How Can Men Gain Lean Muscle Mass Without Gaining Body Fat?

Question: How can men gain lean muscle mass without gaining body fat?

Answer: If a person's goal is to gain lean muscle mass, and obviously you don't want to gain body fat, the first key, above and beyond anything else, is you've got to strength train. You have to have that resistance training, that strength training so you're challenging your muscles to actually have them grow if you're gonna gain muscle mass -- so key.

A lot of people start increasing their protein intake, they start increasing their calories. But if you've not lifted the weights, those extra calories are gonna be stored as body fat. So you want to add slight amount of calories, maybe an extra 500 or 1,000 calories a day. Anything more than that [and] your body's not going be able to translate that into muscle repair, muscle recovery and then muscle growth.

So if you're adding in 2,000 or more calories, even if it's from mostly protein, you're going to store it as body fat. It's only one to bump your calories up 500 maybe 1,000 and you want to look at spacing it in and around your workout, putting those calories where it matters, before your workout for energy, during your workout -- whether it's in a sports drink or a protein drink -- and then immediately after your workout for recovery. And then throughout the day, of course, space a little bit more. But you don't want to load a backload of calories into your dinner. You don't want to load a bunch in at lunch. Make it count around your workouts and then space the rest of it evenly throughout your day.

Molly Kimball, R.D., Ochsners Elmwood Fitness CenterPlay