It’s no secret that record-breaking runners and athletes are, more often than not, quite lean-bodied. This makes sense; lean bodies have the most effective ratio of low body fat to lean, powerful muscle mass, allowing people to propel further and faster with more ease than someone with higher percentages of body fat.
So, what is the best way to build lean muscle mass? While your fitness regime will undoubtedly have an effect on your development of lean muscle mass, bringing down your percentage of body fat will also require considerations with your eating habits.
Below are key factors to building lean muscle mass and promoting a leaner body, helping to improve your speed and power as a runner and athlete.
A cardio component is an important aspect in burning fat. For the most efficient cardio component, you want to find a balance between getting your heart rate pumping and exhausting yourself. The goal of cardio should not be to run until you drop, but rather to get your heart pumping at a prime rate or time interval for peak fat burning potential.
Steady-state cardio is also often referred to as the “fat burning zone.” The goal of maintaining your cardio routine in this state is to maintain a maximum heart rate at roughly 60-70% for a sustained period of time, between 20 minutes to an hour.
High-Intensity Interval Training, or “HIIT” as it is often referred to, involves high-intensity bursts of exercise followed by short periods of rest. The idea is to push yourself and put forth your maximum ability without reaching the point of exhaustion. Humans can’t sustain maximum performance for an extended period of time. There is a reason world-class sprinters can only sustain 9-10 seconds of peak performance while long-distance runners can endure for hours. HIIT delivers the best of both worlds by combining intense exercise with built-in recovery.
This style of training can be accomplished through sprint sessions on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical, or free weight and bodyweight circuits. HIIT workouts are open to customization so that you never get bored with your workouts! HIIT workouts should be interchanged with steady-state cardio workouts throughout the week for optimal fat burn and building lean muscle mass.
If you are looking to shed fat while maintaining muscle, you can try to decrease your caloric intake while still maintaining a maximized intake of protein—roughly at least 1 g of protein/lb body weight. Protein plays an integral role in the development and repair of muscle mass, making proper protein intake crucial to an effective workout to build lean muscle mass.
While quality foods like eggs, meat, and fish are good sources of protein, it is not efficiently converted by the body and goes to waste. Power your body with the protein it needs with a little help from BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino™, formulated with the eight essential amino acids required to support maximum protein synthesis in the body. Learn more about BodyHealth’s popular fitness supplement.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.