunger.

There is a correlation between eating many refined carbohydrates and increasing body fat and weight gain.

For example, one study involving 2,834 people found that a greater intake of refined carbohydrates was associated with increased belly fat. In contrast, a greater intake of whole grains was associated with decreased belly fat. So it was found when comparing the two groups' dietary intakes of refined carbohydrates and whole grains.

Compared with a diet centred on refined grains, a diet rich in whole grains resulted in lower body weight and calorie intake. These findings came from another small study.

To get started, you must replace refined grains found in foods like pasta, white bread, cereals, and pre-packaged goods with whole-grain alternatives like couscous, quinoa, brown rice, or barley. It will get you on your way to a healthier diet.

8. Consider Liquid Calories

Utilising liquid calories is the final guidance to keep in mind so that you may learn the best approach to gaining muscle, and it is recommended that you do so.

If you are one of the many people who experience intestinal discomfort when attempting to eat whole foods while consuming such a large number of calories, consider whipping up a high-calorie smoothie to which you have added protein from time to time.

Blend some milk, protein powder, Greek yogurt, frozen or fresh fruit, flaxseeds, or nut butter, and, if you want to up the calorie intake even further, some ground-up oatmeal.

It is a quick and simple technique to take in additional calories without giving the impression that you are eating—yet again. People who desire to grow muscle as quickly as possible may start to feel like they never stop eating. Nevertheless, utilising smoothies and shakes might help alleviate this problem for certain individuals.

9. Eat More Fibre


Because fibre passes through your digestive system without being digested, it slows the rate at which your stomach empties, which helps you feel full for longer.

According to one study conducted on healthy men, consuming 33 grams of insoluble fibre, typically found in foods like wheat and vegetables, helped reduce both hunger and the amount consumed.

The ability of fibre to make you feel fuller for longer could have significant implications for managing your weight.

According to the findings of one study, boosting fibre consumption by 14 grams per day was associated with a 10% decrease in calorie consumption and a weight loss of 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) for four months, and this occurred even in the absence of any other dietary or lifestyle adjustments.

In addition, a study that lasted for 20 months and involved 252 women indicated that each gram of dietary fibre consumed was linked to a reduction of 0.25% of body fat and 0.5 pounds (0.25 kg) in total body weight.

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all good sources of fibre that you should include in any diet that promotes healthy weight loss.

Your Muscles Grow Bigger And Stronger

Your training goals should inform whatever lifting plan you choose, whether daily or otherwise. For instance, if you want to be able to lift heavier weights, your strength-training program will look very different from that of someone who wants to grow visibly bigger muscles, which is also known as hypertrophy, or develop muscle endurance so that they can complete more reps before they become fatigued.

Prince Brathwaite, the proprietor of Trooper Fitness and a personal trainer licensed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), says, "Before I offer somebody a strength plan, I always discuss what their goal is".

For instance, when you lift weights, are you trying to create biceps that seem like they belong in a tank, or do you want to set a new record for the bench press? According to Brathwaite, there will be some overlap in rep schemes and phasing, but for the most part, the programs differ in three major ways: volume, effort/intensity, and rest. "There will be some overlap in rep schemes and phasing", he says.

It is because depending on your end goal. You will engage different muscle fibres and do so in different ways.

According to the American Council on Exercise, you have two primary types of muscle fibres: type I (also known as slow-twitch) and type II (sometimes known as fast-twitch). First, a quick review: (ACE). During endurance activities such as running, riding, and swimming, oxygen is required for type I muscle fibres to become active. When the task at hand is too difficult for type I muscle fibres to handle on their own, such as when lifting heavy objects, type II muscle fibres are recruited to assist in the movement.

You can train the type I muscle fibres in your body by performing exercises with a higher rep range and a lower intensity. According to Kristen Lettenberger, you can accomplish PT, DPT, a certified sports and conditioning specialist (CSCS) at Bespoke Treatments in New York City, training your type II muscle fibres for hypertrophy by performing exercises with a reduced rep range and a higher intensity.

How long does it take to grow lean muscle?

Genetics, nutrition, intensity, and consistency affect how long it takes to create lean muscle. Regular training and nutrition can lead to muscular growth in a few months.

Lean muscle takes time and dedication. Set realistic expectations and accept that big changes take time. Consistency, increasing overload, and patience matter.

Consistent effort improves muscle tone, strength, and physique. Focus on your goals, track your progress, and tweak your training and nutrition to keep making gains.

Can I get skinny without working out?

Lean muscle can be built without a gym. You can build muscle without a gym, even though it has lots of equipment. Some choices:

  • Push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, and burpees are bodyweight exercises.
  • Resistance bands: Use resistance bands for rows, bicep curls, and lateral raises.
  • Callisthenics: Do yoga, Pilates, or gymnastics to improve strength and body weight.
  • Outdoor activities: Hiking, cycling, and swimming improve different muscle groups.
  • Home gym setup: For resistance training, build up a home gym with dumbbells, kettlebells, and a pull-up bar.

Maintain good form, progression, and intensity in all sessions. Without a gym, you may gain lean muscle with consistency and a well-rounded training programme.

Does lean muscle require intensive weightlifting?

Lean muscle can be built without lifting large weights. Heavy lifting is not the only way to create lean muscle. Volume, intensity, and progressive overload also boost muscle growth. Moderate weights and high repetitions can tyre and adapt muscles. This method builds muscle and reduces injury risk without using big weights.

Make sure your workouts challenge your muscles. Building lean muscle requires gradually increasing intensity, regardless of weight, and focusing on form and technique.

Can I acquire lean muscle without bulk?

Lean muscle can be built without bulk. Tailoring your exercise and nutrition to your goal is crucial. Some methods:

  • Maintain a modest caloric surplus or maintenance level to grow lean muscle without bulk. This guarantees you get enough nutrients to build muscle without gaining fat.
  • Resistance training: Use moderate weights with 8-15 repetitions rather than heavy weights with fewer repetitions. This method boosts muscular growth while preventing overgrowth.
  • Cardio: Cardiovascular activity improves heart health, fitness, and body fat. Lean out with aerobic and resistance training.
  • Stay consistent: Consistency is crucial to getting your ideal body. Make incremental changes to your training and eating strategy.

Do I need supplements to grow lean muscle?

Lean muscle can be built without supplements, but a balanced diet can help. Always start with whole foods. However, properly administered supplements may boost muscle growth and recuperation.
Protein powder, creatine, and BCAAs are popular lean muscle-building supplements. Protein powder can help you achieve your daily protein demands, while creatine may boost workout strength. BCAAs reduce muscle pain and boost protein synthesis.

Frequenly Asked Questions About Building Lean Muscle

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