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How Do You Measure Muscle Gain?

By Amanda Reck / December 18, 2018

Do you know how to measure how much muscle you are gaining or how much fat you are losing? Should you eat fruit if you are trying to lose fat? Although fruit is a whole food filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it’s a controversial food in the fitness world. This week we answer these questions and more in our Q&A weekly roundup.

  1. How do you measure muscle gain?
  2. How can I correct hunchback posture?
  3. What cardio should I do after lifting?
  4. Is Fruit Bad For Fat Loss?
  5. Can I workout 5x per week on the BuiltLean Program?

Question #1 – How do you measure muscle gain?

Question: I noticed in some of the testimonials that “muscle weight gained” was measured. How in the world is that calculated? I have struggled to lose weight. The scale doesn’t reflect a large loss although I have lost 3 clothing sizes. So I assume I am gaining muscle mass. Also, your guide book was really informative– I didn’t know it isn’t advisable to focus on losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. – Laura
Answer: “Muscle weight gain” can be measured by tracking your lean body mass (LBM) over time. Lean body mass is everything in your body besides fat; bones, organs, muscle, water etc. In order to calculate LBM, you need your body fat percentage measurement (See 5 Ways to Measure Body Fat Percentage). For example, if you weight 135lb and have 25% body fat, that means you have 27lb of fat and 108lb of LBM. Then over time you can track your LBM. If you have lost three clothing sizes, then you are likely losing body fat and making improvements in your body composition. For more information, check out this article and video on Lean Body Mass.

Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT, Community Manager)

Question #2 – How can I correct hunchback posture?

Question: I’m 16 and I’ve had a hunchback for about 6 years now. I have immense back pain to the point where I can’t do much ab workout or my back hurts, and virtually no shoulder pain at all. Wherever I look I see that a hunchback is caused by your shoulders – could you maybe help me out? – Dee
Answer: Hey Dee, Because you have back pain associated with poor posture, you should absolutely get checked out by a physical therapist or a corrective exercise specialist before beginning an exercise program. You will need a combination of SMFR/stretching and strengthening to correct poor posture. As for ab workouts, crunches and sit-ups make hunchback posture worse and put a lot of pressure on the spine. Focus on planks and back extension exercises rather than crunches. For some specific exercises, check out “How to Correct Rounded Shoulders From Office Work.” Hope that helps! Good luck!

– Kristin (Kristin, CPT, CHC)

Question #3 – What cardio should I do after lifting?

Question: What kind of cardio do you recommend after superset workout? Would 10 min body weight interval training work? Thanks! – Grenville
Answer: Hey Grenville, I would recommend sticking with the same modality of exercise for your interval training workouts for at least a couple weeks, and making each interval training workout harder than the last one. So for example, if you do sprints on a treadmill, do that for a couple of weeks and increase the intensity/duration over time.

Here are a few you can do in order of intensity and depending on your fitness level:

  1. Sprinting uphill
  2. Sprinting outside
  3. Running on a treadmill
  4. Jumping Rope
  5. Elliptical
  6. Stationary Bike
  7. Stationary Rowing

You can also consider metabolic conditioning circuit like here at the end of the workout as well => http://www.builtlean.com/2011/03/24/metabolic-conditioning-circuit-for-burning-fat/. The key, again, is consistency and increasing the intensity. Progression is the name of the game when it comes to the BuiltLean Program! Always pushing your body and making it better.


Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

Question #4 – Is Fruit Bad For Fat Loss?

Question: Hi John,
I have a question regarding tip #1 about fructose.
Some Paleo enthusiasts insist we were never meant to eat fruit, but there are other sites where raw fruits and veggie enthusiasts insist they can eat fruit all day with no ill effects…I’m just wondering if I’m screwing up my liver or leptin sensitivity in the long run. – U.C.
Answer: Leptin resistance from fructose, and really all ills due to fructose intake, are due to over consumption of fructose. People will vary in their sensitivity to fructose intake, based on whether or not they’re over-eating, if they’re over-weight and how damaged their glucose receptors are. With that said, most people should be able to consume 1-2 pieces of fruit a day without any issues, with some people being able to consume more without any issues. My recommendation was to avoid sugar and high fructose corn syrup (or really any sweeteners with high fructose, ranging from agave nectar to over-consumption of honey). For example, a piece of fruit will have anywhere between 2-6 grams of fructose, but a soda will have over 20 grams of fructose (the other sugar in it is glucose at a 55/45% ratio for most). Therefore, your occasional “splurge” on a piece of fruit should be fine. Hope that helps.

John ( John Leyva, CSCS, CPT)

Question #5 – Can I workout 5x per week on the BuiltLean Program?

Question: Can I workout 5x per week on the BuiltLean Program? I know the program only requires 3 workouts per week. – Mitesh
Answer: Super happy to hear you are enjoying the site! You absolutely can workout 5 days per week while on the BuiltLean Program, but I do not advise lifting any more than the 3 days prescribed. So just to be clear, it’s a maximum of 3 lifting days per week. The other two days you can do HIIT, play a sport, boxing, yoga, basically activities other than intense lifting. The reason is that the body needs rest from intense metabolic types of exercises. In addition, if you are working out 5 days per week, you should pay special attention to getting enough sleep, stretching, and doing some foam rolling if possible to keep your muscles healthy. If you have any other questions, please let me know!

Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)