Losing fat and building muscle at first glance look to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. One requires reducing calories and increasing activity levels while the other requires increasing calories and changing the activity level. However, when planned properly, these two goals can go hand in hand.
The dieter wanting to lose fat will find a metabolic boost by increasing lean muscle tissue. The lifter wanting to build muscle will see dramatic changes by reducing the muscle-hiding layer of fat. The tips below will help you achieve both goals, simultaneously.
Tips to Lose Fat and Build Muscle Simultaneously
Lift weights to lose weight
Many dieters shy away from weights, but they are essential for building lean muscle tissue which helps boost the resting metabolism. The weight workout also burns calories and by adding in 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular work at the end you will have a solid 60 to 90 minutes of calorie burning, and muscle building activity. The workouts should be intense and focus on the entire body each workout. Additional cardiovascular exercise and abdominal work can be done on the off days between weight workouts.
Hit it hard and fast
High intensity cardiovascular exercise will help build and maintain muscle, while still burning plenty of calories. Interval training, intervals of sprint work interspersed with lower intensity “rest” activity, sprints with minimal rest times, weighted movements (walking, jogging, jumping, etc.) and plyometric exercises with short rest periods are all good examples of high intensity cardio work. It is important to do some longer duration, lower intensity work also, to improve overall cardiovascular health, but mix and match the intensity and durations.
Hit the circuit to electrify your progress
Circuit training is a great boost for both the cardiovascular system and the muscles. Circuit training involves doing the weight exercises back to back with no rest between each exercise. Cardiovascular or plyometric exercises can be interspersed throughout the workout for additional cardiovascular and muscle building benefit. Each exercise can be done for specific number of repetitions or, more commonly, for a set period of time. The intense muscular work in each set along with no rest time between exercises makes this a calorie-burning king, while still providing stimulus for muscle building.
Feed the muscles
The muscles need protein to repair and build new muscle fibers. The muscles use the amino acids from the protein foods we eat. Protein is also the last nutrient to be used for energy or converted to body fat. The body uses the majority of the protein we ingest for muscle repair and building, rebuilding other structural proteins in the body, producing immune factors in the blood, producing hemoglobin, and producing many messenger proteins and hormones. That leaves very little left over, and the body flushes much of this out through the waste system.
Most importantly, eat clean and train hard
The most important tip is the one based on common sense. You must eat a good clean diet of natural foods low in saturated fats and sugars and train hard to build muscle and lose fat. It is not rocket science, but it does take a fair amount of will power and determination. Just buckle down, train hard with the weights, add in some varied intensity cardiovascular exercise, and eat a good clean diet and your fat loss hurdles will be no problem.