How To Build Lean Muscle Mass

by Caleb Lee on December 5, 2008

If you want to know how to build lean muscle mass, which means building a good amount of muscle… without… gaining a lot of fat… then this article was written just for you.

What does it take to build lean muscle mass? You have to put your body into what’s known as an “anabolic state”, and this article will show you the three most important “anabolic activators” there are.

Anabolic Activator #1: Intense Strength Training

You need to do some form of exercise with intensity in order to stimulate your body into building lean muscle mass. You do this by strength training.

There’s lots of ways to do strength training, I recommend you start out with bodyweight exercises… then move onto free weight exercises… doing a balanced and total body program like DoubleYourGains’ 3-5 program to get your body into “anabolic mode”.

When you put your body under stress, all your muscles under stress it signals your body that “we need more muscle to perform the stuff you want to do!” THAT is the goal of your training.

Anabolic Activator #2: Intense Cardio

This will really help your goal of gaining LEAN muscle mass. The key is to do cardio a little differently than you might be used to…

Instead of doing long distance, steady-state aerobics (like running on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour)… you should adopt cardio activities that are anaerobic in nature… which means you do intense bursts of activity, followed by periods of longer “active rests”.

An example would be sprinting all out at your fastest pace for 20 seconds… then jogging for up to a minute… then sprinting, etc… this is what’s known as “interval training” and the benefits are second to none.

I’ve written more about interval training here. But suffice it to say interval training will help you keep the fat burning while you’re building lean muscle mass… because you’re going to be eating a LOT to build muscle.

Anabolic Activator #3: Eating Correctly For Lean Muscle Gain

Most guys who want to build muscle simply do not eat enough. It seems easy right? Just eat! But the truth is: you have to know WHEN to eat to make your body most likely to build lean muscle.

What’s the best time? For 30 minutes up to 4 hours after your workouts (both strength training and cardio) is what is known as the “post workout window of opportunity” because the fuel forĀ  your body is so depleted from your intense workouts… that nearly all of the food you consume in this period goes directly into your muscle cells.

What happens then? Well, instead of the extra calories going towards fat gain, those extra calories are instead FEEDING your lean muscle mass gains… so if you eat a lot of calories during this time period, you have a much better chance of building muscle instead of gaining fat.

Other unique ways of getting your body to use your food more anabolically is by adopting intermittent fasting. I like the warrior diet approach (when I’m maintaining or dropping weight) and the Lean Gains approach when I want to build lean muscle mass.

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GO HEALTHY GO FIT » Blog Archive » Delicious Monday!!
December 8, 2008 at 9:12 am
How To Gain Lean Muscle Mass | CST Free Weight Exercises By Scott Sonnon
January 29, 2009 at 3:28 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew R December 5, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Hey Caleb,

Nice post! With regards to how you do your HIIT, how fast do you jog on the interval after sprinting? I’ve been simply walking at about 3.5 and then going all out with a total sprint.


All the Best,

Andrew R


Caleb Lee December 6, 2008 at 5:23 am


Thanks for the kind words. If I’m running on the treadmill, I’ll usually jog around 5.0 – 5.5 “level” speed (probably 4-5mph if I was guesstimating what the “levels” translate to)… and when I sprint I crank it up to 10.5 -11.0 (the max speed is level 12 if I remember correct)… I’ll do a minute all out sprint alternated with a minute jog…

I prefer shorter more intense workouts to the longer interval training. I get bored easily on a treadmill, haha — tabatas on the bicycle are a fave because there’s no time to get bored (or breathe for that matter!)


johnny December 30, 2008 at 5:55 am

JFjWsD Thanks for good post


Johnny May 28, 2009 at 12:23 am

A very good and helpful post, although I am a little confused about what you said in “Anabolic Activator # 3″ for the correct timing that one should eat. If you get time, can you please clarify that.Thank you


Rudi January 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

I take protein shakes twice a day one in the morning and one before I work out i put,

8 raw eggs, with out the yellow stuff
1 cup of oatmeal
1 spoon of honey
1 cup of say milk
piece of melon
1 apple
powder protein

It makes me full for about 3 or 4 hours when i get home after going to the gym Im still full and dont eat dinnet, but rather drink 2 grapefruit juice. Is that still going to give me volume? or I need to eat a real dinner?

any suggestions please e-mail me at


rashad lyons April 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm

no that's great it will help maybe next time not some much stuff you dont wont to be full u need room for your muscles to grow so u can be more lean 2 or 3 raw eggs will do and protein shake with milk your choice


Mark May 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

i do all this already and i have been doing it for 3 weeks starting to see some results :)


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