Everyone has a different reason why the want to lose fat not muscle and even build up their muscle mass.
Perhaps you have a dream of participating in a bodybuilding competition, or you may want to please your wife with a strong set of biceps, or your husband with a firm tummy, or like most people maybe you just want to add some definition to your body, firm up your muscles and lose some of that fat that’s been plaguing you for years. No matter what your reason is, the following 7 principles will help you to burn fat build muscle and transform your body from wherever it is now to where you want it to be:
Tip 1 – Follow A Proper Schedule
Hit the gym regularly. Make a proper schedule and train accordingly. However it is best to start gradually. Perform 3 full-body work outs per week and slowly increase the frequency, duration and intensity. Consult a fitness trainer if necessary.
Tip 2 – Choose What You Eat
Carbohydrates are the fuel for your exercise. When you exercise in the gym, you burn calories. Food like cereals, and nuts are packed with calories. Eat such energy dense foods to replenish your lost calories.
An average adult human needs 2500 calories per day in his diet. For those who work out, the calorie requirement may be as high as 4500 calories per day. To meet such a high requirement, it is advisable to eat small but frequent meals. It may be difficult to digest 3 meals of 1500 calories each, but eating 6 small meals of 750 calories each is more feasible.
Muscles are made up of muscle fibers, which in turn are made up of proteins. To increase your muscle mass, your diet should have an adequate protein content. Roughly, your diet should include 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight. So if you weigh 170 pounds, try to include 170 grams of protein in your diet per day. Foods like fish, pulses, beans, eggs, meat, milk and other dairy products are rich in proteins. Carbohydrates and fats can give you energy to perform workouts but only protein helps to build the muscles! And when it comes to burning fat, your growing muscles will metabolize the fat on your body as well.
See our article about choosing a good fat loss meal plan.
Tip 3 – Give Your Body a Proper Recovery
Beginners need more recovery than pros. Sleep for at least 8 hours every day. Sleep is the time when Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released. HGH is is necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, especially muscles. Give your body proper rest. Muscles grow when you rest, not when you work out. Do not over train. Over-training will eventually burn out your motivation to exercise as well as your muscles. Taking a couple of days off after a week full of grueling workouts will help you pack up mass.
Tip 4 – Train Properly
If you hit the gym with the purpose of gaining muscle mass, use free weights for training. Do not make machines the focus of your training. Using free weights is more natural, efficient and versatile compared to machines. Progressively increase the weights. Focus on your body as a whole, not just on a specific group of muscles. Do compound exercises that help you build more than one muscle group at a time.
Tip 5 – Types of Exercises
Cardio exercises are an effective way to lose fat not muscle, while improving the health of your heart and lungs. This can be done by using a treadmill or engaging in sprinting and jogging exercises. It is best to establish a routine, but diversification is important. There are several other types of exercises and workouts you could try out. Squats, chest press, shoulder press, dead-lifts, pull-ups and pull-downs are just a few of them.
Tip 6 – Do Not Forget Water and Supplements
70% of our body weight is made up of water. So do not underestimate its importance. Keep yourself hydrated at all times, and more so during workouts. The water requirement in milliliters is approximately equal to the number of calories that you are consuming, so you can have a rough idea about how much water you need to keep your body hydrated. Proper water intake also aids in the removal of toxic metabolic products from the tissues and helps kidneys to excrete such products effectively.
Apart from eating a healthy diet, it is also necessary to augment your diet with vitamins, minerals and other supplements. For example, Vitamin C and E, Selenium, Glutathione and Glutamine act as antioxidants and minimize the free radical damage that may be caused by workouts.
In addition to these nutrients, Creatine may also be used in moderate quantity (1mg per kg of body weight per day) by those who wish to gain mass quickly. However, overzealous use of Creatine may lead to kidney damage so it is wise to consult a medical practitioner before using Creatine.
Tip 7 – Be Consistent
Consistency is the key. You may have the best training instructor, the best diet, and the best gym equipment. But it is all worthless if you are not consistent with your training. Persist and do not stop until you’ve lost the fat and built the muscles you want.
For a beginner, building muscle mass may initially seem like a hard task but with proper planning, training and guidance and some personal diligence, you CAN burn fat build muscle and have the body and health you desire.
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