Written By Mikkie Mills / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Lean body mass is your total weight minus the weight of fat. There are many health benefits to having and maintaining a high lean body mass, including increased metabolic rate, naturally reduced inflammation and easier weight control. Creating and maintaining lean mass takes intentionality in many areas.
1. Eat More Protein
Protein is vital for creating muscle mass. It helps build and repair muscle and creates a positive nitrogen balance in the body which helps keep the body in an anabolic state, conducive to improved lean mass.
Ideally, you’ll want to consume some form of lean protein just before working out, during training, and within an hour of finishing your training session. This is where protein supplements like isolate protein come in handy since you’re unlikely to munch a steak between sets at the gym.
Finding the right amount of protein to meet your goals will take some trial and error. This is where working with a nutritionist familiar with increasing muscle mass is helpful.
2. Eat More Often
Eating frequent meals at regular intervals will help manage your blood sugar and control insulin production. There are times you want some sugar in your bloodstream, like during resistance training, especially if you’re training to failure, but most of the time you want to keep the insulin levels from spiking and dropping. This is why eating six meals a day is helpful and supports lean mass.
There are other benefits to eating six smaller meals a day including:
- Managing cravings
- Controlling appetite
- Shrinking the stomach
3. Limit Complex Carbohydrates
You definitely need carbohydrates and eating fruits and vegetables with your meals provides a valuable source of nutrients including fiber, which helps digestion and managing blood sugar.
However, when it comes to complex carbs like rice, pasta and potatoes do your best to limit these to your post-workout meal. This will help your body utilize fat as energy rather than the sugar from the carbohydrates.
4. Stay Hydrated
Water helps support digestion, prevents dehydration, and helps control appetite. But there’s a caveat, when you’re sweating, you’re not only losing water, you’re losing electrolytes, and those electrolytes need to be replaced, too.
Adding ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, ¼ teaspoon of No Salt (potassium), and 1/8 teaspoon of Epsom salt (magnesium) to 32 ounces of water will replenish your electrolytes and help your body utilize the water better than it could if you were drinking plain water.
5. Train for Your Goals
If you want to maintain your lean mass, doing weight training a couple of times a week is usually fine. But, if you want to build lean mass, you’ll want to train more often and mix up the types of training you do. For example, you may do weight training three to four times per week and add some cardio on one or two days.
While it might seem like a good idea to max out your workout every session, it’s ideal to mix it up so you allow your body a chance to recover. Doing a combination of maximum effort training and dynamic effort training, while alternating the parts of the body being worked to failure, can improve resilience and training capacity.
Also, while it may be tempting to focus on single muscle movements, compound movements that work multiple muscle groups will give you more bang for your buck. Consider incorporating the bench press, overhead presses, deadlifts and squats to improve your results.
6. Allow Your Body To Recover
Proper recovery is crucial to developing and maintaining lean mass. And recovery is about more than chugging a recovery drink after a training session. It includes what you eat, drink, and how much sleep you get, as well as what you do activity-wise between training sessions.
While it may sound like a lot of work, putting in the effort to build or maintain your lean muscle mass is well worth the time and the benefits will last you a lifetime.
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Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she's not writing, she's chasing the little ones around, walking her dog, or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.