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:
Bench Press: 345lbs
Clean and Jerk: 305lbs
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.