Build Muscle and Lose Fat

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Logic dictates that either you build muscle and prepare yourself to get a stomach pooch, or lose fat but everything becomes flubby than toned.

While building muscle and losing fat simultaneously may seem impossible, it’s doable.

1. Consider Your Training Weight

If you’re new to resistance or strength training, or are getting started after a break, you shouldn’t have any trouble building muscle and losing fat simultaneously.

However, if you’ve been lifting weights for sometime now but aren’t losing weight and building muscle, it’s time to include heavy compound weightlifting.

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Grab weights and do: squats, bench presses, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and overhead presses. Aim for 3 to 6 sets of 3 to 6 reps, and when in doubt, follow the rule of 20: Keep total reps at or close to 20.

2. Do a Calorie Deficit Diet

A calorie deficit is the number of calories you need in a day to lose weight. A calorie requirement are the calories you need to keep your weight.

You don’t want a too large calorie deficit. This will impact your body’s ability to gain muscle mass.

Do a moderate (20-25 percent) calorie deficit.

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To calculate, first figure out your basal metabolic rate and put this into a calorie deficit calculator.

3. Focus on Strength Training

Focus on heavy compound weightlifting for best results in muscle growth (hypertrophy).

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Utilise all major muscle groups while working at 80-85 percent of your 1RM (1 repetition maximum). This equates to 4-7 reps.

4. Choose HIIT for Your Cardio

Balance your strength training with exercises that raises your heart rate.

Sprinting outdoors or on a treadmill and cycling are ideal forms of HIIT cardio which should get done on weight training off days, 2-3 times per week.

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This type of cardio has intense periods of work with short recovery segments. This makes the body burn fat even after you finish.

5. Switch Up Your Training

Your body becomes used to the exercises and intensity you are doing and so to make continual gains, you need to change your program Change your training program every 4-6 weeks.

You can do this by increasing the intensity of your training sessions to change rest periods, vary the load, increase the speed of movement and progress from isolated to compound movements and exercises.

6. Eat a Varied, Whole Food Diet

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To optimise your training, eating a balanced, varied and healthy diet is important.

Here’s a sample:

Breakfast: Triple Berry Medley Smoothie

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 banana

1/2 cup high-fiber cereal

1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 cup 1% or skim milk

1 scoop whey protein powder

1/2 cup ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

Lunch: Tropical Chicken Salad

1 large cooked chicken breast, shredded

1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup pineapple

1/3rd cup mango

2 Tbsp chopped water chestnuts

2 cups spinach

1-ounce almonds

A few slices of avocado

Serve with high-fiber whole-wheat crackers.

Dinner: Shrimp Stir-Fry

1/2 lb cooked shrimp

1/2 bag mixed frozen stir-fry vegetables

2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste

7. Have Rest Days and Sleep Well

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Enough sleep lets your body to rest and repair any damage done to muscle tissues (very common when lifting).

Muscle soreness is common, but if you don’t rest appropriately you are at more risk of injury or burnout, putting a hindrance in your training and results.