I get many messages over Instagram and text of people (mainly women) asking how to build lean muscle mass and become more toned, confident, and healthy! I’ve made a list in my notes of the things I’ve incorporated into my life that has helped me increase my lean muscle mass over the years. This is a fun topic for me because I love nerding out and sharing my personal experiences with others to hopefully help them reach their goals. It’s awesome because these are simple tips that anyone can use to see the results they want. What it really comes down to is time and persistence. Results won’t appear over night, but if you stay motivated, you’ll see changes before you know it!
I would also like to mention that I am not qualified to give any nutritional information, but I am here to share what has worked for me! If you are struggling with the nutrition side of things, I highly recommend seeing a Dietician or Nutritionist. I can tell you one thing though, we have the power of information at our finger tips and you can seriously Google anything you would ever want to know. If you want to know more about nutrition, you can look up the nutritional requirements for an adult who is trying to maintain lean muscle. Please be careful though, your health is not something to take lightly. You must make sure the sources you are obtaining information from are credible, reliable sources. Once you have an idea of what a healthy diet is, and how it can benefit you, it’s smooth sailing from there.
NOW….. into the nitty gritty.
- EAT A CLEAN, WELL-ROUNDED DIET. You will be amazed by how little changes in your diet can make a huge difference in your appearance. I remember when I was committed to a vegan diet, and I thought I was filling my body with healthy options just because they were dairy/meat/egg free. That is not the case, because I didn’t realize how much processed food I was consuming. I was also ingesting large amounts of soy every day, which wasn’t helping me achieve my goals in the long run. Now, I’m not bagging on vegans by any means, I’m just saying I wasn’t doing it correctly. This directed me toward eating more whole foods, such as roasted vegetables, chicken, turkey, eggs, fruits, rice, and other unprocessed foods. This change not only made me feel better, but it also has helped me increase my desired amount of muscle mass and now I look healthier than ever.
- GET ON AN EXERCISE ROUTINE. I made the mistake for the longest time of going into the gym every day without a plan. No specific targeted area I wanted to work on, no exercises planned, no specific goals in mind either. I just wanted to stay in shape, like I’m sure many of you do as well. I was cheating myself though. I was not putting in the mental work when it comes to exercising. Once I got a coach, I started to mentally push myself to feel the movements of my workouts. The mind-muscle connection is key. Its better to focus on the movements vs. the amount of weight you can move. Instead of hammering out some bicep curls as fast as I could, I actually focus on feeling the contraction of my muscles so that I know it is benefitting me. My coach gives me “phases” of my weekly workouts, which shows me exactly what I am training Monday-Friday, including cardio time, and supplements. (If you’re seeking an online coach, hit up Shaun Standridge, instagram: wycked_shaun)
- DRINK TONS OF WATER. You guys know this! Water is essential for living. We all have those days where we totally do not keep track of how much water we drink, which most likely is less than we are supposed to. I try to drink at least half my body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weight 140lbs, try to drink about 70 ounces of water a day. If you are’t a huge fan of drinking water, try adding BCAAs or crystal light to help you enjoy your fluids. Your water intake has a huge role in digestion, skin appearance, energy levels, and mood. If you want to feel your best, keep on drinking!
4. LIMIT YOUR CAFFEIN INTAKE. I am so guilty of consuming 500mg of caffein per day, and I’ve done it countless times. Granted, I do work for a coffee company where the supply is endless. The morning coffee, the mid-work energy drink, the pre-workout…All day, every day. I was an addict for sure. However, I’ve changed my ways, and so can you! I’ve noticed that the more caffeinated drinks I have during the day, the less energy I have or I don’t even feel a difference in my energy levels at all. Sometimes I crash hard and don’t want to do anything for the rest of the day. You also have to consider the calories that are in your energy drinks and coffee. That alone could be your source of carbs for the day, which will not help you increase your lean muscle mass. Ever since I reduced my caffein intake to about 150mg/day, I’ve noticed myself feeling a lot more energized and more lean (from cutting out the milk in my coffee) and replacing it with water. However, I do enjoy my ultra sunrise monsters occasionally, and those are usually my source of caffein for the day. So try swapping out the regular coffee for decaf, drink more water, or find a less caffeinated version of your favorite drinks!
5. INCREASE NON-EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS (NEAT). Yes, I know that is a big jumble of words. Basically, NEAT is the time and energy spent that is not eating, sleeping, or working out. It is the physical activity you partake in during your daily business. For example, instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. If you have a desk job and you find yourself sitting most of the day, get up and walk around the office every hour or so. There are plenty of ways to increase your NEAT, and in return you may notice some positive changes!
6. WORK YOUR ASS OFF. Plain and simple. Do the work, and you will be rewarded. It is almost like a formula, and if you follow all of these tips and work with intention, your desired outcome will show. Sometimes you have to wake up at 4am for the gym, or stay up late meal prepping on the weekends, or even cry on the stair master (guilty) BUT you will be proud. Accomplishing something you put your mind to will give you more confidence than you can imagine. You just gotta work your ass off.
Again, these are all things I incorporate in my daily life and it may work for some of you, and some of you it may not help you at all! Regardless of the outcome, I hope you enjoyed reading. I’m trying to be more transparent with my posts, so if there is anything you readers would like to know about me or a subject along the lines of mental health or fitness, don’t be afraid to drop a comment or shoot an e-mail. 🙂