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How To Build Lean Mass For Weight Loss

This blog was created to help us understand how to effectively train for building lean muscle which will help us in weight loss.


Understanding supercompensation - this is the process of growth in strength and size in a nutshell, this is how the body adapts to weights training and results happen. So what happens is that the body goes under stress from the training and needs the time to adapt to the exercise that is has been through. The recovery then takes the body above the level it was prior to the exercise. The stages of supercompensation are the training phase, recovery phase and progressive overload phase. So now let’s explain these phases in more detail.

Training Phase (Muscular Stress) - all about causing stress that the muscles need to adapt to. When lifting, our muscles will have micro tears through the fibres due to the added resistance we don't go through regularly on a daily basis. During the recovery these tears are healed to become stronger to be able to lift that weight again or more. This is how the muscles adapt to resistance training and this is how they grow in strength and size, it is all about the adaptation to the exercises. The larger the muscle the more ATP can be produced which means more power and strength.

When it comes to lifting weights, all exercises can be grouped into two main groups. The two main types of lifts are compound and isolated exercises:

Compound - These are known as the 'big lifts'. They are exercises that work more than one muscle group and use more than one joint. For example, a Squat, it uses all the thigh muscles such as quads, hamstrings and glutes. These exercises are preferred especially when starting out. This is because it recruits a lot more muscles and muscle fibres so it is more bang for your buck. These exercises are also more functional as they incorporate movements in daily life. For example the squat is just like sitting down and standing up etc.

Isolated - These lifts are the 'secondary lifts'. They only work one muscle group and use only one joint. These exercises are great secondary exercises that back up the compound exercises as they specifically target one muscle group that may need or want to be worked on further. For example a bicep curl, the only muscle group being worked in the biceps.


Recovery phase -

Muscular system - muscles used during workout. Muscle and tendons fatigue, micro tears are created. Nervous system - system used to activate muscles. Let the neurons recover as they work to activate the muscles. After the workout, the neurons slow down and work less effectively meaning we need to rest it. This is harder to see and feel unlike muscular fatigue. If you are feeling perfectly fine, not sore, but you can’t seem to lift as heavy or there's some imbalance in your workout, you’re probably suffering from neural fatigue.

Endocrine system - system balancing hormones during and post workouts. During workouts our bodies produce hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is fight or flight hormone, which is great to get us geared up to lift! This system needs to rest and usually takes the longest to rebalance and reproduce the necessary hormones.

How to recover -

No exercise Sleep Massage/Stretching Nutrition

Meditation or any mentally relaxing activity for you

General rules to recovery -

If you are still sore - don’t train the muscle group that is sore.

When starting out, have at least 3-4 complete rest days to let nervous and endocrine system recover. Less days required when you get more advanced, but even then it is important to have at least 1-2 complete rest days weekly. Eat foods that refuel and rebuild your body.

Periodisation - This refers to larger training periods instead of weekly training and recovery days, periodisation is a larger block of programming.

This basically means you break your training into large blocks of 6/8/12 weeks for example.

To avoid overtraining, it is recommended that you have a full week off high intensity training around every 2 months. For example, you work at the same higher intensity for 8 weeks, that’s one training block done, rest for a full week and start your next 8 week block where you increase the intensity of exercise. So that’s what periodisation is. Now let’s talk about ways to advance your workouts to make it harder.

TRAINING FOR RESULTS -

Strength - 1-6 reps and heavy weight (3-6 min rest between sets) Hypertrophy - 8-12 reps and moderate weight (90 sec-2 min rest between sets)

Endurance - 15-20 reps and lighter weight (1 min or under rest between sets)

Strength - Improves neural drive, recruitment of muscle fibres, and coordination of muscles to improve overall strength.

Hypertrophy - increases muscle size, good for fat loss as it increases metabolism

Endurance - improves muscles ability to contract repeatedly. good for fitness and fat loss also.

Progressive Overload - Harder exercises

Increased weight/sets

Reduced rest periods between sets

Increased TUT - time under tension, means to do the exercise at a slower pace

Pre-fatigue - meaning you fatigue the muscle prior to doing the main exercise

Pause reps - have a pause halfway through the rep

Pulses - utilises part of the full exercise to create sustained pressure

Supersets

Drop Sets

Then, with these overloads techniques, re-complete the whole process again.

SO THE PROCESS IS STRESS, RECOVER, PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD, REPEAT

Train specifically to you goal in terms of reps, sets and rest between sets (strength, hypertrophy, endurance). Allow recovery days for your body (you might have to alter or increase depending on how you feel and perform since intensity is increased) Work through you periodisation training blocks before your next complete rest week.

Then overload some more and re-do.


Hope this post allows us to understand more about how to train specifically for building lean mass as efficiently as possible. Building lean mass has huge effects on our metabolism and can greatly aid in weight loss. For more info on how to resistance training and lean mass helps with weight loss, have a read of the Resistance Training for Weight Loss blog.