Many people, not just athletes, want to increase their lean muscle mass for a number of reasons, including:
- Aesthetics: muscle is denser than fat so it takes up less space in your body, and you appear leaner
- Metabolic rate: muscle burns the most energy of all body tissue, so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate
- Performance: muscle increases your power to weight ratio, which improves performance (1)
- Sports: you may need to be a certain weight for a particular position or weight category (1)
How do you increase lean muscle mass?
You need three key factors to increase your lean muscle mass:
1. A good training regime
2. A high-energy, nutritious diet with adequate protein
3. Consistency with both training and nutrition
Your muscle needs stimulation from a resistance training programme to grow and develop. Speak to a qualified fitness professional or coach who can advise you on the right training programme for your goals.
To increase lean muscle mass, you need to consume extra energy (kilojoules) each day. You can do this by increasing your total food and fluid intake.
You need to ensure you eat enough protein (1.2-2.0g/kg/day) to meet your increased training demands (1). You also need to focus on carbohydrates, as they are the most important fuel for exercise. Without enough carbohydrate, you won’t be able to train the way you need to stimulate muscle growth.
To achieve higher energy intakes, focus on eating nutrient-dense foods that are rich in carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals, with moderate amounts of unsaturated fat. Avoid high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt foods that may increase your body fat instead of increasing lean muscle.
An efficient way to increase your energy intake is to eat more frequently throughout the day, often by incorporating more snacks. Additionally, to get maximum benefit from your training, eat something high in carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes after training.
Balance Sports Nutrition offers a range of convenient, portable protein powders (with high, medium and low carbohydrate content) to fuel your training and support recovery between training sessions. There’s also a range of complementary supplements that support muscle maintenance and repair. Try our new Massive 70:30 Carbs:Protein protein powder in Banana flavour!
(1) Burke, L, Deakin, V. 2010. Clinical Sports Nutrition, 4th edition. McGraw-Hill Book Company Australia Pty Limited, NSW, Australia.
by Jenna Walker (Balance Nutritionist)