How to Build Muscle, Lose Fat, and Improve Your Health
We talk about diet a lot, but there is a lot you can do in terms of exercise and lifestyle to help you build muscle, lose fat, and improve your health.
Switch your workouts to ones that are aimed at building muscle and bettering health, and eat as many calories as you burn in a day or more, but do not eat an excessive amount of calories though, or you will damage your health. This way, your body will have enough fuel to maintain lean muscle mass, and if it does need any extra energy, your fat is available.
You have to create enough stress in your body to force it to start building muscle. You must challenge yourself. In terms of resistance training, you know you are in the right zone when you struggle to do the last one or two reps of an exercise. If it is too easy, add weights. The number of reps you do per exercise can determine your results:
Between one and six reps is the strength-development zone.
When you go above six reps, it becomes less about strength, and more about muscle development. Between six and twelve is the muscle-building range.
Doing more than twelve reps is good for muscle endurance.
You will still build muscle after twelve reps and before six, but the results are better within the recommended range. The sweet spot for developing equal amounts of strength, muscle, and endurance would be eight reps.
Never push past your limits when it comes to weight training, or doing other difficult exercises, such as pull-ups, which also promote muscle growth. You have to build up the strength to do that exercise first in order to get the muscle-enhancing benefits from that particular exercise.
Fitness also comes into play when it comes to health. If you have been doing it for a while, you can add in more sets. Keep the number of reps, increase the resistance, and then add in more sets. You can make bodyweight exercises, like push-ups, more difficult by making it a plyometric exercise (clap push-ups, jump squats, lunge jumps, etc.), thereby increasing the intensity.
Keep workouts short. Working out hard for longer than 45 minutes can cause spikes in cortisol levels, which is bad for your health. If you are exercising for an extended period of time, your body does not have enough glucose left for your workout. If your body is not fat-adapted, it can start breaking down muscle for energy.
In terms of losing fat, weight-lifting and other forms of resistance training actually have an afterburn effect. This means that you end up burning more calories after the workout, which helps with losing weight. High-intensity interval workouts (HIIT) are great for when you want to build muscle while losing fat, although if you don’t particularly enjoy them, you can avoid them. But if you enjoy intense workouts, it is a great option.
Building muscle will also help with losing fat, as having more muscle makes you burn more calories at rest. For every 500g of muscle you build, you burn an estimate of 30 calories extra per day while doing nothing, which will make losing fat easier over time. If you build enough muscle, you can increase your basal metabolic rate significantly, which is the number of calories you burn at rest.
Recover Well to Build Muscle While Losing Fat and Improving Health
Recovery is a tricky thing, and it varies from person to person. Depending on how acidic your body is, your body’s ability to process lactic acid and build-ups all contribute to your muscle recovery. If you have pushed your body, and it is stiff the next day, it is a sign of DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness).
Recovery is extremely important for optimal health. If you push yourself again without full recovery, you can put yourself into a declining state of overtraining, losing a lot of your hard work. When you are over-trained, you will not build muscle easily, and will end up feeling burnt out. You have to go according to how your body feels in order to determine recovery time. You can also do things to help speed up recovery, including light exercise, such as yoga, walking, and cycling to try and get the blood pumping, and get you back to a more stable state.
Fuelling your body with the necessary nutrients for recovery is also essential. Make sure that you eat enough protein and fat in your diet.
Get Enough Sleep Every Night to Become Superhuman
A sufficient amount of sleep is not only beneficial for muscle recovery, but a lack thereof can lead to a decline in levels of anabolic hormones that trigger muscle building, while at the same time increasing levels of catabolic stress hormones that cause muscle breakdown. If you want to become superhuman, you need enough sleep. Aim for between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
Your body also releases human growth hormone (HGH) while you sleep. When levels of HGH are elevated, it counteracts cortisol in the body, which then reduces stress. If your cortisol levels are increased, it greatly interferes with losing weight and building muscle.
Reduce Stress as Much as Possible for Optimal Health
Trying to become superhuman and transform your body alone can be stressful, especially when you are still trying to balance every other aspect of your life. It is important to set aside time every day for yourself, and to make reducing stress a big priority.
Exercise helps you relax by releasing endorphins that make you feel good, and it also helps tryptophan reach your brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid, which helps your brain produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is essential for mental health and reduces stress. Low levels are associated with anxiety, depression, and even impulsive behaviour. Tryptophan competes with other amino acids, and often loses. By exercising regularly, you can help it reach your brain, and lower stress overall.
Do breathing exercises regularly to help you keep your cortisol levels low. You can start by doing equal breathing, which is where you breathe in through your nose for four counts, and out for four, for example, but you can choose a length you are comfortable with.
Yoga is also a great option. Doing it regularly helps reduce stress, and also gives you a chance to stretch out your muscles, which will help you maintain your full mobility and get superhuman flexibility while building muscle. You do not want to end up with stiff muscles like many bodybuilders who have very little range of motion. Yoga is also a great form of active recovery.
Hot yoga, in particular, is great for building muscle while losing fat, and it is great for your health. The heat stress triggers the release of heat shock proteins, which help protect muscle.
Now you see how changing your workout and a few other things can help you build muscle while you lose fat and become healthier.