Gaining muscle and losing weight is a goal many people are after. I found that it’s a matter of perspective that a lot of people fail to see. See, weight is a funny thing. It’s a parameter we’re all obsessing about. Why is that?
Weight is just a number
It’s true! What’s more important is what the weight consists of. Is it water retention? Maybe muscle? Could it be fat? You don’t know it if you don’t measure! What I’d recommend anyone who is trying to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time, is to buy yourself a skin fold caliper. Using one of these will tell you the fat percentage of your body.
Hear me out.
When you’re trying to build muscle, your body will eventually grow. Growth means more mass, which means a higher weight. Is that bad? No, because it’s muscle tissue, and muscle tissue is heavier than fat tissue! Now let’s say you’re measuring your body fat percentage with a skin fold caliper. It turns out to be 17% and your body weight is 135lbs. It is entirely possible that your body fat percentage will drop to, let’s say 13%, while your body weight increases to 140lbs. Without a skin fold caliper or some other kind of body fat measuring device, you will never know whether the increase in body weight comes from fatty tissues or an increase in muscle mass.
See what I’m getting at? Weight in itself is just a number!
So does that mean that it’s impossible to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time? No, and I’ll tell you how!
Fix Your Nutrition
As discussed in previous articles, nutrition is very important when it comes to gaining strength and building muscle. Bad eating habits may result in higher fat percentages and thus a higher body weight. In order to lose fat, it’s important to fix your eating habits.
For this step, you must be honest with yourself.
Identify all foods and drinks that contain a high amount of calories and sugars. We’re talking alcohol, processed foods, deep-fried foods, chips, fries, white bread, soft drinks et cetera. Try to replace these foods with healthier alternatives such as whole grains, nuts, fish, oats, vegetables, fruits and the like. This way, your calorie intake will decrease, which is what you need in order to burn fats more effectively.
This does not mean you’re not allowed any of the unhealthy foods, but keep in mind that if you want to lose weight and fat, you’ll have to work for it.
Another great way to lose fat, is to consume foods that make you feel full. I’m talking broccoli, spinach, cucumber and oats. It also helps to drink water with your meals as it will fill up your stomach, without resulting in a caloric surplus.
Go to the Gym
You probably already guessed that you need to do some exercise in order for you to build any kind of muscle. Here’s what I probably haven’t told you yet.
Muscle tissues are metabolically active.
This means that they’ll burn up calories, even while you’re sitting on the couch. The more muscles you have, the higher your base metabolic rate. How do you get more muscle mass? That’s right, you go to the gym and you lift some weights. Exercises that build muscle and burn the most calories include compound movements, such as the Deadlift and the Bench Press. Big movements like these will make sure your testosterone levels will increase, which in turn results in more fat tissue being burned up.
In one of my previous articles, I discussed a few easy exercises that will increase your strength and build muscle at the same. Please keep in mind that it will take time before you see results. I’ve said it before and I’ll do it again: be patient. Don’t blindly stare into the horizon. Focus on the prey.
Cardio is a branch of workouts that a lot of people tend to forget. I did too, once. If you really want to go the extra mile and burn that belly fat even faster, I’d recommend a short 30 minutes cardio workout after your strength workouts. Exercises burn carbs, so when you’re done weightlifting, your body doesn’t have any fuel left.
Or does it?
When the body is depleted of carbohydrates, it is going to burn the next ‘weakest’ kind of molecules that’s available. This is when you’re able to burn pure fat and that is what you want. Not only will you burn fat directly, but you’ll also increase your base metabolic rate, which in turn lets your body burn even more calories while inactive.
Not only will cardio increase your base metabolic rate, but it’s also very good for the heart. In time, it won’t need to beat as hard to provide your body with oxygen. This means that the body’s efficiency is increasing, which is a good thing.
All in all, I’d recommend anyone to do cardio at least three times a week, even if you’re satisfied with your weight and fat percentage.
Building muscle and losing weight is difficult, but not impossible. A good thing to keep in mind is that weight is only a number. What really matters, is what that weight consists of. Your weight might not drop as radically as you’d hope for, but when you’re losing fat and working out at the same time, you will see results. Losing fat makes muscles more defined, which in turn motivates you to go even further. If you want your base metabolic rate to increase even further, just implement some cardio after your strength workout. Finally, lowering the amount of calories and carbohydrates will make your body burn other types of fuel, like fat tissues.
Now go and get to it! I know you have it in you. It might not be as easy as you want to get the results, but you need to have faith in yourself and keep going.
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