This is a guest post by Alain Gonzalez.
What if I told you that you could lose weight and look bigger and more muscular at the same time?
You would probably walk away laughing and continue following the same routine that has been doing you no good for quite some time now. You see, building muscle alone is not enough when trying to get an overall muscular frame and/or beach body as some may say.
Lets use abs as an example, you can perform 1 million crunches a day but until that body fat covering your midsection is cut, your results will go unnoticed. Take someone who has never done a crunch in their life but has cut the belly fat out of the picture, guaranteed this person will look much more muscular and defined that the one wasting their time with crunches.
If you and I both walked around carrying 120 pounds of muscle mass and you simply carried 5 percent more body fat than I did, I would easily look much larger and muscualr than you did. Look at bodybuilders for instance, on their off season, heavyweights will easily gain 20-30 pounds (mostly fat) and keep all the muscle underneath. But notice how much larger they look while leaning out and prepairing for a show. Think about it, they just cut 20-30 pounds and because all the fat was cut, they look much larger.
My point is simply this, if you are trying to achieve an overall muscular look, remember to focus the same amount of attention on keeping a low body fat as you do lifting weights and building muscle. I promise this will make your journey to getting the body of your dreams that much easier. With that being said, here are a few rules you can follow in order to maintain or achieve a low body fat.
Consuming foods that contain simple carbohydrates, dairy, or whites/flour will not only increase fat storage but will also make you look bloated. These foods give you what I like to call the “thick skin effect”. I recommend getting your carbohydrates from clean complex sources such as oatmeal and whole grains. The protein intake should come from high quality lean meats like chicken breast, fish, and turkey. Now, your fats may be the most important, they should only come from natural sources. These sources include mixed nuts, avocados, and flaxseed oil. Not only will eating clean increase muscle mass but it will also aid in burning belly fat. Although there is no such thing as training for spot reduction, dieting to target belly fat is in fact possible due to some of the ingredients found in these foods.
Fat Burning Activity:
You will burn fat more easily and efficiently by following this diet, so, add in a fat burning activity to speed up those results. Forget what you may have heard in the past about “target heart rate” for fat burn, your only goal is to burn through more calories than you’re consuming. As for the fat burning/physical activity you choose, that will be totally up to you. Here are a few options in order for you to choose wich approach works best for you and your schedule.
Using the treadmill is a great form of traditional cardio activity that you can perform. 45 minutes to an hour is ideal when using this technique for fat burn. If you are like myself and like to perform your traditional cardio following a strenuous workout routine, I would not recommend more than 20-30 minutes in order to avoid muscle wastage.
Circuit Training – if you want to cut half the time from a traditional cardio workout, incorporate a little more intensity by trying HIIT or circuit training. You can achieve maximum results with circuit training with as little and 15-20 minutes. I would not recommend performing a circuit training routine immediately following a strenuous workout. Circuit training is extremely intense and should be performed at peak energy levels for best results. If you are looking for a good circuit training routine to follow here is one I follow and have gotten great results from:
Push ups (15 seconds)
Rest (15 seconds)
Mountain Climbers (15 seconds)
Rest (15 Seconds)
High Knees (15 seconds)
Rest (15 seconds)
Half Burpees (15 seconds)
Rest (15 seconds)
Squats (15 seconds)
Rest (15 seconds)
Jump Squats (15 seconds)
Rest (1 minute)
Speeding up your metabolism
You should consider breaking your meals into 6 smaller portions each day in order to keep your metabolism pumping. This is sure to turn your body into a fat burning machine and keep that metabolism working hard because it is metabolizing every 2 to 3 hours. You will get proper nutrition by fueling your body this way and it will also help you retain your muscle mass as well as help you in burning fat literally while you sleep.
A few extra tips:
-To cut down on water retention, consume a gallon of water each day.
-Before you eat anything in the morning, start out with your cardio routine.
-Vegetables should be the main source of carbohydrates in your diet.
To achieve your fitness goals and get the body your working so hard for, follow these outlined steps and you will soon be looking much more muscular overall. Burning the fat is the easy part, the challenge lies in keeping it off. You will only be causing yourself a set back if you do not develop a consistent routine, as this will be the key to your success with any fitness goal.
About the Author: Alain Gonzalez is a fitness enthusiast whose muscle building transformation has inspired hardgainers all over the world. His story has been featured on a number of sites all over the net and his recently released ebook titled “Bony to Brawny” has been a huge success in helping others achieve results similar to his own. He is the founder of and uses this website to give out free weight gain tips for hardgainers like himself.