OK, so you’ve decided to make it your goal to get fit. You want to burn fat and build muscle as fast as you can. That’s awesome, just one question…what is your goal? Before you can take action, you need a plan. You need to figure out what it is you want to, to burn fat or build muscle? You’d also want to know HOW to burn fat and build muscle as quickly as possible. Whatever it is, plotting out a course of action will help make your goals attainable, and I’m going to help you. Let’s start by talking about nutrition and debunking the myth surrounding it.
Burn Fat And Build Muscle Fast
When it comes to health and fitness, many people claim that we should “eat clean” and avoid junk food like ice cream, candy, pizza etc. The information seemed sound, and even though it was tough, I believed it to be a necessary sacrifice at the time to achieve my goal. So, I cut out pretty much all the junk food I would normally eat and just stuck to healthy foods. For a couple of months I was happy with what I saw, soon after, however, things began to slow down and eventually came to a screeching halt. I just kept going because I figured that doing something was better than nothing. Finally, I became frustrated and starting researching about diets. I discovered that when it comes to dieting, it’s more about how much you eat rather than what you eat.
Professor Mark Haub
To give you an example, Professor Mark Haub of Kansas State University did an experiment. He conducted a weight loss study where he limited his calorie intake to 1800 after calculating that his body burns about 2600 calories a day. Here’s the kicker though, the majority of his diet consisted of junk food. While he did eat some vegetables and drank a daily protein shake, Professor Mark mostly ate foods such as Twinkies, Doritos, and Oreo’s. In 2 months, he lost 27 pounds and dropped to 24.9% body fat from 33.4%. Not only that, his LDL (bad cholesterol) decreased by 20% while his HDL (good cholesterol) increased by 20%. When it comes to bulking, cutting or just simple weight loss, it all comes down this…
Calories Consumed – Calories Burned = Weight Loss/Gain
A calorie is defined as a unit of energy. Every day we consume calories to provide our bodies with the energy. To calculate the total number of calories our bodies burn, we need to calculate our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy your body uses while it’s in a resting state.
Here, we can use Katch McArdle’s formula : BMR = 370 + (21.6 * LBM). The LBM in this formula represents our Lean Body Mass which is the nonfat potions of our bodies. In the formula, lean body mass is in kg. To calculate LBM, we can use the following formula: LBM = (1 – Body Fat% in decimals) * Your Body Weight. Once you’ve figured out your BMR, you need to then calculate for Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). The more active you are, the higher your TDEE is. If you are active for 1 -3 hours a week, multiply your BMR by 1.2, for 4 – 6 hours, multiply by 1.35, and for over 6 hours multiplied by 1.5. You can click here to get a rough estimate on your TDEE if you don’t want to do the math yourself. From there, I highly recommend that you keep track of your food intake using Microsoft Excel or the MyFitnessPal app to track your meals and your macro-nutrients
To reach your goals, it’s important to take in the right amount of macro-nutrients: Protein, carbs and dietary fat. Protein and Carbs contain 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram.
When building and preserving muscle, a high protein diet is necessary. The body breaks down protein into amino acids which are used to build muscle tissue. Those who work out regularly, like me, need a higher amount protein, especially if you do weightlifting. In exercising, we damage our muscle fibers, and we need the amino acids from protein to repair them. This study states that eating up to 0.8 grams of protein per body weight should be optimal for the majority of the population. However, for athletes and those who do high-intensity training on a regular basis, a higher protein intake is recommended. According to this study, when dieting to lose fat, it’s recommended that athletes and those who workout on a regular should consume about 1 gram or more of protein per body weight. Great sources of protein are eggs, chicken and protein powders.
Another myth we’ve all heard is that we should cut out carbohydrates in order to get fit. However, carbs are important for the body and muscle growth. When we eat carbs, our bodies either break it down into glucose which is energy for the body. Some of the glucose turns into glycogen and is stored in the muscles. When we lift weights, the glycogen in our muscles gets depleted. By eating carbs, not only do we refill our muscles with glycogen, but we improve our performance in the gym and everywhere else and we greatly reduce muscle breakdown from exercise. Now carbs can be found in everything that we eat, but they’re not all the same.
The glycemic index is a numeric system that ranks on a scale from 0 – 100 how fast the body converts carbs into glucose. A GI rank of 55 and under is considered low, a rank of 56 – 69 is medium, and a rank of 70 and above are high. Simple carbs (such as sucrose, white bread, candy bars) are converted into glucose rapidly and therefore have a high GI rating, while complex carbs ( such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice) are converted into glucose slowly and have low GI ratings. Make sure to eat more complex carbs than simple ones. How many carbs should you eat? A study shows that as long as protein intake was high, there was no major difference in weight loss between low-carb and high-carb diets. I’ll side with the high carb diet, according to the study conducted at the University of North Carolina, the men who combined exercising with a low-carb diet showed an increase cortisol levels and decreased testosterone levels.
Dietary fat is another important macro-nutrient that we need to have in our diets. Even though it gets a bad reputation, fats provide many benefits to the body. It supports brain function, boosts the immune system and regulates hormone levels. There are 4 different types of fat in food: trans, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the good fats that we need to consume more of. The American Heart Association says these fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Trans fat intake should be as low as possible or taken out of your diet completely. According to research, intake of trans fat increases the risk of coronary heart disease. And last but not least is saturated fat. Saturated fat was also believed to be a cause of heart disease, but research shows there’s no correlation between the two. We should get 20% – 30% our calorie intake from dietary fat and only 10% should come from saturated fat.
Do HIIT Cardio
HIIT ( high-intensity interval training) is training where you do quick bursts of intense workouts followed by a short period of rest. HIIT cardio greatly boosts metabolism which allows you to burn more calories and fat quicker. High-intensity interval training also triggers the “afterburn effect”. It is the state where your body continues to burn calories long after the workout. A study conducted at Laval University had one group follow a 15- week HIIT program while the other followed a 20-week steady-state cardio program. The group that did HIIT lost more body fat than the steady-state group.
Finally, whether you are bulking or cutting, it’s absolutely important to weight lift. I’ve talked about the benefits of lifting heavy weights and the lifts you need to incorporate into your routine. So instead of repeating myself, read it here.
As you can see, learning to burn fat and build muscle is not so difficult. It becomes quite simple once you learn the secrets. Have any questions or thoughts you’d like to add, drop a comment below. Looking forward to hearing from you…