Why & How to Build Lean Muscle!

February 27, 2020 4 min read

Why & How to Build Lean Muscle!


1.) You will be able to eat more and maintain your weight because building muscle increases metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat and maintain weight. Who doesn’t want to eat more and look better...no one.

2.) You will get that “toned” look you have always wanted. Getting toned isn’t really a thing, but I know what clients are trying to say when they tell me, “I just want to get toned.” The more muscle you have the more potentially “toned” you are going to look.

3.) Less injuries.This is because muscle strengthens and reinforces bones, ligaments, tendons and joints. On top of that muscle will just make everyday life easier because you will be stronger.

4.) You will have more energy, a healthier hormonal profile & lower body fat. Too many people focus on their weight when they should be focused on lowering overall body fat percentage. Having excess body fat can negatively affect so many areas of our health including our hormones.

5.) Lifting can help you live longer & increase overall happiness. Exercise in general has been shown to lower risk of disease. On top of that it has also been shown to improve brain health & cognitive function. I also believe it is common knowledge that the better shape you are in the more confidence you are going to have. Who doesn’t want that? 


1.) Find your maintenance calorie intake. I recommend staying at this level and tracking your weight for 2-3 weeks. If you do not start to gain then slowly increase calories by roughly 100 (usually in the form of carbohydrate). Keep adding until you are gaining roughly 0.25 lbs. per week on average. I usually like to gain anywhere from .5-1lb. Per month. Now if you don’t mind putting on a little fat and want to ensure you are building muscle faster, then just go into 250-500 calories surplus. I personally prefer the slow/lean approach. 

2.) Start a strength training program that uses progressive overload. We need to ensure we are constantly improving in our workouts. If you are a newbie, I highly suggest you start with bodyweight or better yet, hire aprofessionalto help lay this out for you. Having proper lifting form, nutrition periodization & training periodization is key in any successful program. If there is one thing that drives me crazy it is that people will invest money into cable tv, lattes, fast food, etc., but won’t invest in their own health.

3.) Quit negatively obsessing over the scale going up or NOT down. Muscle weighs more than fat. I know it is easier said than done, but like I said before we need to focus on body fat % and not overall weight. Personally, I like to take my weight everyday and average it at the end of the week. This is the most accurate way to measure your progress. See #4. 

4.) Take pictures and measurements every 2-4 weeks. I have a lot of clients that gain minimal weight or maintain, yet lose inches...this my friends is what we call building muscle :). Start by taking your neck, bicep, back/chest (under the armpit), waist, thigh, and calf measurements. 

5.) Be Patient. Be Consistent. If you think losing fat takes time, building muscle takes even longer. Anything worth having takes hard work and commitment. The two biggest factors in having success or no twill be patience and consistency.

6.) Don’t compare yourself to others. During this process just remember that everyday it is You vs. You. Do not compare yourself to others in the gym, on instagram or next door. I know this seems dumb but it can be one of the biggest deterrents when it comes to having success in fat loss or building muscle. 


Maintenance Calories: The energy your body needs to meet your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). You shouldn’t lose or gain either fat or muscle. 

In layman's terms...Your weight on a weekly average shouldn’t go up or down more than a pound. If it continues to climb you are in a calorie surplus. If it goes down you are in a calorie deficit.
There are many ways to determine this: Bodyweight x 13-15 is a good starting point.

Moderately Active: 200 x 13 = 2,600 calories/day
Active: 200 x 15 = 3,000 calories/day

Your weekly average weight can guide you from there. If you lose weight raise calories. If you gain weight lower calories. Keep all other factors the same. 

Progressive overload: is the gradual increase in volume, intensity, frequency or time in order to achieve the targeted goal of the individual. 

In layman's terms...try to improve in the gym every time you show up. 

Example 1: Increase Reps (Volume)

Bench Press: 10 Reps of 225 lbs. for 3 sets
Bench Press: 12 Reps of 225 lbs.  for 3 sets.

Example 2: Increase Sets (Volume)

Bench Press: 10 Reps of 225 lbs. for 3 sets.  
Bench Press: 10 Reps of 225 lbs.  for 4 sets. 

Example 3: Increase Weight (Intensity)

Bench Press: 10 Reps of 225 lbs. for 3 sets.  
Bench Press: 10 Reps of 230 lbs. for 3 sets.

Example 4: Workouts per Week (Frequency)

Go from 3 to workouts per week. 

Rinse & Repeat! 


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