Many people view burning fat and building muscle as two mutually exclusive goals. With the common thought process of “eat less to burn fat, eat more to build muscle”, this can seem to be the case. However, if you know what you’re doing and you’re willing to commit to your goals, you can do both at once: burn fat and build muscle.
There are many ways people may decide to achieve their goals, but without a game plan, it can be hard or even impossible. Whether you’re hoping to run a marathon or bulk up, everyone who’s ever successfully met their goals has made a game plan for how they’ll do so.
If you’re looking for ways to meet your goal of burning fat while still building muscle, there are a few ways you can do it.
#1. Optimize Your Diet
You can’t expect to meet your new goals if you don’t change how you eat, so optimizing your diet for muscle gain and fat loss should be your first step.
There’s no specific diet you must follow, but there are a few ways to adjust your current diet so that your goals are within reach. Start by using a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you should be eating. Rather than avoiding calories at all costs, limit your intake. A small deficit of 300 calories will help encourage weight loss without impacting your muscle gain.
Another change to make to your diet is with protein. As you workout and try to build more muscle, your body will need a way to recover and produce energy. Protein is the best way to do this, acting as both a recovery aid and a source of fuel.
If you like citrus fruits, you’re in luck! While many people may suggest cutting out citrus, it’s actually recommended that you add it into your diet. As citrus fruits are acidic, they’re less likely to raise your insulin levels and turn calories into fat.
When you diet, it’s easy to fall into the habit of having “cheat meals” or snacking when you get hungry. Instead of reaching for things that are high in carbs and fats and calling it a “cheat meal”, try to time your meals so that you won’t get hungry between them. If you do, make sure you find something healthy to eat such as sunflower seeds.
#2. Try Variable Resistance Training
Variable resistance training is a way to help you build muscle, but it’s also designed to burn fat in the process. By changing the resistance you feel during your workout, your body is forced to adjust.
This type of training works really well because the resistance varies unlike traditional workouts. When your body is weakest, you’ll face the least resistance. When your body is stronger, you’ll have higher resistance. It all depends on the position of your body and the advantages or disadvantages that it faces at certain points in your workout.
There are all sorts of variable resistance training exercises that you can try. Whether you sign up for a class or you implement them on your own, it’s important to start slow and build up so that you don’t accidentally injure yourself.
#3. Change Your Approach to Weight Lifting
Many people think that using lighter weights and doing more reps is the best way to burn fat while others prefer to lift heavier weights for fewer reps. While both methods do burn weight, they do so in different ways.
While light weights and high reps will burn more calories during your workout, research has shown that using heavy weights and low reps will result in a metabolism boost that lasts for two days after your workout.
In order to receive the most benefits from weight training, you should try a mix of light weights and high reps with heavy weights and low reps. Designing a workout routine that allows for this will help you move towards your goals and give you a more variable workout.
Another way to change your training regimen is to increase the speed at which you do your reps. Just like using heavy weights at lower reps, doing your reps quickly will boost your metabolism after the workout.
Although you may not like it, reducing or eliminating the rest time between sets is also bound to increase the amount of calories burned. Known as supersets, this method eliminates rest periods altogether but burns more calories. If you don’t think you can go without a rest period, though, another method to try is reducing your rest period to only 30 seconds.
#4. Keep Your Workouts Consistent and Frequent
When you start a more intense workout, staying consistent can be difficult. By training frequently and consistently, your body is constantly encouraged to grow muscle.
Many people tend to focus on one specific muscle group 1-2 times a week (ie. leg day; arm day; etc.) which requires high intensity workouts. By the time they’re finishing up, their body is slowing down, the intensity is lower, and they’re more fatigued. A better way to train is by working each muscle group 3-4 times a week at a more consistent volume and intensity.
Know Your Body, Train Responsibly
Whenever you start a new workout regimen or train for a new goal, it’s important that you listen to your body and train responsibly. Going too hard, too early on can end up hurting you rather than helping. Instead, start slow and build up as you learn what you can and can’t handle. Work towards new PRs and have someone spot you when you need it.
With the right knowledge and discipline, you can create the perfect workout routine to help you burn fat while still building muscle. Through dieting, resistance training, and optimized weight lifting, your goals are within reach.