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Lee Boyce Reveals His Top Muscle Building Tips

By Marc Perry / October 14, 2016

Lee Boyce is a Toronto based strength coach and fitness writer who is fast rising in the fitness industry. In an interview we did last year with Lee, he described his general exercise and nutrition philosophy. In this interview, I wanted to focus on one particular topic – building muscle.

You may notice from the photo to the right that Lee is a big dude. On BuiltLean, of the 500+ articles we’ve published so far, few specifically cover muscle building. That’s why I wanted to pick Lee’s brain about how he was able to build so much muscle and how he helps his training clients bulk up.

Here are Lee’s stats:

Height: 6’4″
Weight: 251lbs
Deadlift: 525lbs
Squat: 420lbs
Bench Press: 345lbs
Clean and Jerk: 305lbs
Snatch: 235lbs
Biceps: 18″

To learn more about Lee, you can check out his website at www.leeboycetraining.com, follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lee.boyce.52, and also Twitter @coachleeboyce.
I hope you enjoy the interview and feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment.

Muscle Building Nutrition

1. How much protein do you recommend people eat to build muscle?

I’d recommend matching, or exceeding, the 1 gram per pound ratio of protein to bodyweight – if you weigh 180 lbs, try to consume 180g of protein, minimum per day – and you can expect to see your muscles grow.

2. Are there any muscle-building supplements you recommend?

I’m not a big supplement guy, so I don’t really have much to say on this one. I believe that guys who are newer to exercise will really benefit from working hard and building a solid foundation as naturally as possible. That means eating large, balanced meals and not relying on supplements to get your calories or major nutrients in.

3. Do you have a favorite protein shake recipe to build muscle?

See above – nope!

4. Any general thoughts on eating to build muscle?

The main tip I can give is: don’t be afraid of eating carbs. If you’re young and skinny, your muscles will likely be more sensitive to insulin (which transports glucose to both muscle and fat cells), especially after workouts. With that said, having carbs at mealtime can actually assist your bulk. Any body fat you add for your bulk can be cut down after you finish.

Muscle Building Exercise

5. What are your top 3 favorite muscle building exercises?

The deadlift, the squat, and the pull up. All 3 are compound movements that make the posterior chain work hard, plus they promote hormone release.

6. Do you think a body part split, or full body workout is best for building muscle?

It really depends on the maturity level of the lifter. With newbies I always go total body because their bodies will grow and respond well to the hormone release and spinal loading. As you start developing size and also experience in the gym, switching things up to a body part split would be the way to go, to add more volume to your workouts and focus on a bodybuilding style template.

7. Do you have an opinion on rep ranges for optimal muscle building?

For most muscle groups, I’d recommend a rep range between 8 and 12. I’d focus on the lower end for most pushing exercises, and towards the high end for pulling exercises. In general each group of muscles tends to respond well from these parameters.

8. Do you recommend cardio while trying to build muscle? How many times per week?

Unless you’re looking to slow your rate of change, I don’t recommend cardio while bulking. There’s nothing anabolic about it.


9. What are the biggest mistakes you see most people make when trying to build muscle?

The first one that comes to mind would be not using full range of motion. I’ve seen too many gym goers slap 225 on the bench press, and then pump out a set of 10 quarter-range reps. I wish they’d understand that the weight doesn’t matter – exhausting the muscle through complete range does!

Second, not eating nearly enough food. If you’re a hardgainer, you have to eat like a pig to see results from your hard work. You have to eat as much as a guy the size you want to be would eat. Don’t be afraid to throw in a dirty meal or three, to get your calorie count up.

10. Anything else you would like to add?

Actually, yes – be patient and stay positive. Results don’t come overnight, and a two month program may give you a few gains, but nothing crazy. Spend your time in the trenches earning your stripes, and you’ll be glad you did.


  • Lee says:

    Full respect to this guy for looking as he does but I really don't agree with his philosophies. I spent a lot of time doing what he recommends - training very hard and throwing food down my neck. Yes I got stronger and built some muscle, but I also got fat. There is a limit to how much muscle your body can build in any given time frame. Eating over and beyond that is pointless in my opinion, not to mention not very good for you! I guess ultimately its about body image and these days I much prefer the builtlean view on keeping body fat down and looking lean and athletic, rather than having a load of muscle mass that nobody can see...

