It might be a slightly disturbing way to understand and remember it, but “lean muscle” in humans is the same as “lean meat” in the deli – meat that doesn’t come with fat along with it.
Lean muscle even has its own measurement, called “lean muscle mass.”
This is your body weight but minus the weight from fat. Most people never know their lean body mass because it’s difficult to accurately determine outside of some complicated tests.
The basic takeaway is more muscle and less fat is good.
Why Do I Want Lean Muscle?
Lean muscle is a good thing for a number of reasons. Without spending a whole article talking about how fat is bad, muscle is good because it helps us to maintain a good posture and increases bone health, according to WebMD.
After a certain age, bones begin to decrease over time, which can make them susceptible to breakage in old-age, so anything that strengthens your bones is a win.
Beyond that, muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so having more muscle can contribute to keeping the pounds off.
How Do I get Lean Muscle?
Lean muscle is built through strength training, and as long as you start strength-training incrementally and don’t push your body beyond its limits, you can’t be too young or too old to start.
Knowing your body’s limits can be hard, however, so it’s good to talk to your doctor for advice before you begin strength training.
Your doctor can help you determine how to start building lean muscle, but can also help you to consider other things, like your diet.
Getting plenty of protein and calcium is particularly important for strength trainers, but there are a lot of other things to consider as well.
Many resources, including WebMD, also recommend starting strength training with a personal trainer. This is a good idea because, unlike cardio exercises like jogging or swimming, if your form is off when you do strength training you can really hurt yourself.
Personal trainers are expensive, but if you’re a member of a gym, the attendants there can likely give you some pointers free of charge.
There are also a lot of good sources online, but make sure that you choose a reputable source that is aimed at the level of fitness that you want to achieve.
Almost all strength training exercise involves working against weights, and that can mean free-weights or a machine. At a gym, you’ll have access to both, but a machine may be cheaper and more versatile than a set of free-weights if you’re going it alone.
Machines also come with instructions that can keep you from hurting yourself by doing the exercises the wrong way.
Most machines also have a seat to guide your posture and support you, making them a good place to start building Lean muscle if you haven’t lead the most active lifestyle so far.
Exercises Without Weights or Machines
There are too many machine exercises to go into for building lean muscle, and they vary by machine, but there are a number of excellent body-resistance exercises that pit your muscles against your bodyweight instead of a machine or a weight.
- Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor, and then rise.
- Sit-ups – Lay on the floor with your knees bent and your feet under something heavy like a couch or your bed and bend at the waist to bring your head up to your knees.
- Push-ups – Lay down supported by your toes and your hands brought up to your shoulders and extend your arms at the elbows to lift yourself off of the floor.
All of these are very basic exercises, but by throwing a twist into your sit-up or moving your arms further apart in your push-up you can modify them to get a good and varied workout.
Don't wait, it's time to start Building Lean Muscle!