Lean Muscle Building Workout Challenge

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This is a 4-Week Workout Challenge focused on building lean muscle. Lean muscle mass helps improve your metabolism, give your body shape, and improve your strength. 
Each Week incorporates 1-2 Days of rest. Rest days are when your muscles build strength. You can choose to add up to 30 minutes of cardio to any of these workouts. Be sure to take at least 1 full rest day per week. 
Listen to your body throughout the month and be sure to stretch. As always, consult your doctor before starting a new fitness routine and/or if you have any health/injury concerns. 
Aim to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of desired weight. IE Goal Weight=135 lbs. Aim to consume 135 grams of protein per day. 
You must consume enough calories to build muscle. Remember, calories are units of energy. You have to consume enough calories to build muscle and power your workouts. 
Have fun!

Week 1:
Slim & Sculpted Arms Workout
10 Minute Tighter Waist Core Workout
30 Minute Home Dumbbell Workout
Lower Body Sculpt & Shape

Week 2:
HIIT Full Body Workout: 20 Minutes Per Round

Arms & Back: Quick Home Workout
Stretches to Improve Flexibility for Splits
21 Minute HIIT: Full Body Workout
HIIT It, Sweat It, Tone It: Workout + Hill Sprints

Week 3:Boot Camp HIIT: 20 Minutes Per Round
Full Body Fitness Makeover
Extreme Sweat: Full Body Home Workout
Tight Stomach Toning Workout
Lower Body Blast: Burn, Shape & Sculpt Workout
Body Weight: Full Length Workout

Week 4:
20 Minute: Core Cardio Fat Burn HIIT
Dynamic Body Workout: 15 Minute HIIT Per Round
Lower Body, Low Impact Workout: Quiet, No Jumping!
Terrific Tummy Toner: 20 Minute Fat Burn HIIT
Working for a Sexy Body Fat Burn
20 Minutes Per Round: Full Body Workout

37 thoughts on “Lean Muscle Building Workout Challenge

  1. Anonymous

    Just started this work out tonight. I did two rounds and I can tell I’ll be sore tomorrow in a good way. I’m very excited to be rebooting my fitness journey with you.

  2. Anonymous

    I strart week 1

    1 day-HIIT Full Body Workout: 20 Minutes Per Round
    2day-Slim & Sculpted Arms Workout
    3day-10 Minute Tighter Waist Core Workout
    4day-30 Minute Home Dumbbell Workout
    5day-Lower Body Sculpt & Shape

    Is this what I have to do?

  3. Anonymous

    I can’t tell you what a difference you are making in the life of a woman who works full-time, commutes 2 hours a day, and has a 2-year-old. I started doing your workouts because they were SHORT & free—and there are so many I never get bored. Plus, you are so relatable and real—yet aspirational too! But in the process I discovered HIIT, and am getting bit “addicted” to it (in a good way). I’ve never felt this way doing other types of exercise. Am at the end of week 3 of this challenge and really feeling a difference inside and out—obviously I feel stronger in general, but I almost feel like I can *feel* my metabolism perking up. I am also noticeably hungrier! I am doing Weight Watchers and sometimes find it impossible to stick to my points. But I’m trying not to beat myself up about it. Am also looking for more lean protein sources, because I can’t ever make it to the target protein intake you recommend. Will probably start supplementing with a high-quality protein powder. Do you recommend that? Anyway, thanks for changing my life (and, hopefully, my body!). You are amazing.

  4. Brittany

    Melissa, Thank you for your workouts! I absolutely love them. I normally workout with Bodyrock.tv and that is where I saw you so I decided to check out your page. I love all your different workouts. They keep me motivated and never BORED! Quick question: what is the brand of the barbell set you are using?

    • benderfitness

      It’s an Olympic Size Barbell with some free weights. The brand is Gold’s Gym. 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying the workouts!

  5. getting stronger every day

    Melissa, I have had multiple lower abdominal surgeries including a hysterectomy and a hernia. How can I safely strengthen my core without getting another hernia? Currently unable to do even 1 situp.

    • benderfitness

      How long ago were your surgeries, and has your doctor cleared you for exercise yet? Most doctors prescribe you exercises to start strengthening your core. After that you can typically move on to isometric exercise like planks to start strengthening.

      The first step is to check with your doctor and get specifics on the types of movements you can and can not do, and get a time frame for when you are cleared for all exercise again. 🙂 I hope you’re feeling better!

