If you're reading this then I'm assuming you've been trying to build lean muscle and have not had great success, right?
Don't feel bad. Millions of skinny punks have this same problem and it's not their fault (at least not entirely). The fitness magazine industry has been brainwashing people into following bad advice that produces very poor results.
For example; men are told they need to be as big as a house in order to be worthy of respect and to follow bodybuilder style workouts that don't work. They are then told to consume 20,000 calorie a day, made up almost entirely of cheap protein shakes full of empty calories. The truth is most bodybuilders are on massive amount of PEDs, which is why they’re big…It isn’t their workouts.
Sure, you can get big taking their advice, eating shakes, and doing bro-splits, but you'll most likely just get fat as hell instead.
Women on the other hand are sold an entirely different set of lies that don't produce the lean, strong physique they desire.
Clever marketers and running companies have convinced women they need to spend endless hours doing cardio and starving themselves on fat burners and salads to get lean and fit. Again, you can try what they’re selling you, but it won’t work.
Both of these belief systems are lies and don't help you build the strong, lean, healthy muscle you desire. We would argue they actually contribute to sickness, body dysmorphia, and eventually burnt out and failure.
If your goal is to get optimally fit, strong, and build lean muscle, then follow these four easy tips.
4 Tips for Building Muscle and Getting Lean....And Staying That Way
Building Lean Muscle Tip #1: Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is essential for building lean muscle and staying lean. Most people try to follow confusing diets that have more rules than Dungeons and Dragons. In fairness, we really don't know if D&D has a ton of rules, but you get my point.
The point is rigid diets, although they may lead to short term results, usually result in failure due to the unsustainable nature of each system.
The best plan is usually the simplest one and often the best advice is to focus on eating vegetables (those low on oxalates), superfoods, fruit, and lean meat.
Then all you have to do is avoid the items most likely to kill you (sorry if that seems dramatic): sugary drinks, excess alcohol, dessert, and the white devil (white bread, white pasta, and white sugar).
Carbohydrates are usually the devil in most diets and for good reason: eat too much of them and you’ll give your liver no choice but to turn them into fat. However, carbohydrates are an essential source of energy so you should still include them in your diet. Just get them from healthier sources like wild rice, quinoa, beans, or sweet potatoes.
Building Lean Muscle Tip #2: Focus on High Intensity Workouts
If you want to build lean muscle, then you have to lift weights and be intense. There is just no way around it.
However, how you lift can often be more important than how much you lift. Do it right, and you can build lean muscle, strength, and burn a ton of fat at the same time.
Here are some basic workout guidelines for building lean muscle:
Use shorter rest periods to keep your heart rate up and calories burning. Preferrably between 30 seconds to 1 minute at most
Use intervals and Tabata style workouts to burn fat. The easiest way to do this to perform 30 seconds of activity followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeating that pattern over a period of several minutes
Pair exercises and use super-sets to avoid inactivity
Use time static contractions and super-slow reps to ramp up the intensity
Building Lean Muscle Tip #3: Use Multi-Joint and Full Body Workouts
Body part split workouts and isolation exercises like the curl are great for bodybuilders and pumping up individual parts of the body, but they are very inefficient when trying to build lean muscle and engaging the system enough to burn fat.
The better way to train is to use full body workouts comprised of compound movements that incorporate multiple muscle systems and movement patterns. These types of exercises burn more calories and produce a higher level of full body hypertrophy.
Some examples of compound exercises that are best for building lean muscle include, but are not limited to:
Most rowing variations
Squat to overhead press
Overhead squats and lunges
Most deadlift variations
Building Lean Muscle Tip #4: Stop Eating After 7pm and Workout in a Fasted State
As we've posted many times before, Time Restricted Eating and working out during your fasting period is by far the easiest way to eliminate stubborn fat.
Most of the excess and troublesome calories we consume are between 7 pm and 10 pm everyday, typically junk food and other low nutrient options.
Additionally, eating past 7 pm has been shown to be out of sync with our body's natural circadian rhythm and is almost always stored as fat.
We have written many articles on the benefits of fasting which you can read here, but giving your body time to utilize all of the calories consumed each day is the key to keeping your body from going into storage mode.
For these and more tips, check out our video on the subject of building lean muscle by Coach Kevin Rail from My Inferno Body.