How to Gain Lean Muscles

Lean muscle workout plan for beginners

I would like to start with the question “WHY”. In Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why he said that there is the deeper [rather tangible] reason why people do what they do. For us, we want to gain lean muscle but what does it mean really mean? Aside from common reasons such as; it is part of my diet or I am an athlete, WHY is it very important [in personal aspect] to gain lean muscle?

The importance in the finding why we do what we do is that it will be the determining factor to our success in gaining lean muscle too. Can you still remember your New Year’s resolution? How is it going now? If you stop doing what you promised to do when the clock struck twelve at January 01, 2020, then it is because you are not certain with why you do what you want to do or change.

I was able to understand that there are always tangible reasons why we do what we do. For example, I am committing to gain lean muscles because it makes me feel good when somebody notices me. You can also say that I am happy to see my parents and family become proud of what I have achieved. There is also deeper past pain involved, such as I feel unnoticed in our family clan since I was young, so I wanted them to recognize me.

Whatever the reason why we do what we, I am here to tell you that it is all fine. Being vulnerable in the process will also help us find genuine happiness in what we are doing. This happiness is the tangible reason why we do what we do. It is the key to do the task consistently, whether it will be for a long-term or short-term goal. This is important because we have to admit that it takes hard determination and consistency to gain lean muscle.

How long to gain lean muscle mass

There is no better answer than “Exercise”. That is how to gain lean muscle but the biggest challenge is consistency because, remember, we are not consistent with our New Year’s resolution and that is a yearly basis. Only the top %1 of the population often succeeds.

Just like any other exercise practices, you need to tune-up before you start doing the hard task. First, you need to sit [or stand] still and feel nothing aside from your heartbeat. Take a deep breath [in and out] and go deeper in your thought and be open to any revelation of who you are. By doing this, you will get to know your real self and, yes, this is practically the best way to find your WHY—why we do what we do.

Good! Everything is ready and now we are ready to find the practical and easy ways to gain lean muscle.

The best way to consistently do in what we are doing is to apply the 21/90 formula, and most successful individual uses it. What is 21/90 formula? Someone said that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make a lifestyle. I don’t know who invented it but I can personally testify that it is effective with firm dedication. That being said, we will make exercise a daily, consistent habit until it became our lifestyle.

Admiral McRaven made a very strong and impactful speech at the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014. He said; “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” “But I want to gain lean muscles and not as a professional bed maker?” Well, I can guarantee that this simple boring task is essential.

Try making your bed as soon as you wake up for 21 days and when I said as soon as you wake up, it means no looking at your cellphones first or checking email. Just fix the bed and afterwards, stretch your body a little. Admiral McRaven said that you will get your body moving by fulfilling the first task of the day. You got it right! Now that your motor system is awake, you will be able to start with the exercise.

What type of exercise can create lean muscle workouts?

a. Start with simple basic exercise that will keep your muscle moving. It does not matter if you do it for 5 minutes or for an entire 1 hour. The most important part is to do it consistently. Simon Sinek said that going to the gym for 2 hours will not get you fit, but exercising for 20 minutes every day will. Try to go for two to three workouts per week, either of the following:

  • Lifting
  • Taking a power yoga class
  • Busting through a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuit
  • Doing bodyweight exercises

Aim for a mix of isotonic and isometric exercises in your fitness regimen. For both types of exercises, try for 3 sets.


  • pushups
  • squats
  • crunches
  • donkey kicks
  • triceps dips


  • plank
  • Warrior Pose(s)
  • wall sit
  • boat pose
  • glute bridge

Do it again! The moves that give you the most challenge to get a better result. For example; if you feel like you give up easily in doing push-ups all the more reason that you do it repeatedly. Don’t push too hard. Just set a certain metric that your body can do and do it daily until your body gets familiar with the workout.

b. Diet. According to Dr. Robert Portman, it is best to consume protein in building lean body mass. However, there is perfect timing to consume protein. It is best to consume high protein early evening as it gives the benefit of diminishing appetite and not consume wasted calories like snacking. You may also have the need to consume protein during your workout.

There is also another suggestion which is to consume protein shake before bed.

Limiting Distraction for lean muscle workouts

Now, we must admit that we are relying too much on technologies and spending more time in it in this ever-changing world. Since we have most of our time in mobile devices, then we can also use it to do the task to gain lean muscle. We all know that we can find all sort of video tutorial and practices from YouTube, social media and there are even apps that offer this kind of services. It is just a click away, as they say, and let Google or YouTube find it for you.

There is nothing wrong with doing so. It is definitely fine but there are times that it distracts us and then we lose our focus. For example, you’re being interrupted by the ads or a notification instead of doing the task to gain lean muscle indicated in the tutorial. Sometimes, you open the camera to take a picture [or a video] and post it in social media to tell the world what you are doing now.  Subconsciously, it produces certain stress in your mind such as; the number of likes and comment or if someone (especially the person that you are thinking) will notice it or what if I look messed up?

What I am saying here is that we need to remove such a distraction. There is nothing wrong with technology and social media; it is the thoughts that come in our mind. You will lose your focus and why you do what you do if you get distracted.

To sum it up; we need tangible reason first to gain lean muscle. A WHY that gives value to why we do what we do. It is the fuel for a long-term goal. It takes courage and commitment to self-discipline, follow the 21/90 formula and limit the distraction.

Robert Nichols

Robert is a full-time blogger, father of 1, and certified working and sharing fitness information. He also regularly contributes to on the latest topics and trends in health & wellness. When he not writing she can be found running and doing intermittent fasting.

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