  6. Lori

    Hey Melissa,
    I’m a long time bodyrocker and so glad I found you on there, love your website and all your workouts. Lots more variety and challenging me in new ways that BR has not. You are my go to for workouts now! Thanks so much!

  7. Michelle

    Can I do this for more than 4 weeks? Like lets say i do it the whole month of June, can I do it again even in July or it wont work because my body got used to it?

    • benderfitness

      You can repeat it. There are so many workouts incorporated into the challenge that your body will not adjust that quickly. 🙂

  8. Kaylee

    I just recently saw your 10 week challenge through bodyrock, and I’ve been hooked ever since! I wish I would have found your website sooner!! What you do, posting all these amazing workouts, changing them up so you never get “bored” or “Plato” is awesome, not to mention all are free! Your such an inspiration and motivation, thank you!!!

  9. Jeannie

    I just finished this 4 week challenge! I wanted to provide a short review for anyone who might be interested in my experience. I love the format of 4-weeks. I have started some of the 30 day challenges before and always got discouraged if I missed days. I felt like this had more flexibility and it ended up taking me about 5 weeks to complete. It took me a bit longer because during the first week I was very sore and I also wouldn’t do a workout on the days I would go for a run.
    I tracked calories using the loseit app. I loved trying to increase my protein intake! I’m so used to thinking of ‘less’ – fewer calories, less sugar, smaller portions, etc. It was such a nice mental break to think about MORE! That being said I thought it was really difficult to eat 1g protein for desired body weight. On average I was closer to 70-100g/day of protein. Protein sources I used included milk, Greek yogurt, chicken, fish, and protein powder.
    I did not see many physical changes. During weeks 1 & 2 I felt like I was getting a lot stronger and was eager to see results. Weeks 3 & 4 seemed a bit slower. Maybe my motivation had subsided? I’m not sure. I ended up gaining 2 lbs, maybe muscle?! I did not lose any weight.
    Also, I substituted one workout during the last week. Instead of doing “Working for a Sexy Body Fat Burn” I did “15 MINUTE STANDING LOWER BODY EXERCISES: LOW IMPACT: BUTT, THIGHS, LEGS WORKOUT”. I like following along directly with Melissa so that’s why I made the swap.

    My plan is to complete the 4 weeks again and try to maintain my momentum throughout the whole 4 weeks. I’d also like to focus more on nutrition. Although I stayed within my calorie allowance per day it doesn’t mean I always ate healthy.

    Thank you to Melissa for creating all of these amazing free workouts!!

  10. Heather N.

    Thank you for posting these videos. I love doing your workouts. I know you add on some cardio to many of these workouts. I have two little ones at home and have a hard time working out for one large block of time. If I split up my weight and cardio workout, which would you suggest I do in the morning and which should I do in the evening? Thank you again!

    • benderfitness

      You can do it either way! I used to split up my workouts and cardio all the time (my schedule doesn’t allow that anymore). I actually liked to vary the order because it keeps your body from adjusting to just one routine/schedule. That said, if you find that you are more tired after cardio definitely do the weights in the AM. You don’t want to have your form for those exercises compromised, and it’s easier to adjust running pace as needed.

      🙂 You are doing great!

  11. Tiffany

    I just completed week 2 of the lean muscle building workout and I recently started a paleo diet (my acupuncturist recommended). My thighs seem to be bulking up and I would really like to slim down my legs and most of all inner thighs. Do you have any suggestions or particular types of workouts I should be doing? should i be adding cardio after my strength workouts?

  12. Elizabeth

    Hey Melissa can you help me out looking for Guidance on ehta will make my skin hair and nails healthier… Do I need to buy the vitamins or can I get them through eating healthrr an doing your lean muscle building?? Help!

    • benderfitness

      There are a lot of Hair, Skin and Nails supplements out there. From what I have read, Biotin is a good addition, and prenatal vitamins have a lot of great nutrients. I hope that helps!

  13. Luisa Pinto

    Hi Melissa. I need to increase my “muscle mass”, this challenge is a good choice for that?
    I lose a few weight, I want to increase that but I don’t wanna have a tummy again. So, I thinked to start that challenge to help me. What you think? Thanks for support.


    • benderfitness

      This is a great challenge for that goal. This challenge or my 12-week bikini prep program are both focused on building lean muscle mass. 🙂

  14. Rachel

    Hey I’m following the keto diet so do you recommend this challenge for me since I’m not sure I’ll be wasting so much of protein per day? Maybe any of your other challenges might be suitable for me… I’m looking for losing fat and building some muscles. Thanks

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