How to gain lean muscle

Base Body Babes full-body barbell workout - Women's Health and Fitness magazine

4. Reduce your intake of carbohydrates but don’t eliminate them 

You can’t burn fat in the presence of insulin and every time you ingest sugars or carbohydrates, your body releases insulin. Yet carbohydrates are beneficial for brain fuel and your body’s preferred energy source, as well as for muscle recovery – so don’t eliminate them even. The best time to eat carbohydrates is around your training times – before, and especially after, a challenging workout.

5. Eat more vegies

Not only are vegies low in calories and packed with nutrients, but they also have a high thermic effect, meaning they use a lot of energy just to digest (particularly if eaten raw or as close to raw as you can  manage).

6. Eat enough food

One of the biggest mistakes women make is not eating enough to fuel their body and assist with their fat loss and lean muscle gain goals. You need to eat regular meals packed with protein, some complex carbs, lots of vegies and some good fats. Starving yourself is only going to slow down your metabolism and see you gain weight long term, making it harder to get it off and keep it off.

7. Get enough rest and sleep

Many overlook the importance of sleep, but if you don’t get enough sleep you can’t function properly and this has two negative outcomes. The first is that you are unable to work to your full potential or hard enough in your training sessions. The second is that when you are tired, it messes with your hormones making it much harder to resist cravings.

8. Don’t overdo the cardio

If you want to lower your body fat and gain lean muscle too much cardio is counter-productive – especially the popular long, slow kind such as long distance running or cycling. Muscle wastage occurs when performing a lot of long duration cardio, so instead try 2-3 short, high intensity sessions and only add longer, more moderate sessions as a last resort. The aim should always be to do as little cardio as possible if body re-comp osition is your goal.

9.  Hide the scales

When you change your body recomposition for the better, you add lean muscle weight (while reducing fat weight) so you may not see a huge drop on the scale but you will definitely see it in the mirror and by how your clothes fit.

10. Be patient

Body recomposition takes time – 12 weeks is a great time frame. If you are looking for rapid ‘weight’ loss, you will find yourself losing precious muscle tissue instead of fat.

Want to lose weight? Find out your ideal eight, browse low-fat recipes and choose a healthy eating plan today!