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Lean Muscle Mass

Asking for a family member. What is the safest and most effective Supplement to take to help gain lean muscle mass. Preferably something a man can take that is not going to increase BP and not make him skinny. He just needs a little help with getting a little shredded and cut up. He does elliptical a few days a week and lifts weights 5-6 days. Had hip surgery almost a yr and a half ago and lost a lot of weight through running and biking since. Thanks in advance.

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Given your family member’s level of activity, it’s important to ensure that consumption of protein, through that of lean meat, eggs, whey powder (supplement), fish and nuts constitutes 30-35% of his recommended intake.

Supplementation with whey powder both before and after exercise should help to maintain existing his existing mass, in addition to providing damaged fibres with the nutrients required to repair and re-build (particularly important if weight training regularly).

Since his goal is to shred, he needs to maintain a modest calorie deficit of up to 500Kcal from his TDEE (refer to my post a few months back), allowing fat to be utilised as energy both during exercise and through every day activity.

To aid in achieving the shredded appearance, when undertaking cardio exercise, he ought to be performing HIIT, as opposed to SSC that lasts in excess of 40 minutes. Again, refer to my reply regarding HIIT and how it ought to be executed.

Most importantly, if cardio and resistance are performed on the same day, 15-20 minutes of HIIT (3 times per week) ought to be performed after resistance training.

Performing cardio before resistance training, for example, will deplete the body’s glycogen reserves too severely, resulting in the use of muscle mass as energy, meaning that the gains he hopes to attain (through resistance training) will be largely non-existent.

Even when resistance training, only 1-2 muscle groups ought to be exercised in a session, with muscles being worked antagonistically. Working to the following split of chest/back, biceps/triceps and legs/shoulders, for example, presents the respective muscle groups with around 72 hours recovery between workouts.

Focus should remain upon using a weight that allows failure to be reached after 6-8 reps when performing compound movements (such as squats and bench presses) and 8-10 reps when exercising muscle groups in isolation (such as chest flyes and tricep extensions). At least 60s recovery ought to be taken between sets, with compound sets taking up to 32 seconds to complete and isolation sets taking 40 seconds execute.

With the exception of calf exercises, your family member should bear in mind that isolation exercises involving other muscle groups should always be performed with a lighter weight than compound movements.

As a typical rule, compound movements should be performed using between 70-80% of one’s 1 rep max and isolation exercises using up to 60-70%.

Since your family member has recently undergone hip surgery, when performing squats, for example, he should gauge the strength/dynamism of his hip flexion under resistance.

If he considers that his knees are buckling inwards, for example, weight should reduce to a comfortable level, with only small increments being made as their strength improves.

Paying attention to the lower lumbar region and core will also help to redevelop strength and flexibility of hip flexion under load. As such, Pilates or yoga based movements should be considered.

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