The million dollar question. Is it possible?
Oftentimes, programming and undertaking training sessions are focused on one certain aspect.
The most popular request I receive as a personal trainer are generic routines such as fat loss, muscle gain or to improve fitness.
Most people are aware of cutting/bulking protocols (Although this is almost always done wrong) and are probably under the impression that this is the ONLY way to train towards a goal.
Bulking – Calorie Surplus
Cutting – Calorie Deficit
As effective a cut/bulk can be, it is actually quite difficult to get right and does require good discipline and programming.
There is another way of gaining good muscle weight without adding fat and, as you might have guessed, it depends on HOW you train and HOW you eat.
Train to lose body fat – not to lose weight.
Do not focus on weight alone.
You can absolutely change your appearance in a few months and stay at exactly the same weight.
This is why the emphasis will be placed upon fat loss rather than weight loss.
Depending on how much fat you aim to lose, you can in fact consume maintenance calories (The amount you need to maintain current weight) or drop just below that (100-200 calories per day) if you have more fat to lose.
If you plan to work with maintenance calories and you are going to gain muscle and lose body fat, then it is vital that you have a diet which is high in protein.
Generally this should be work out about 1.6g protein per lb of bodyweight but you can work it out specifically for yourself.
With regards to your training, you will need to accept that a reasonable amount of resistance training will need to be undertaken.
As a minimum you want to be looking to train with weights 3x a week for recognisable changes.
Within your resistance training, you will need to apply the principle of progressive overload.
Progressive overload is simply ‘gradually increasing the amount of weight over for each exercise you are undertaking over weeks/months in the gym’.
Avoid lots of cardio.
Particularly high intensity stuff.
Cardio has lots of well documented benefits, but for this particular goal you are better off sticking to going for walks.
High intensity cardio can promote more of an appetite and takes longer to recover from.
If it is done too much, it can start to breakdown muscle for energy.
That time would be off better spent undertaking resistance training and promoting more muscle growth.
You can train intensely whilst lifting weights as your heart rate will still become elevated by performing higher reps and having shorter rest time’s in-between exercises.
If you feel the need to measure anything rather than use a visual representation, then it should be your body fat that you are measuring.
Most modern electric weighing scales do come with the added benefit of including the option to measure bodyfat and they are relatively cheap.
Key Points To Take Away
- Consume a high protein diet
- Undertake at least 3x resistance sessions per week
- Apply progressive overload principle
- Aim for shorter rest periods in-between sets
- Avoid lots of high intensity cardio
- Undertake low intensity steady state cardio
- Train to lose body fat rather than weight loss
>>For more information, posts, training programmes and training tips visit my website tjhealthandfitness.com
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