How to Effectively Build Lean Muscle Mass by Dr. Jena

Lean muscle mass is important for everyone! When you have sufficient muscle on your bones, you burn more calories you burn at rest! So how do you increase your muscle? As we all know, it is easy to put on weight, but what about when you are trying to put on muscle mass vs fat mass?  Well, that is a different story, and involves more than exercise alone.  Resistance training can result in varying degrees of hypertrophy, increase in muscle size, but also involves factors such as sex, age, prior training status, nutrition, and the timing of protein ingestion.  It vital and necessary to focus on resistance training and nutrition, if you want to meet your goals while staying healthy and injury free!  


It is important to get enough protein in your diet so you can recover properly while building muscle. According to recent studies, a statistically significant increase in lean muscle mass was found during the use of whey protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise, or as a part of a weight loss/maintenance program.   

The goal of protein intake should be to consume the adequate amount necessary to replenish the body after exercise while consuming the other necessary macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) to stay healthy and function at optimal levels. 

How Much Do You Need? 

You need to understand that if your body is not getting the adequate nutrition it needs, it will breakdown overtime vs build! You can exercise and exercise, but if you do not get enough calories or nutrients in your diet, you are doing more harm than good.  

So how much do you need? For adults, the recommended amount of protein is 10-35% of your total energy intake (total intake of carbs, fats, and proteins), and is considered optimal for a person’s overall metabolism.  Specifically, dietary intake for healthy individuals over the age of 19 is 0.8-0.9 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) of bodyweight.  According to the National Research Council, there is little evidence for the need to increase protein intake, except for small amounts needed for the development of muscle during intense physical activity: 1.4-1.8g/kg of body weight.    

Amino Acids: 

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  Protein and amino acid ingestion combined, has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis and suppress the breakdown of protein within the body.  Leucine, an amino acid that is broken down during exercise , has been shown to significantly increase muscle protein development. In fact, leucine content in protein was found to be the strongest determinant of the amount of muscle synthesized by protein ingestion.  Along with supplementation, leucine can be found in lean meats and dairy proteins whey and casein.  

Protein Quality:  

The quality of the protein plays a role in the body’s ability to digest and absorb the nutrients within the protein, and not all proteins are created equal. The higher the quality of your protein, the easier it is for the body to absorb it.  If your protein is made of lower quality ingredients, your body will not be able to absorb it, meaning you are paying for expensive pee! Haha! Your body will filter it through your organs but it will eventually get excreted out vs absorbed to build more muscle.   

High-quality protein sources such as eggs, dairy protein, and lean meats should be ingested, but protein supplements offer a practical alternative if you cannot consume the recommended amounts in your diet.   

Protein Timing:  

So when should you get your protein to get the greatest benefits? When it comes to stimulating new muscle growth, immediate post exercise protein consumption is shown to be most beneficial.  Studies show that waiting 2 hours or more after exercise can reduce muscle size and strength gains. So make sure you are getting your protein right after your workout ! 😉  Research says optimal timing for protein consumption is immediately to 1 hour following exercise. 


Post exercise ingestion of carbohydrates is also important in maintaining and/or increasing muscle mass synthesis. Post exercise carbohydrates consumption appears to support the muscle gains found when appropriate protein and amino acid amounts are consumed.  This amount is smaller than the required daily intake, and should be around 35 grams to support muscle growth after exercise.   

I hope this gives you a little more insight as to how you can build lean muscle mass. Learn about your body and things you can do to keep it healthy and keep it running at its best!! 


Written by: Dr. Jena Gatses PT, LMT, SFMA, CSCS  

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One response to “How to Effectively Build Lean Muscle Mass by Dr. Jena”

  1. Normally I do not read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up
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