Muscle is hard to build and easy to lose; fat is easy to accumulate and hard to lose. In many respects, muscle gain and fat loss would appear to be opposing goals. That’s why bodybuilders will obsessively bulk all winter, before cutting in time for summer to strip away fat and reveal the lean muscle underneath. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There’s a better way – one that doesn’t involve resorting to dietary extremes. Follow these steps to pack on muscle while maintaining a lean physique all year round.
Fundamentals of fat loss and muscle gain
Altering your body composition to increase muscle and reduce fat ultimately comes down to four factors: diet, training, supplementation and sleep. The latter pair should be easy to control; diet and training are the big two that must be mastered if you’re to see results.
Eat healthily, eat sustainably
Instead of yo-yoing between calorie surpluses and deficits, your goal should be to adhere to a sustainable diet. This doesn’t mean rigidly counting calories and weighing out portions: eating is meant to be enjoyable after all. Unfortunately, in their quest to shed fat, many people try to cut too many calories, leaving them low on energy and susceptible to unhealthy cravings.
The amount of muscle and fat in your body is determined by the quality of food you eat. Aim to consume a variety of healthy foods each day that will supply you with good sources of protein, carbs and fats. Develop a diet around the following:
- High protein sources including chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts and whey protein
- Healthy fats including seeds, coconut oil, salmon and avocado
- Complex carbs such as oats, sweet potato and wholegrain rice
- Fibrous vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and spinach
- Moderate amounts of fresh fruit
Protein is the single most important thing here: aim to consume around 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight each day. Protein’s ability to build muscle and ward off hunger makes it ideal for adding lean muscle mass while simultaneously shedding fat. Make a Healthy Whey shake your go-to snack between meals – its low-calorie, high-protein blend will aid recovery and defer hunger till mealtime.
Up the weights, limit the cardio
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to burn fat is going overboard on the cardio. This is inadvisable for two reasons. Firstly, excessive cardio won’t just burn fat – it will also cut into the muscle you’re working so hard to develop. Secondly, hitting the treadmill too often or for too long will lengthen your recovery time, diminishing your ability to lift weights and build muscle.
Swap the steady state cardio for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT’s reliance on bursts of intensive exercise followed by short rest periods is perfect for burning fat without diminishing muscle tissue. Try using Adrian James High Intensity Interval Training twice a week. The app’s exercises will boost your cardiovascular endurance and burn fat without exhausting all of your time and energy.
With cardio taken care of, all that’s left to address is the muscle-building part of your fitness plan. Train using weights 4-5 times a week at a moderate intensity, keeping your rest period between sets to under 60 seconds. Take at least two rest days during the week, preferably not on consecutive days. This will allow your body time to recover and grow new muscle.
Don’t neglect your sleep and supps
As mentioned at the outset, sleep is crucial. People who get less than eight hours’ rest each night are more susceptible to storing excess fat. A solid night’s sleep is essential if you’re to build muscle and wake up feeling energised.
Finally, smart supplementation can help you achieve your fitness goals quickly and safely. To develop a lean, muscular physique, try Thermoblaze. Three capsules a day will gently raise your metabolism, helping your body burn more calories and supplying the energy you need to train harder.
Fat loss and muscle gain aren’t end goals: they’re a way of life. Follow a healthy, high-protein diet, train hard, get enough rest and you’ll start to see visible results as your body grows in all the right places.