In concept, pretty much all of us believe at one point or another that the fit life is for us and that we’re capable of becoming muscle-motivated, low-fat percentage-boasting badasses.
We might catch ourselves in a particularly good mood one day—most likely with a full belly—and think: “This week/month/year is the time where I really take that next step in my fitness journey.”
Generally speaking, many of us now know the basics of how to build muscle and burn fat. We train hard and eat well—easy rules to abide by in principle, but not that simple when put into practice.
That’s why we’re here.
Growing coveted muscle was while stripping away any excess, unnecessary weight may seem like a chore—and it can be—but there are a few building blocks that will help you along the way.
1. Be Prepared to Hurt
Before we get into the meat (not literally) of this article, get accustomed to the fact that the goal you’re chasing is not going to all be fun. There’s a high probability you’ve heard the saying: “If it was easy, everybody would do it.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Dieting under harsher circumstances means you’re going to feel drained, tired and at times cranky. Working out four to seven days a week can restrict your social time, and that’s a nuisance. Getting up early means less time playing video games and relaxing, forcing you to reevaluate what you really want.
Full disclosure, these are all very real risks of this lifestyle, but that’s because building muscle and losing fat simultaneously is one of the hardest practices in fitness.
You can eat like a dumpster, train hard, and still gain muscle. You can diet to the extreme, but you won’t add strength if you aren’t working out. This is everything at once, and it will hurt. Get to grips with that notion.
- Train to Make Gains, Not Shrink Down
The misconception many people associate with different types of exercise is that those exercises only have one purpose e.g. weights are for building muscle mass, and cardio is for losing fat.
The human body is a lot smarter than that, as explained by SpotMeBro.com.
Instead, compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and benchpress stimulate more muscle mass due to the fact they incorporate more portions into each rep.
Therefore, it’s more efficient to shrug off our inhibitions, learn proper form from a trainer or YouTube (my personal favorite) and try to lift as much weight as possible as safely as possible.
Now, of course we can still increase volume to the eight to 12 rep range with lower weight, but so many people disregard high weight as something saved solely for those looking to get huge—it’s just not the case.
Light-weight circuits are all well and good for a de-load week or break every once in a while, but get your sweat on primarily through bigger numbers.
3. Not All Fat is Bad Fat
Whether its men or women, there is a stigma associated with fat, and it needs to stop. Fat has a crucial role in keeping hormone levels high—this being just one of its benefits—meaning men can induce testosterone production through consumption of red meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, while women will keep estrogen levels in check through the same means.
SpotMeGirl.com have also provided a comprehensive list of some high-protein snacks that won’t rush you over your macros.
Primarily, there are two types of body fat—brown (good) fat and white (bad) fat. Women’s Health explained in 2014 just why the former is preferred when it comes to losing fat:
“The purpose of brown fat is to burn calories in order to generate heat. That’s why brown fat is often referred to as the “good” fat, since it helps us burn, not store, calories. Brown fat is derived from muscle tissue and is found primarily in hibernating animals and newborns.”
Fat is like metabolism in that it needs replenishing and maintenance in order to be optimized. If you don’t consume fat, your fat storages will eventually deplete, meaning your body won’t know where to turn to lose it when you keep exercises like a mad man (or woman).