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What Is Lean Muscle Mass and Why Is It Important?

Lean muscle mass is a common topic when it comes to body composition, healthy weight, and general well-being. Technically all muscles are lean because they contain no fat. Lean body mass includes your bones, muscles, internal organs, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues.

Your body contains three types of muscles:

  • Smooth muscles are located around your organs and control your body’s involuntary movements that support functions like your respiratory and digestive ones
  • Cardiac muscle keeps your heart pumping blood throughout your body at all times
  • Skeletal muscles are attached to your bones, and you use them to perform all types of movements from smiling to running

Your body uses protein to build all three types of muscles, although the only type you can purposefully build is skeletal muscle mass. Increasing and maintaining your lean muscle mass offers a wide range of benefits and you can do so by implementing healthy eating, regular physical activity, and enough sleep.

Your body composition includes protein, fat, and water. Although essential fat helps preserve your internal organs and fuel their proper function, avoiding excessive fat is important for lasting health.

How Does Lean Muscle Mass Support Your Health?

Lean muscle helps strengthen your core, which in turn protects your ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues. With greater stability and coordination, you minimize your risk of injury, including falls. This helps in your everyday tasks, workouts, and any other areas of your life you may require physical stability and strength.

Lean muscle mass also impacts how many calories you burn when at rest, including during sleep. By increasing your basal metabolic rate, the higher your lean muscle mass is, the more body fat you burn. This helps reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, joint issues, and cardiovascular diseases. It also helps you reach and maintain a healthy and stable weight.

Sufficient lean muscle mass can also keep your bones healthy by strengthening them. This can reduce your risk of developing arthritis or osteoporosis as you age. It can also help prevent fractures in the event of a fall.

What Is Appropriate Nutrition to Increase Lean Muscle Mass?

Eating a balanced diet with adequate vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, is important for your health, including when you are focusing on increasing your lean muscle mass. If you are looking to lose weight, you should be mindful when reducing your daily calorie intake, so you still get enough energy for your daily tasks and regular workouts.

Your meal plan for lean muscle mass must include:

  • Protein that your digestive system breaks down into amino acids to build and repair muscle. Natural protein sources include meat, fish, poultry, dairy, legumes, soy, and hemp.
  • Carbs provide lots of vitamins and minerals. You should avoid highly refined carbs and instead focus on healthy complex ones like sweet potatoes and oats
  • Healthy fats like avocado or olive oil help your body function properly. If you eat meat, eggs, or dairy, you generally get sufficient fat intake.

You should generally focus on whole foods and avoid processed meals or any food that is high in sugar or salt. If you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, you may want to supplement your protein intake with high-quality protein powder.

Staying hydrated is important for your general health as it supports your organs’ function and your body’s temperature regulation. Proper hydration can also increase your physical performance. You should also limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption.

What Types of Exercise Build Lean Muscle?

Resistance training, also known as strength training, is one of the most helpful methods to gain lean muscle mass. You can increase difficulty and number of reps over time to ensure that you push your limits while avoiding injury.

For resistance training, you can use:

  • Bodyweight
  • Barbells
  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • High-intensity interval training (HITT)

Incorporating cardio (aerobic) exercise into your weekly routine helps burn fat and support your health. You can do this type of workout on specific days of the week or make them part of your HIIT circuit.

Why Is Rest Important for Lean Muscle Mass?

In addition to resting between sets during your fitness routine, you should work different group muscles throughout the week to avoid overtaxing yourself and prevent injuries. You may also schedule lower-intensity days at least a couple of times a week.

You should also make sure to get enough quality sleep every night as it helps your body recover from your exercise regimen and generally supports your health. From letting your muscles repair themselves if necessary and increasing your natural production of growth hormones, sleep plays a central role in increasing and maintaining your lean muscle mass.

Work with a Professional

If you are unsure where to start to increase your lean muscle mass, you can start by speaking with your primary care physician. This helps you get detailed information about your current health and your doctor can discuss your lifestyle habits and recommend specific ways in which you can improve them, including how to implement a helpful bedtime routine for more restful sleep.

You may also benefit from working with an experienced nutritionist or medical weight loss specialist to get a customized meal plan and learn helpful techniques like meal planning and mindful eating. If you have dietary restriction, a health professional can help you optimize your meals to get all the protein and other nutrients you need.

If you are unsure of what type of exercise to perform or haven’t worked out in a while, you may check out classes or work with a personal trainer. This helps you learn proper form and make sure that you engage in challenging but safe fitness activities.

Professional advice can help you understand what your body type is and how factors such as your genetics and hormonal levels influence it. Medical and fitness professionals can help you pursue healthy eating and living habits that fit your specific needs and goals. They also provide accountability and can recommend adjustments to your lifestyle as you build more lean muscle mass.

Are you ready to start your personalized wellness journey in Covington, Metairie, or Harvey? Call Soza Weight Loss today at (504) 475-9817 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation!