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Building Lean Muscle

Building lean muscle is one of the most difficult goals for any gym goer, but also one of the most popular. Essentially, to ‘build lean muscle’ you want to achieve a highly toned, chiselled and strong looking physique with minimal fat.

Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. Reducing body fat or putting weight on is relatively simple when thought of as separate workout strategies, but to achieve both simultaneously you must be highly dedicated.

Build Lean Muscle

A combination of a rigourous exercise routine and a lean, high protein diet is essential. Lean meats and other high protein foods such as liquid egg white help you to build and maintain muscle. Protein shakes are also an excellent, convenient way to get extra protein into your diet. To lose fat, very lean meats such as turkey is a good addition to your diet.

It’s important for anyone wanting to accomplish this goal to keep to a strict, well balanced diet and training regime. You will need to consume the right amount of calories daily, but not too many that your body fat increases.

Carbohydrates are essential for providing the body with the fuel it needs to train hard. Complex carbohydrates like maltodextin are much more effective than simple sugars as they release energy slowly throughout the day rather than in quick bursts.

This means you’re more likely to use up the carbohydrate energy, rather than your own muscle when working out. Oats are great for this as they have a low Glycemic Index (GI).

Protein is necessary as it aids muscle growth and repair. According to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, athletes who want to build muscle should be consuming between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Ideally, this will be eaten throughout the day.

Our wide range of lean meats are an excellent source of natural protein but for that quick hit our high quality whey protein supplements are also beneficial.

Certain supplements like fat burners can help speed up the fat loss, but these must be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and training plan.

Omega 3 is also good when trying to build lean muscle as it helps prevent muscle wastage and maintains healthy joints whilst giving your body a healthy dose of good fatty acids.


This information is aimed to provide general guidance and should be adapted to meet your individual requirements. Consult a nutritionist or Doctor when planning your diet.

A properly constructed training programme for lean muscle development will include both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise.

Resistance training will develop the muscles, increasing size and definition. It is critical to allow sufficient time for muscles to rest and repair as this is period in which muscle growth occurs – training the same muscle every day will not result in optimum growth.

Cardiovascular exercise should be used to reduce body fat which will allow the muscles to take on a more defined, toned appearance. A common cardiovascular training programme may include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) designed to maximise fat loss and fitness while not allowing the body to use the muscles for fuel.


This information is aimed to provide general guidance and should be adapted to meet your individual requirements. Always consult a qualified personal trainer when planning your training.

British and UK Figure Champion Jody Shuttleworth shares some invaluable tips on how to build lean muscle:

As a British trained figure champion, building lean muscle mass is an important part of my healthy lifestyle. In conjunction with Musclefood I am able to achieve my goals and would like to share with you a few tips that might help you in making those all important lean muscle gains and achieving your goals too!

Firstly a few principles apply to all healthy eating plans including building lean muscle mass. Here are my top tips:

  • 1. Eat lean protein
  • 2. Eat high fibre complex carbs
  • 3. Limit high sugar refined carbs
  • 4. Eat healthy fats and limited saturated fat
  • 5. Drink lots of water

I find that your body can be very adaptable although it prefers to stay in its current form of weight, body fat and muscle unless you change your eating habits. If you want to gain lean muscle mass you need a surplus of quality calories which can be made up with a variety of Musclefood lean cuts of meat. You then need to burn more calories than you consume to lose excess weight… easy right?!

For more tips and guidance, read Jody's full article on building lean muscle here.

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