build up muscle

Build Up Muscle – Not Fat

It’s definitely a challenge when it comes to a workout and diet plan which is focused on building up muscle and yet so many of us want to make sure we don’t build up fat at the same time.

This is a bigger problem than it may seem since we need to have excess calories, hopefully in the form of protein, in order to really build muscle.

With that in mind we’re going to look at some highly effective ways to keep the muscle building while at the same time preventing fat from accumulating in our stomach area.

I should put a side note here that when it comes to your training and nutrition objectives you may want to do what fitness competitors and bodybuilders have already discovered works best.

This is the idea of using the fall and winter months to focus on building muscle mass while the spring and summer months are focused on cutting body fat.

This seasonal strategy is great because it allows you to focus on one thing at a time and really maximize your results.

But what about those of you who want to build muscle but want it to be as lean as possible? Try these simple but effective strategies…

Build Up Muscle Not Fat: Strategy #1

The first and most powerful of these strategies is to include short duration high intensity interval training (aka HIIT) at the end of your workout routines. If you’re not familiar with HIIT then take a look at my article – High Intensity Interval Training.

So when I mentioned short duration I mean anything from as short as 5 minutes to as much as 12 minutes depending on your energy levels and how concerned you are about your body fat percentages.

The great thing about HIIT after your workout is that it allows you to go as hard as possible during your weight training and then have a quick fat blast cardio session at the end.

This kind of training is similar to that of sprinters who generally have pretty impressive lean muscle mass.

Build Up Muscle Not Fat: Strategy #2

This one is not going to be an easy one but again you’re trying to build lean muscle mass so it also means that you will have to be pretty strict with your diet. Eating 5-7 well balanced meals (2-3 of which can be whey protein shakes) will be key and you will have to cut out the junk processed foods.

It’s not the most ideal situation because it kind of takes the fun out of eating, but you can try and stick to this as much as you can perhaps being very strict during the week and then relaxing a little during the weekends.

This correlates very closely to the next strategy…

Build Up Muscle Not Fat: Strategy #3

Your pre and post workout nutrition will be of utmost importance in a lean muscle building plan. What this means is that you will want to have a high protein meal or a whey protein shake 60-90 minutes before your workout and another one within 30 minutes after your workout.

This will allow your muscles to be flooded with the amino acids they need to repair and build which is the integral component of growth.

You’ll also want to include some high quality carbohydrates like that from fruit, yams or whole grains post workout so that the glycogen reserves in your muscles are restored. Glycogen stores are important because they provide your muscles with the energy they need during your next workout.

Supplements for Lean Muscle Building

Whey protein is key for lean muscle production (Try this: Optimum 100% Natural Casein)
Thermogenic supplements are intense fat burners (Try this: USPlabs OxyELITE Pro)
Creatine is very effective for volumizing and strength gains (Try this: Muscle Pharm Assault)
Glutamine works best for muscle recovery (Try this: Scivation Xtend)

Conclusion: Build Up Muscle – Not Fat

If you are cool with breaking up your muscle building and fat cutting objectives into seasons then that is definitely an easier way to achieve a lean muscular look. However, if you want to do both at the same time then these three strategies are highly effective and the most simple to put in place right away.

Just remember to try and make it as fun as possible as this is the only way it will become sustainable.

If you have any questions or feedback about building up lean muscle please leave me a comment below…