When you find yourself discouraged in your efforts to build muscle and lose fat, the problem may come from a lot of areas, but the first two to look at are your diet and exercise program. Your diet may not be right for you or your exercise program may need to be refined. That fit, muscular chiseled looks requires both building muscle tissue and removing the fat that hides it. Getting the right combination of healthy eating and a workout that focuses on problem areas will give you the fastest results.
Take a look at your workout program.
If your workout consists mainly of cardio, you’ve identified the problem immediately. While cardio will help you shed calories, those calories you burn come from both lean muscle tissue and fat. That means you’ll actually be losing muscle tissue every time you workout. Not only does that sabotage your program to build muscle, it actually slows the progress for burning fat, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. Using complex strength building exercises that work several muscles and joints combined into an interval training program will keep and build muscle tissue while burning tons of fat.
You can get too much of a good thing.
So you’ve increased your strength training to every day and lengthened the time doing the workout, but you’re not seeing the results you want and even feel like you’re sliding backward! You may be over-training or simply eating a diet that’s far too low in calories to accommodate the increased workouts. It can mean there’s no available glycogen that you need for rebuilding muscles. You need to keep lifting to three times a week to maintain the muscles you have, while shedding the extra fat, Once you’ve lost the weight, it’s time to work on building muscles. Over-training can slow progress.
The kitchen is where the true magic takes place.
Honestly, I’ve had clients who are in the middle of a serious discussion about how tough it is to lose weight, as they whip out a bag of chips and crunch them between their woebegone sentences about all the effort they put forth. They don’t realize how much diet affects their progress. Clean eating is a top priority when you want to shed fat and build muscle. You need approximately 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Don’t eliminate healthy fat, either. Healthy fat should be about 20 percent of your calorie intake and come from nuts and other healthy sources, like avocados. The balance should be complex carbs.
- You need to maintain hydration throughout your day, but especially when you workout. Drinking water helps prevent hunger, boosts your energy and aids in flushing out toxins.
- Eat your carbs earlier in the day, so you have time to burn them off and they don’t go toward stored energy—fat. Three hours before you workout, eating carbs can be good, especially if you’re doing strength training.
- Your first priority is always to maintaining muscle mass while you lose fat. If you have extra layers of fat, no matter how much you workout, nobody will see it.
- One often overlooked training area is getting adequate sleep, especially when losing weight and building muscle tissue is important. The body uses sleep time to repair muscles—which is when they grow—and inadequate sleep can affect the balance of the hunger/satiety hormones, making weight loss tougher.