Bodybuilding Fitness Weight Loss

Lean body mass -all the ways you can increase it!

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: May 8, 2019

How to increase lean body mass:

Lean body mass is not only nice to look at, but also signifies health, youth, and vigor. So, let’s get started with talking about how you can increase your lean body mass!

lean body massFirst of all, if anyone is unaware of why it’s a good idea to increase lean body mass for themselves, then here’s a review. The less body fat and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be.

In fact, if you are attempting to lose weight, know when you lose fat, it doesn’t “magically” turn into muscle; you need to work at it. I’m here to tell you how!

There are tables for what ideal body fat percentages should be. However, I tend to go by “visuals.” For example, I consider how clothing fits and how much fat around your belly you can pinch or not; “not” is a good sign!

At any rate, a pound of fat at rest burns about 2 cals/day. Conversely, a pound of muscle at rest burns 50-75 cals/day. So, you can see how changing your fat to muscle ratio and increasing your lean body mass will help you lose weight. Not to mention, keep it off too. Let’s talk about the basics first, and then I’ll give you all of the supplements to help you speed up your lean body mass “body project”!

Increase lean body mass first and foremost with diet and exercise:


For health and reduction of body weight and fat, the first thing you need to do is clean up your diet. No fast foods or processed foods. It’s more about how you eat then how MUCH you eat.

If you follow this blog and website, I hope you have your free copy of the anti-inflammatory diet plan. If not, please get this as it will immediately place you on the path to increasing lean body mass.

Even if you do not want to lose weight, but just put on lean body mass, you need to “eat clean, ” and this is how to do it. Also, don’t think super-restricting carbs will help the cause. To explain, your body will break down PROTEIN if it runs out of carbs for energy before it will go for the fat.

Protein intake and types of protein:

Your average desk-bound male requires just 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

To add lean body mass, generally between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight is needed.

If you’ve been shooting for a gram of protein per pound of body weight or more, you’re overdoing it.

In short, your body won’t be able to process those extra calories. As a result, the calories will ultimately end up as just one thing: fat.

In addition, this amount of protein is a strain on your kidneys IF you have any pre-existing kidney issues at all.

Now for the “shocking” truth about how your body utilizes certain types of protein.

Most bodybuilders are taught MEAT, MEAT, and MEAT!

However, the most efficient way to get protein which converts nicely to lean muscle mass is the best whey protein powder which is a concentrate, NOT an isolate, that can be made into a protein shake. It’s true- why is the very best muscle building protein.

That’s correct! Indeed, you read it right, and there’s a ton of proof for this.

Whey Products to Avoid like the plague:
  • Whey proteins made from ultrapasteurized milk and/or processed using acid. This is one of the main ways to differentiate high-quality whey protein from inferior ones.
  • Whey protein isolates. All whey protein isolates are absent of important nutritional co-factors. These include naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fats, which are lost in the processing.

You also do NOT want whey products containing genetically modified soy lecithin, propylene glycol, ethoxylated mono-diglycerides, caseinates, polysorbate 80, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed proteins (often-disguised MSG)  sugar, and/or artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame.




What to look for:

Whey protein concentrate: High-quality whey protein concentrates contain glutamylcysteine, the major precursor to glutathione.

Cold pressed, minimally processed.

Made from unpasteurized (raw) milk from grass fed cows.

Look for one containing medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long chain fatty acids. Also, look for certified organic and naturally sweetened**, with a creamy flavor. No hormones, chemicals, sugar or sugar substitutes but *** pure stevia leaf extract is always fine.

Next, we know for fitness we must do cardio and stretch outs which are covered at length in this blog. To build muscle mass, which is lean body mass, you need to do some sort of weight training regimen. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder, but if you are, my suggestions for supplements will help YOU too.

A review of ways to weight train:


Finally, we’ve reclaimed the word “calisthenics” from the 1980’s exercise videos!  Lately, there’s been a lot of “chatter” about calisthenic strength training. Whatever you call it, natural bodyweight training is hotter than ever. To point out, the big advantage is there is NO equipment. It can also be done anywhere, anytime. So, you can put on lean body mass at home in your undies! Specifically, advanced body weight training is incredibly intense, and it builds a very strong and sculpted body.

Free weights:

she uses serious skin care products to look this young!

For many people, dumbbells and barbells provide a great workout. Free weights, with a bench and a rack, can offer a great variety of exercises.

Advantages of free weights over machines

  • You can increase strength through a full range of motion.
  • Free weights require more coordination/control than machine weights.
  • They can be used at home or at a gym.
  • You can strengthen large muscle groups at once


  • Knowledge of proper form during the lift is crucial to prevent injuries.
  • It is crucial for all but near-pro’s, and then even perhaps more so due to increased weights, to always have a spotter.
Resistance machines

Most machines use a stack of weight as a means of resistance. The resistance from the weight stack can be controlled by one specific movement via pulleys, etc. Other machines may require large springs or rubber bands to provide resistance. Note they may be less capable of gradual increases in resistance. Indeed, these multi-station machines are ideal for a home gym.

bcaa bodybuilding supplement add to his muscle mass


  • Focuses on one muscle group at a time.
  • A good machine can provide proper form through the lift.
  • The machine does a particular exercise and you are guided through a specific range of motion- which is perfect for beginners.


  • You, of course, need a gym membership to a gym or purchase an expensive multi-station home gym.
  • It focuses on one muscle group at a time. Therefore it’s not ideal for sports training.
  • When increasing weight, you must add a whole or half plate. This might be too large of an increase for de-conditioned or some older individuals.
Other ways to increase lean body mass
  • Resistance bands
  • Medicine Balls
  • Kettle Balls
  • Circuit training -Caveat here: you simply cannot lift the amount of weight if you are combining weight training with cardio. If the goal is to increase lean body mass, then your workout should be weights first, then cardio.  Ideally, with a span of time in between the two.

