How To Lose Fat And Gain Muscle

Here is the easy part: losing fat and putting on muscle when you are overweight and under-fit. Just about any slight change in your lifestyle will help.

Cut back on saturated fats, calories from junk food, and eat more vegetables. Consume lean protein and grains. Drink more water and quit guzzling pop or beer.

Pick up the pace: park two blocks from work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and even start walking twenty minutes daily. You are certain to shed fat and put on a bit of muscle in your legs and buttocks though not much.

Really Lose Fat and Seriously Gain Muscle

The man or woman who has reached a goal weight or is already athletic often says he can’t shed those last few pounds or has a hard time bulking up in the right places. What is the problem here? A diet high in healthy carbohydrates with some lean protein is excellent for a runner or cyclist, but not for a bodybuilder.

When you swap out some of those carbs for protein and select foods carefully then add more resistance training to the routine, you inevitably build extra muscle density wherever you concentrate your efforts.

This is especially true if weight-lifting or resistance training is an area where your routine is lacking. As a result of these improvements, you will shed fat just by gaining muscle because muscle burns fat.

Feeling Stuck

What about someone who seems to be doing all of this already and is focusing on weight lifting and resistance rather than cardio? How come he can’t bulk up anymore? Where is this plateau coming from? He is probably suffering from a catabolic reaction. If the word sounds unfamiliar yet familiar at the same time, that’s because it is related to the word “metabolic” referring to a life-giving mechanism in the body.

The much maligned metabolism determines when to burn fuel and when to store it, how quickly or slowly, and creates the necessary internal body temperature for good health. Overweight people usually blame their metabolism which takes fuel from the easiest sources: blood sugar and muscle, not fat. A body generally lays down fat for emergencies and is reluctant to be rid of it just in case there are lean times ahead. A catabolic reaction leads to muscle being consumed because food is not provided for fuel.

Metabolic Mania

Your metabolism keeps burning fuel after a workout, continuing to burn calories like a cyclist riding downhill. She stops peddling yet picks up speed before coming to a stop when the energy runs out.

If you forget to eat after working out, your metabolic system will turn to the next easiest source of energy: muscle. Ironically, the muscle tissue you just started laying down as a result of lifting weights and doing push-ups could provide the fuel to repair tissue strained during that workout and to power your heart as it recovers.

Eating to Workout

That’s why a diet that helps you lose fat and gain muscle has to start with lean, dense protein and also finish with protein and carbohydrates. The best proteins are whey, eggs, lean poultry, and fish. Some plant sources are also very good if you are vegan such as brown rice, soy, or hemp protein powders.

After a workout is completed, eat as soon as you can, selecting a carb-dense dish like pasta with meatballs: not too much, though; just enough to replenish what you lost. Drink lots of water too.

Assuming your routine is effective (pushing muscles to failure and making your heart pump; altering intensity seemingly at random and shaking up your workout regularly to fool your metabolism so it won’t get lazy), your muscles should become bulkier. When you carry more muscle around, you can’t help but burn fat, even when you aren’t doing anything but reading a book or watching TV. Even at rest the fat melts away.

How To Lose Fat And Gain Muscle
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Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He's a fierce competitor and brings his "hustle and muscle" mentality to our editorial team.