A Lean Life

Building Lean Muscle for a Lean, Hard Physique

Building Lean Muscle

Lean, Angular Physique

Building lean muscle is the foundation for creating an attractive, sharp, muscular build. Yes…it takes work, but it is not a complicated process. Anyone can do it with a little discipline and solid dose of motivation.

After the first 6 to 8 weeks, your motivation will likely become self-perpetuating. There’s a lot to be said for the old saying…success breeds success. As you start to see improvements in your physique and your mirror looks different, that will fuel your motivation.

I hope to provide you with a clear, simple, and understandable blueprint to help you build lean muscle.  All of workouts on this site are 30 minutes long, and that is all you need to build a lean, muscular body.

I hope to also dispel the belief that you are either losing fat or gaining muscle, but not both at the same time.  I gained 15 pounds of lean muscle and lost 60-70 pounds of fat…in 6 months.  I transformed my physique with simple, effective workouts and dieting.

Overbuilt Musclehead Look

Overbuilt Musclehead Look

The physique that this site will help you achieve is not the overbuilt, musclehead look.  That is not the preferred look for the average person.  Why?

  1. You probably don’t have 3 hours a day to spend in the gym
  2. More importantly, you (like me) recognize that by far the most attractive build is lean and hard…plain and simple.  It’s just not the huge, overdone look.
  3. So let’s start a journey, step by step, to a new you.  All of the tools (and more) are here for you on this site to help you build lean muscle and lose fat.

Lean Muscle Loss With Age

senior-fitnessYour efforts in building lean muscle become doubly important as you age.  After the age of 30, the average person loses 3% to 5% of their lean muscle mass each decade.  This is known as sarcopenia, and it can have a devastating effect on your physique.

You just need to take simple action to reverse the natural process, but it can be reversed.

Much of the science also says that even if you exercise and workout, you will still lose muscle mass each decade after 30.  I absolutely do not agree with this.  I am in my 40’s, and I am building lean muscle more effectively than I have had at any point in my life, even when I was an Army Ranger more than a decade ago.  The reason is that I have honed my process.

And I do not spend hours in the gym.  I actually only spend 30 minutes, 3 days a week working out…30on3 Workouts ● simple, proven, powerful

Resistance Training to Build Lean Muscle

Resistance training is different for everyone….pick the flavor that works best for you – gym equipment, free weights, dumbbells, barbells, body weight, or some combination of all.  They can all be effective when done correctly.

The key is to understand required intensity, rep ranges, and rest times between sets.

gspI think one of the most impressive physiques anywhere is MMA great Georges St. Pierre.  He is very lean, very balanced, and extremely hard.  He is very muscular, but not overbuilt.  His fighting weight is 170 pounds (“walking around” weight is 190), and he is cut like a diamond.

He lives in a world where everyone has extreme physiques, yet he stands out from the crowd.

If you are trying to achieve what I call the GSP look (named after Georges St. Pierre), then here are the guidelines for success in 2 phases:

Phase I — Muscle Building

During Phase I, your goal is to add muscle mass while starting to lean out. The way to add mass is to perform 6 to 12 reps in each set, generally to muscle failure, and only rest 30 seconds between sets. This will completely fatigue and break down your muscles, which will then rebuild and grow during rest.

You need to lift heavy, but not so heavy that your form suffers.

This phase can last anywhere from 2 months to 6 months, depending on your experience, personal goals, and current muscle mass.

  • 6 to 12 reps per set
  • 3 to 4 sets per muscle group
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Muscle failure (or close to it) each set

Sunday thru Thursday > Target Weight x 10 [If your weight goal is 200 pounds, 200 x 10]
Friday > Cheat Day (I usually eat clean breakfast and lunch, then load it up for dinner)
Saturday > Maintenance Calories

Phase II — Muscle Hardening

Building Lean MuscleDuring Phase II, your goal is to increase muscle density and therefore hardness. This will give you the lean and cut look. Increase the weight and only perform 4 to 6 reps in each set. This increases the density of the muscle fiber.

Depending on your body fat % and your personal goals, this phase should last 1 to 2 months. It’s how you cut down for summer.

  • 4 to 6 reps per set
  • 3 sets per muscle group
  • 90 seconds rest between sets
  • 1 rep short of failure for each set

Saturday thru Thursday > Target Weight x 8 [If your goal is 180 pounds, 180 x 8]
Friday > Mild Cheat Day a little over Maintenance (mental sanity!)

Diet for Building Lean Muscle

Foods to eat for building lean muscle:

Diet for Lean Muscle

Salmon & Veggies

Lean Meats
Chicken (skinless, white meat)
Turkey (skinless)
Lean Steak (Top Sirloin, Filet) – watch the butter
Lean Ground Beef (90% to 96% Lean)
Lean Pork (Loin Chops, Tenderloins)
Rainbow Trout

Workout Diet - VeggiesVegetables
Green Beans

Milk – Fat-free (great for protein shakes)

Olive Oil
Udo’s Oil (take it every day – great for all of you – body, skin, blood, etc)

Fitness Diet - Whole GrainsGrains and Nuts
Whole-wheat Bread
Brown Rice
Pistachio Nuts
Flaxseed (very healthy – I eat it every day)

Eat a steady combination of all of these foods, keep your calories in check, and you simply can’t go wrong.  You will look and feel great, and with a good workout routine you will definitely be building lean muscle.

Calorie Intake

As far as calories, the general formula that is greatly reliable for losing fat and building lean muscle is:

Phase I: 10 x (Your Target Weight)  =  Number of Daily Calories
(5 days a week)
Phase II: 8 x (Your Target Weight)  =  Number of Daily Calories
(6 days a week)

Weight Loss

I follow this formula 5 days a week – for me it is Sunday through Thursday.  I am a natural endomorph (gain 3 pounds when I think about food), so I keep the carbs pretty low, and generally eat these carbs an hour after my workout.

Friday is my cheat day when I eat more carbs, and also more calories.  I usually have a few beers, some buffalo wings, and maybe even a few slices of pizza.

Saturday is a calorie neutral day – I burn what I take in, and go low on the carbs.

The weekly combined effect is a 1 to 2 pounds a week of fat loss.  Any  more than that is not healthy and is detrimental to your fitness goals.

This is really just scratching the surface…here is a lot more detail about Muscle Building Diet to include a simple chart to track your calories.

Carb Cycling

A key part of the schedule shown above is “carb cycling.”

I make sure that I have 2 of my 3 workout days on Friday and Saturday, my cheat days.  I want my muscles to be well-fed on 2 of my 3 workout days, and I do that by doing my resistance training on Friday and Saturday…very key to building lean muscle.

My other workout is on one of my lean days.

Muscle Group Workouts

Here lies the “meat and potatoes” – the process of building lean muscle:

Top 5 Best Chest Exercises
Top 5 Exercises for your Tricep Workout
Top 5 Exercises for your Bicep Workout
Top 5 Exercises for your Back Workout Routine
Top 5 Exercises for your Shoulder Workout
Top 5 Exercises for your Ab Workout

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