15 Proven Ways to Gain Lean Muscle Mass While Staying Ripped

2. Stay in a small caloric surplus

You don’t need to stuff your face at every sitting to gain size. Muscle tissue is synthesized at a slow rate—much slower than most guys think. The average man can gain a quarter-pound to 5lbs of muscle per week while the average woman can gain .12-.25lbs per week. That is not a huge amount; therefore, you don’t need all those extra calories. Staying in a small caloric surplus of anywhere between 200-400 calories per day will get the job done, as long as you’re getting enough protein to fuel that muscle growth. Your body will put on fat if you take in any more than that.

3. Never skip cardio day

Always keep cardio in your routine. You have to keep your metabolic pathways open and running. In addition to helping you burn some excess calories off, the cardio will help your appetite.

4. Try ‘mini’ cuts

Mini cuts—when you slightly reduce your caloric intake for a short time—are great because they allow you to burn off added fat from your body rather quickly. A mini cut from two to six weeks is appropriate, depending upon your current conditioning. It’s OK to be aggressive, as long as you’re experienced with modifying your diet. Say your current intake is 3,500 calories—drop your intake to 2,500. By doing that, you’ll take advantage of your body’s naturally elevated fat-burning hormones like leptin and T3.

5. Keep lifting heavy

So your goal is to be as big and lean as humanly possible—how can you get big without going heavy? By lifting heavy, you signal to your body that there’s a demand to build and maintain more lean mass. Make sure you’re avoiding your plateaus by progressing your routine and striving to add one more rep, 5lbs, or one more set to every workout if your body can handle it.

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