Are you interested in boosting your metabolism, toning up your body, and increasing your strength, and preventing injury? Adding some muscle mass may be exactly what you need, and to help make it as easy as possible, we’ve boiled it down to the top three time- and research-tested ways can pack on some shapely calorie-burning lean muscle and mass in the least amount of time possible.
Lift Weights to Build Lean Muscle
If you want muscle, you need to work out. But not just any exercise will cut it. Lifting weights, also called weight or resistance training, is the key to building lean muscle.
There are numerous benefits to weight training, and it is the single-most effective strategy you could possibly implement to boost your muscle mass—BAR NONE. But the laundry list of benefits doesn’t stop with more calorie-burning lean mass. Check out what else you can expect from regularly lifting weights:
- More strength
- Better balance
- Better mobility
- Improved insulin sensitivity and carb tolerance
- Increased metabolic rate
- Stronger bones
- Better metabolic health
- Improved markers of heart health
- Healthier levels of inflammation
- Improved focus and cognitive function
- Less anxiety
- Better mood and feelings of wellbeing
- A better overall body!
As a recent article in Time magazine put it, “weight training is ridiculously good for you.”
Exciting as all that may be, many people are turned off by the idea that you have to lift HEAVY weights. But here’s the deal: Contrary to popular, traditional belief, you DON’T have to lift heavy weight or be a meathead to build muscle and get these benefits.
The most recent research shows that you can exercise with heavy or light loads—even your body weight—and reap these rewards. The key? Your degree of effort. In other words, regardless of how much weight you feel comfortable lifting, the goal is to fatigue your muscles by taking each set to point where you can’t do any more with good form (i.e., “failure at the end of each set”) is the real key.
So, “how hard” (i.e., degree of effort) is more important than “how much.” And it’s also important to use “progressive resistance,” which means that you should try to challenge yourself a little more (either using heavier weights or doing more reps) over time. It’s also a good idea to exercise each of your major body parts 2 – 3 times a week, and “compound movements,” like squats, presses, and rows, that use multiple muscle group give you the best bang for the buck.
Eating and Building Lean Muscle
It’s equally important to fuel your muscle-building efforts properly. If your goal is to add calorie-burning muscle, you’ll need to make sure you’re eating plenty of protein, which provide the building blocks your body needs to build muscle. In fact, besides lifting weights, the next most important strategy to boosting muscle mass is dietary protein.
At a minimum, you’ll want to eat at least 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (and up to 1 gram per pound). And, maybe this goes without saying, but make sure those calories come from high quality, fresh whole natural foods. You’ll need this protein to rebuild the muscle tissue you break down during your tough workouts.
Rest Up for Building Lean Muscle
If you want to build muscle fast—and keep it—then you can’t overdo it. Most people can experience a great deal of success by lifting weight 2 – 3 times a week. More is not always better.
Also, doing too much cardio can be counterproductive. Essentially, cardio stresses your body in a very different way than lifting weights, and when you combine both, you compromise your muscle-building results. So make sure to keep you cardio in check (maybe focus on a couple days of interval training). Oh, and DO make sure to get plenty of sleep.
These three hacks can help you build a beautiful body and calorie-burning lean muscle in no time.