Building Lean Muscle

Guest blog: Lauren, Focused To Be Fit


My name is Lauren and I blog over at Focused To Be Fit where I write about finding the balance between getting fit while still having fun! In addition to blogging, I also have a full-time job, I’m a Registered Dietetic Technician, a Beachbody Coach and I also serve on the Junior Board for the Make A Wish Foundation. While my plate is quite full, there’s nothing that I would remove from it. In fact, it seems as though I’m always adding new tasks and projects to it, which is great!

I’m so excited to be posting on the Man Flow Yoga page today – thank you, Dean, for the opportunity.

Today I’m going to be talking about building lean muscles and giving you some tips and foods that’ll help you along the way to reach your goals of a toned, muscular body.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote that, ‘abs are made in the kitchen’. Well, the logic behind that is so true. Even if you’re working out, five to six times per week, you’ll see the best results once you get your ‘diet’ on track – and I use the word ‘ diet’ loosely here. I’m not a fan of that word and rather, like to think of it more as your eating lifestyle.

Diets usually have a deadline and when it comes to healthy eating, you need to make a commitment that it’ll be for the long term. Change your thinking to adopt the mentality that clean foods are your friends and will be around forever.

Here are 5 ways to fuel to lean your body:

1) Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our bodies, so be sure that you’re adding them to your grocery list. However, make sure you’re opting for oatmeal, whole grains, and when it comes to breads I choose Ezekiel, sprouted grain (in the health food section, refrigerated). Note: When choosing your whole grains, be sure to look at the ingredient list on back. “Whole wheat flour” or “100% whole wheat flour” should be the first ingredientand the only flour listed.

2.) Eat often. I feel like I’m eating all the time. I stick to the plan of eating every 2-3 hours. I have breakfast (8:00am), mid-morning snack (11:00am), lunch (2:00pm), afternoon snack (4:30pm) and then dinner (7:00pm). I know that everyone’s schedule is different and it may be hard to make time for 5 meals, so do what works best for you. But keep in mind that it’s important to keep your metabolism revved up and by eating smaller meals, more often, you won’t find yourself starving at meal times. This is also good because it’ll keep you from over eating.

3.) Hydrate. Coffee and soda drinks do not count as ‘water intake’. I know there are many people who say they do, but coffee is a natural diuretic – diuretics, of course, increase the dehydration process. Stick to the real stuff, good old H2O. If you need to spruce it up, add cucumber, mint and lemon to it. You should be drinking enough water so that your urine is very light yellow to almost clear. For most people, enough would be at least half your body weight ounces. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, aim to drink 90 ounces of water.

4.) Consider counting your calories or macros. While this isn’t for everyone, if you’re really serious about cracking down, start counting everything you’re eating. Counting calories used to be all the hype, but more recently people are getting into counting the macronutrients they’re consuming. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, so it’s a more in depth way to look at what you’re consuming. There are a ton of apps you can get on your phone that’ll make this process easier.

5.) Eat REAL food. Stop with the processed junk, low fat this or that, frozen meals, sweetened lattes, etc. You want to get lean? Well, time to clean it up. Eat food that is going to fuel you and fuel your workouts. As a general rule, you basically want to buy food that goes in the fridge and will spoil within a week. Obviously there are exceptions to this (ie: oatmeal, brown rice, peanut butter) but you get my drift. Time to rummage through your cupboards and toss the boxed, canned and frozen meals.

Here’s a list of foods you’re going to want to stock up on:


Chicken Breast/Ground Chicken
Turkey Breast/Ground Turkey
Eggs/Egg Whites
Lean Red Meat

Brown Rice
Sweet Potatoes
Ezekiel Bread**

Greek Yogurt
Cottage Cheese
Unsweetened Almond Milk

All are good

Olive Oil
Natural Peanut Butter (The ingredients on label should simply read: peanuts.
Getting in the habit of eating on a schedule, with the right foods, and completing your workouts will surely speed up your goal of a leaner, more muscular body. These things take time, dedication, patience and most importantly, consistency.

If you have any questions or want some meal plan ideas, shoot me an email at [email protected]. Good luck reaching your goals!

3 thoughts on “Building Lean Muscle”

  1. Great article and a very simple way of explaining clean eating; no junk food here… Eating healthy foods is the true test for a fit lifestyle.


    Lauren & Dean

  2. Good suggestions for those who do not know where to start and need a little help making sense of the egregious amount of information out there; however, I’m inclined to disagree with you when it comes to your dietary suggestions, specifically protein. As someone who has put just as much work and research studying this subject, I think your protein list seems biased and incomplete. Unfortunately, this country tends to rely on animal meats as the major source of protein.

    There are many sources of plant-based proteins that will help a person not only create that lean muscle aesthetic they desire, but also bulk up. I’m not necessarily lobbying for or against a nutrition plan that includes meat; however, I do want to point out that there are other sources of protein comparable or even superior to many animal proteins.

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