“How can I get lean and build muscle?” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this, I’d have a lot of nickels! This seems to be a topic that is at the top of so many persons’ heads. Everybody would like to have at least a bit more muscle, but they gotta get rid of those love handles at the same time.
There are basically three ways to get lean and build muscle (These all assume you have a good workout plan):
- Start eating enough good quality food to pack on the muscle, and then cut back once you’ve reached the size you want.
- Burn off the fat first. Then go ahead and start adding on the calories.
- Manage your intake closely along the way, and add in extra interval training.
Each of these approaches has benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at them…
We’ll assume you’re looking to add more than a pound or two here… What you want to do is to increase your calorie intake (and especially protein) so that you start gaining weight, and work out like crazy to make as many of those calories turn into muscle as possible. Once you reach the size you want, cut back the calories so that you are below “maintenance” and put more emphasis in your workout on fat burning to get rid of the “padding.” So here you’re going to bulk up fast, then you need to trim down.
With this method, you’re going to put emphasis on burning fat up front, and then you need to start adding muscle by eating more. The downside to this is that you will have to do some more fat burning on the back end, because you just can’t convert every extra calorie to raw muscle. And, you want to build that muscle NOW, right?
I like this one the best. You have to add extra calories to your diet, but just don’t be a pig about it! Watch your body fat percentage along the way, and cut back a bit if it starts to climb, and eat a bit more if you’re not making the gains you want. Maybe 500 extra calories a day to start, and watch it. Then, of course, you’ll go through that last fat burning phase to get ripped. Along the way, throw in some high intensity interval training to help burn off any excess calories. This method builds muscle a bit slower than the first one, but you’ll look a bit more ripped along the way.
So, basically, if you want to get lean and build muscle at the same time, it comes down to this: You need to eat enough good food to build muscle, and then you need to cut back and change the workout a bit to get lean. Pretty simple stuff; don’t let anyone tell you different.