Building Lean Muscle Mass with Protein

What if I told you that most dieting myths of the past 20 years have already been scientifically debunked? Would you believe me if I said that fat doesn’t make you fat, diet sodas and zero-calorie sweeteners actually lead to greater weight GAIN, and carbohydrates are often not your friends? Chance are, you might feel a little depressed, especially if you have some weight to lose. If those classic tidbits of diet advice are worthless, what CAN help you slim down and shape up? Are you simply doomed to a life of size 14 jeans and a one-piece bathing suit, or a perpetual beer belly if you’re a guy?

Take heart, dieters of the 21st century! Lean muscle mass is the way to go when it comes to burning off extra fat. A pound of muscle burns almost 350 calories more per week than the same pound of fat, which means that over time increased muscle mass will actually eat away at your fat stores (assuming you’re not overeating). This can result in a loss of up to 5 lb of fat per year – and trust me, losing 20 pounds of FAT is quite different than losing 20 pounds of weight. On a traditional, high-carbohydrate reduced calorie diet, only a third or fourth of weight lost by dieters comes from fat – the rest results from muscle or water loss. In extremely low calorie diets additional weight may also be lost from organs and bones – NOT what you want! Getting skinny this way also doesn’t take care of your cellulite – it’s possible to weigh 115 pounds and still be flabby. Fat loss is FAR more important than weight loss, and when you build muscle, you’ll lose fat.

So what does it take to build this fabulous lean muscle? Well, let’s go into some science real quick – muscle is composed of glycogen, a type of protein. While glycogen stores are replenished in a variety of ways, the most important nutrient requirement is obvious: PROTEIN! If you want to build muscle, you’ll need to have a good source of protein. Meat-eating dieters can most likely get by on animal products, but a vegetarian or serious body-builder will definitely want to invest in a high quality whey protein powder. The best natural protein supplements will go by the name whey protein isolate; soy and rice protein powder is also available, but these sources are more highly refined.

If you reduce your intake of carbohydrates, get plenty of natural protein via a high protein diet, and train your muscles 2-3x a week, you WILL see those pounds slide off – and you won’t have been fooled by those crazy diet myths from the 80’s!

Part-time fashion photographer Ara Hovsepian knows how important it is to look good on the beach and in front of the camera – but he believes that health is the most crucial part of looking hot! For more info on protein powder and other health supplements, visit