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For some of us, gaining weight is something that makes us frown. But for those who are looking for peak performance it might be just what the trainer ordered. Now I’m not talking about packing on the pounds using a diet prescribed by Ben and Jerry. What we are looking for is increased lean body mass, or improving the body’s muscle to fat ratio. Lean body mass (LBM) is normally defined as the body weight minus body fat. More muscle mass leads to stronger and longer performance, which can benefit the athlete in each of us.
Those of us who commonly seek to improve their lean body mass include competitive athletes, body-builders and those who work physically demanding jobs. However, most Americans can benefit from adding more lean muscle mass to the body. More muscle is not only about a toned and fit appearance, it also supports the body in a number of ways, including increased metabolism, more stabilized and supported joints, and if you do it correctly even better posture. Another important fact is that adding more muscle prevents dysfunction and imbalances in the body that otherwise might lead to an unwanted injury.
Whatever your personal health goals might be, here are some of the sure fire ways to increase your lean body mass.
Top Tips for Gaining More Lean Body Mass
Eat a Muscle Building Diet: When adding more muscle, focus on a hearty portion of protein at each meal. According to CORE Nutritionist Ashlea Hartz, a Building Diet Direction is best for those looking to support athletic performance and gain more muscle. When planning your meals aim for around 25% of calories from protein, 25% from healthy fats and 50% from carbohydrates. Depending on your goals, the recommended protein intake is between 1.4 – 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Try sneaking more healthy protein like eggs into your diet with Ashlea’s favorite breakfast on the go, Veggie-Eggie Muffins, and yes be sure to include the yokes!
Get Serious about Strength: Lifting weights on a regular basis is the most effective way to gain lean muscle mass. Santa Cruz COREProElite Fitness Trainer Beau Jansen suggest strength training 2-3 times per week to start. “Focus on compound movements that utilize more than one joint. Make sure that you are working the entire body, don’t neglect your weak points. And always use good form.” say Jansen. It’s important to build up slowly so that your body can strengthen it’s tendons, ligaments and bones along with the new muscles you’re developing.
Keep It Moving: As we are gaining muscle mass, we also want to be sure we are reducing the amount of fat stored on the body. Adding cardio to your training or simply moving more throughout the day can help you reduce fat and increase your lean body mass ratio. According to Duke University Researchers, adding two hours of aerobic exercise to your routine per week will help to create more muscle while reducing fat. Some of the CORE trainers favorite cardio activities include hiking, biking, running, rowing, surfing and just a good old walk on the beach.
Rest and Recover – All that time as you put in at gym is only beneficial if the you give the body adequate time to rest and recover. According to many fitness professional, sleep might be the most important part of your day. At night when you sleep your body starts to recuperates from the stress of daily life, including your strength training workout. During the sleep cycle the body release human growth hormone, which aids in muscle regeneration and recovery. The average adult should aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, growing kids and teens might need 8-10hrs per night. If you are one of the many Americans who struggle to fall asleep or have recurring insomnia, you may want to look to a health professional for better sleep solutions. Also, be sure to utilize regular stretching exercises, foam rolling and massage to relax the body to improve sleep and also speed up the muscle recovery process.
If your goal is to increase lean body mass, know that it is important to accomplish the task in a healthy and sustainable way. It is important to reduce your risk of injury and burn out by working closely with a trained profession.If you are currently looking to gain more lean body mass and don’t know where to start, sign up for a complimentary consultation with a CORE trainer or nutritionist to start you on the path to success!