This article is a guest post by Luke.
Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles. You can also find Luke on Facebook and Twitter.
When people exercise, they usually focus on either building muscle or losing fat. Depending on their goal, they stick to either a mass gaining or calorie restricted diet plan. But is it possible to manage to do both at the same time? The answer is yes. Here are some valuable tips on how to burn fat and build muscle inside and outside the gym.
1. Make your workouts more intense
To see any results, you have to work out in a continuous and focused manner that stimulates fat burning and muscle growth. If you keep on checking your smartphone notifications between each set, you’ll break the momentum of your workout. Leave it in a locker or at home instead, and hit the machines. So far, you’ve rested between the sets of the same exercise, but now try to alternate an upper body push with an upper body pull (push-ups and pull-ups). Keep yourself moving and you’ll maintain the intensity you need in order for your workout to be effective.
2. Mix up your workouts
If you don’t change your workout routine, you’ll see less progress over time. What happens is that our bodies quickly adapt to certain movements or intensity. So, if you mostly exercise in the gym, go outside at least once a week, and vice versa. Do a routine of dips, pushups, pull-ups, and Burpees at the nearby park or beach. If you choose the beach, working out on the sand will add some difficulty to it. Breathe some fresh air, break the gym monotony, and challenge your body in different ways.
3. Get faster
You want a leaner body with more muscle, which can be achieved by running. Take a look at any professional sprinter, and you’ll realize that they have the most powerful, lean bodies. What happens when we get faster? We improve flexibility, the efficiency of our nervous system, as well as our strength and muscle size. Go to a soccer field or a running track, and alternate 400-meter runs (80% effort) with 400-meter walks. Do four of these intervals, with a light run (half a mile) before and after each one of them.
4. Eat at regular intervals
A lot of people propose that eating small meals more often is better than having only three large meals per day. It eliminates overeating and mood swings, promotes muscle mass, and regulates blood sugar levels. In order to make this work, you need to plan ahead. Make sure you always have something healthy on hand while on-the-go or at work, so you can fuel yourself every three hours. Combine protein, fat, and carbs for main meals, while ready to drink protein shakes, energy bars, seeds, dried fruit, and nuts are perfect when on-the-go.
No matter to what extent all the muscle-building and fat-burning techniques differ from each other, the one thing they all have in common is the importance of sleep. Without adequate sleep, it’s difficult to burn fat or build muscle. While sleeping, most of your hormones are released, such as testosterone and growth hormone. On the other hand, fatigue raises your level of body fat as it undermines your ability to train hard and eat right. Your brain doesn’t know if it’s starving or sleep-deprived, so it starts craving sugar. Your efforts to burn fat and build muscle are compromised when you fail to get enough sleep (7 hours is considered an optimal sleep duration).
6. Tune your lifestyle to fit your goals
You need to be disciplined if you want to see some results. Nothing happens overnight or by accident. What does this mean? It means – plan, plan, and plan. Time your sleep, time your supplementation, and time your meals. Whatever your goals might be, it will be much more difficult to succeed without discipline and purpose. It is also important to be patient as there may not be some visible changes in the first month or so, which can demotivate you. Stay consistent, and after 4-5 weeks of sticking to a disciplined regime, you’re going to notice some enormous differences. Once this becomes a routine, you’ll eat properly and exercise hard with much more ease.
Follow these tips to start off with the right regime to burn fat and build muscle. If you have been telling yourself that it is not possible to achieve both at the same time, know that you’ve been wrong, so this can’t come up as an excuse anymore. Track your progress by measuring your arms, legs, hips and chest, or taking photos every week (but make sure you always take them at the same location, e.g. in front of your bedroom mirror). You’ll achieve much greater results once you take this kind of disciplined approach to your workout routine.