If you've done your homework, then perhaps you already know it may seem counterproductive to lose weight and build muscle at the same time.
Research has shown that a caloric deficit is required to lose fat, meaning you must eat fewer calories than your body needs so that fat is used up for energy.
On the other hand, building muscle demands a caloric surplus. This means you have to consume more calories so that your body can build new muscle tissues.
7 Tips To Melt Fat And Build Lean Muscle
When you put these two facts together it can be very easy to become confused. But the good news, is that burning fat and building muscle at the same time is not entirely impossible. All it takes is the right training techniques, proper dieting and a positive attitude.
With that in mind, here are 7 tips for cutting fat and building muscle that will help you achieve a lean and ripped body.
#1: Vary Your Workouts
Cardio exercises like running, jogging, cycling and swimming are great for weight loss. When you start to do these exercises, the body immediately begins to burn carbs for energy.
As you continue with your workout and the primary source of energy supply begins to run low, the body starts to burn fat. While fats are burned during cardio workouts, muscle tissues are not.
However, you need to keep in mind that excessive cardiovascular exercise uses up energy the body requires to build muscle mass (which explains why bodybuilders spend less time on a treadmill or running.)
As a result, you should try to find the right balance when exercising for weight loss and muscle gain. You do this by adding strength training to your routine. Great exercises are the incline, bench press, barbell squats and the deadlift.
A general rule of thumb for those trying to build muscle and lose weight is to alternate between different workouts. This means you should do cardiovascular exercises on a certain day followed by strength training exercises during the next session. With this varied approach, you’ll be exercising for both weight loss and muscle gain.
#2: Make Workouts More Challenging Over Time
During your fat burning/muscle building journey, your body will hit a plateau stage at some point. To avoid stagnant results, you should develop a habit of challenging yourself over time.
Increasing the intensity of your workouts and taking the right supplements will help you burn fat and build muscle at a faster rate. There are several ways to achieve this goal, some of which include:
#3: Balance Your Calories
If you want to achieve any fitness goal, diet plays an important role. Eating for both weight loss and muscle gain can be a bit tricky, but you can pull it off through calorie cycling. What this essentially means is to alternate between high and lower calorie intake to complement your workout schedule.
So, on cardio days you would reduce calories to create the deficit your body needs to dip into fat reserves for energy. However, avoid starving yourself since you’ll not only lack the energy to exercise, but this would also slow down your metabolism.
On the other hand, increasing caloric intake on weight training days will give your body the energy it needs during exercise. It may also be wise to increase protein intake on the days your lifting heavy weights. This allows the body to have all the amino acids it needs for muscle growth and repair during your post-workout recovery period.
#4: Stick with Complex Carbs
Carbohydrates are vital to include in your diet if you plan to build muscle, but they need to be consumed in moderation to avoid disrupting your weight loss efforts. You need carbs to fuel your muscles during strength training and cardio workouts, but eating the wrong carbs will increase your calorie intake and jeopardize weight loss efforts.
To be on the safe side, stick with complex carbs from foods such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, quinoa, and other starchy grains. These foods are rich in fiber, meaning you’ll fill up on less food and thus keep your caloric intake in check.
#5: Get Enough Proteins
It’s common knowledge that proteins contain amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle tissue. If you’re trying to build muscle, nutrition experts recommend increasing your protein intake between 1 and 2 grams per pound of body weight.
Since weight loss is also an important part of your fitness program, go for low fat protein sources to regulate your calorie intake. Whey protein isolate powder is an excellent source. Read our review of the product we recommend.
#6: Keep a Food and Training Journal
Often overlooked, but one of the best ways to remain consistent with your muscle gain and weight loss training program is to keep track of your diet and exercise routine. To meet this goal, keeping a food and training journal to track fat loss is a wise thing to do.
Recording what you eat in a journal is a handy way to ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of protein and complex carbs to build muscle and fuel your body with energy for workouts.
A food journal will help you plan your meals and create the calorie deficit or surplus that is required on different workout days.
For example, in your training journal you can log details such as exercising duration's, reps performed or loads lifted during a previous workout. This allows you to keep track of progress and make adjustments accordingly.
#7: Dedication is Key
Losing weight and building lean muscle mass doesn't happen overnight. You have to be dedicated to the program to see significant results.
A huge part of this involves being in the right frame of mind because willpower can only go so far to help you remain committed to any exercising plan.
Getting moral support from like-minded friends or family members, and telling someone else about your fitness goals is a wise move since you’ll then be accountable to these people in your fitness journey.