What about supplements for lean body mass?

First, what doesn’t work unless combined with other ingredients? The answer is Creatine because taken alone it just loads up muscles with water. To clarify, it is NOT increasing lean body mass, but rather making you retain fluid. However, when coupled with a good NO amper, it seems to work. We’ll talk about NO in a moment here.

Next, all of the oral human growth hormone “drops” being sold are a giant rip off. Also, the “boosters” don’t work if you are over 38-40 years of age.

HGH only works as an injectable, and legally it cannot be prescribed for muscle building anyway. However, for those who meet the legal requirements to have it prescribed, they DO get the benes of an increase in lean body mass. This is also the case with those who legitimately have “low T” and need testosterone replacement. Also, to point out, there may be a slight boost to testosterone with some of the “boosters” out there, but really, not too much.

Now, let’s talk about what does work to speed up the process for you.


Many bodybuilders have started using acetyl l carnitine for a number of sports-related benefits. To explain, Acetyl-L-Carnitine helps to burn stored fat. It also forces additional fatty acids into your cellular mitochondria, which allows for even more fat burning.

This can certainly benefit bodybuilders, especially as they are ‘cutting up’ near contest times. However, it can help anyone trying to increase lean body mass too.  With enough acetyl-l-carnitine supplementation, muscles can burn fat and protein for energy instead of just glucose. Remember how I told you above not to scrimp on the carbs? Taking a hefty ALC dose can “cheat” the body such that you CAN.

The benefits of Acetyl L-Carnitine also extend to other areas. The increased burning of alternate fuels delays muscle fatigue. It also helps to reduce the onset and accumulation of lactic acid (which is a by-product of glucose metabolism). Furthermore, acetyl-l-carnitine MIGHT increase the production of testosterone, helping to boost muscle mass.


L-glutamine is an amino acid, essential for the health of the immune system and for having excellent GI health. It is very healing in the gut where it strengthens the lining and in turn, helps leaky gut and sugar cravings. Glutamine also helps promote optimal muscle growth and strength. It has also shown to be particularly useful in helping prevent disease-related muscle wasting.

If someone is trying to increase their lean body mass, it is useful when it is used at L-glutamine bodybuilding levels to increase HGH. An increase in HGH also stimulates the building blocks of the skin, making it part of the AWS program of inside-out skin care.  It also increases GABA levels to make it one of the best supplements for anxiety.


Alpha GPC has amazing benefits for all sorts of things. Bodybuilding is only one of them and if you want the others just read the GPC blog. Many bodybuilders use this for better workout focus and increased HGH levels. I use it for improved mental focus, period.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is one of the primary drivers of muscle growth as you are aware I’m sure. HGH is in charge of post-workout tissue repair. Of course, adding energy-foods post-workout helps too. The action of increased levels of HGH allows bodybuilders and others adding lean body mass to cut rest times for “muscle groups” by 30-50%, thus allowing for greater muscle building ability.

Combining GPC with L-glutamine is additive for HGH increase at higher doses than you would use for brain health and anxiety.

Nitric Oxide (NO) Supplementation:

We doctors think of nitric oxide supplementation for those with peripheral vascular disease because of the vascular dilation effects and the effects of decreased platelet stickiness. However, the real bonanza is for the athletes who discover this enhances performance in all venues. In fact, increasing nitric oxide has become the new secret weapon for athletes and bodybuilders.

There have been over 60,000 studies done on nitric oxide in the last 20 years. In 1998, The Nobel Prize in Medicine was given to three scientists that discovered the signaling role of nitric oxide.

For “starters” you can increase NO by taking the amazing and healthy, multi-faceted resveratrol. Athletes are now taking supplements with L-arginine and L-citrulline (and other ingredients – click in supplements section below) to support the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscle by amping up NO!

There are also other wonderful nitric oxide benefits. NO facilitates the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid build-up which reduces fatigue and recovery time. Since arginine levels become depleted during exercise, the entire arginine-nitric oxide–citrulline loop remains efficient during endurance or strength exercise. In addition, NO keeps your arteries healthy! Further, many strength athletes (include me in this one) report a “pump” increase when proper NO supplements are taken pre-workout. Many report up to a 25% “weight stack” increase after just one dose!

Ribose supplementation:

Ribose synthesizes adenine nucleotides and is required by heart muscle and other tissue to make adenosine-triphosphate (ATP). Recall ATP is the main source of energy used by all cells to maintain normal health and function.

Ribose is great for all athletes to help maintain energy levels. In addition, because of the increased energy, many weight training athletes note more muscle growth quicker.

When you combine the diet, exercise and supplementation recommendations in this article, you WILL have a jump in your lean body mass gains. To point out, all of these things can be taken together and are “additive” in their effects.

And of course branched chain amino acids supplementation is a must:

This is not an afterthought; it’s a “you must already know this” comment. BCAA’s are a must for building lean body mass. You get them in your diet. Some examples include boiled eggs, whey protein, chicken, turkey and wild caught salmon. However, if you really want to “do it” you need a BCAA/glutamine powder, 5 grams of each. 


And FREE for my bodybuilders and weight training enthusiasts:

20 Secrets to Rapidly Build Muscle and Stay Healthy Doing It

The AWS Competitive Edge Program



  1. I’m currently training for my first competition. I have been cutting and using Acetyl-L-Carnitine and what a difference this has made. I’ve read many of your blogs and have learned so much from you. I will continue to follow you. Great information.

    • Thanks Joe and best of luck to you!

  2. I have been trying to get leaner body mass and this article has shown me how to get there. I have really started to get myself in better shape the last six months. The information you have provide on this blog will not only help myself but others.

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