    • Colleen Trudel says:

      Lee, I question what you were eating. I agree that too much carbs is not good. But I also think that there is no rule on to much protein. I am wondering if you took the carb load to much. My rule has always been on weight days match my protein/carb intake and on none workout days lower my carbs. I look to eat 30 grams of protein every meal. 6 to 7 per day. Following this I have been able to lose the fat, increase my muscles and Strength.

      • Lee says:

        My issue isn't really with the macro breakdown, more with the overall calorie intake. As for questioning what I was eating, it's of no relevance...see the article in question. Other than making sure of enough protein he is essentially advocating eating whatever you want to get the calories in. In my opinion this is fine if the goal is simply to add muscle with no concern for body fat, but for me it's not the way to go. The whole 'bulk then cut' idea is a risky game to get into. Putting fat on has long term implications when looking to be lean further down the line. Also, your rule of carb cycling and protein intake may have worked but isn't in any way what is being advised in the article anyway.

  • Omar says:

    Hi Marc, I have some questions, first of all, do I need to gain muscle to get ripped? I've lost more than 35 pounds, and now I can see a silhouette of my six-pack, but I think that losing more weight would make me skinny rather than ripped! (I weigh 155 lb, and I'm 5'10") so should I continue losing fat or change to gaining muscle? and in case I need to gain muscle, is it true that I need to eat 3500+ calories a day to do that?! that seems to much for me! I mean, that would be at least 750 calories over the daily calorie requirement! and since it takes the body almost a month to gain about 1 pound of muscle does that mean that the body needs about 22500 calories a month to build that much of muscle?

  • George Godin says:

    Hi Marc!

    I have enjoyed reading this article of yours. You did a great job interviewing Lee. Anyway, I really didn't know that the deadlift, squat, as well as pull up promote hormone release. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @George - I think that would make a great article - to explore what the research says about specific strength training exercises and hormone release.

  • Sree says:


    As usual a great article. As you pointed out, Built Lean does not focus a lot on muscle building articles. Having gone through the program, I've lost fat effectively and learnt a lot of things!. Your philosophy calls for a lot of clean eating with "smart" workouts, while Lee's recommendations call for eating hefty portions of food. He also recommends against cardio while building up, any comments here?

    Also, I've been struggling to eat food to grow after the program as i'm always conscious now! Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      ...and I'm very happy to hear you got solid results with the BuiltLean Program. I'm working VERY hard on BuiltLean 2.0 and there will be an entire module on muscle building. You will get all the new stuff for free because you are an existing customer.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Sree - In the context of this article, Lee was gearing it more towards someone who is newer to lifting, or a hard gainer. I think it is possible to gain muscle without gaining too much fat for a seasoned lifter primarily by increasing workout volume (i.e. the number of sets per muscle group) and upping calories and protein. I also like to measure body parts versus rely on the scale too much. For example, if someone wants to build muscle, picking an arbitrary number like 10 pounds, is well, arbitrary. I think it makes more sense to add girth to your muscles than pick a certain amount of muscle weight out of thin air. I just sent a feedback form to our email list and I'm surprised that nearly 50% of respondents said they are very interested in building muscle, so we will certainly have more muscle building articles.

  • Bazza says:

    I think it's very important to understand that there's no "one size fits all" approach to building or leaning. Much of your success will come from understanding and complementing your genetic disposition. I agree with Lee that higher protein and carb intakes are necessary to make big muscle gains, but the exact split will change depending on the individual. I would encourage anyone looking to gain more from their nutrition to play with the macro nutrient split and monitor the results closely. Increase protein for a couple of weeks, see what happens. Still collecting unwanted fat? Try reducing carbs or fats a little, monitor the changes. I used to think carbs were the enemy until I knuckled down and put some time and effort into my food intake. In my case, fats were the issue, and by cutting back my fat intake and changing little else, I started getting the results I wanted. Knowledge, curiosity and determination - when applied together - often yield surprising results.