Are you into the gym diet plan for muscle gain, trying to lose fat and gain muscles in the process? You and countless others are on ‘mission fitness plan,’ working towards getting the perfect body, but, wanting is so much different from achieving it. However, when you pair the two goals together, you get awesome results. The truth is, the exercises that help you to lose fat are invariably the same ones that help you gain muscles. Interesting, isn’t it? When you have more muscle mass, your body burns additional calories even when you are sitting!
But yes, it isn’t easy; reducing body fat percentage and gaining muscles in one swoop, it needs what you call a targeted approach. You have to form a strategy because you need to burn more calories than you consume, and when you restrict your calorie intake, your body pulls out of the existing fat stores in your body, which requires you to function daily. So, if you end up losing fat, you also end up losing precious muscle mass.
So, how do you achieve both fat loss and strength gain? Simple, you add protein to your diet and practice weightlifting. Cutting calories? Here’s how you do it, consume lesser calories than the amount you use to burn at rest while you work out. This formula works when you want to lose weight. If you want to gain muscles, you must stop looking at the scale and start paying more attention to your mirror image. Or, let your clothes be the judge. That is, do your clothes seem tight on you? Or are they lose?
So, what do we learn from this? That you must not cut down calories drastically, this will jeopardize your ‘muscle-gain’ efforts. Also, if you restrict your calorie intake too much, you have little energy for strenuous workouts, hence slowing down your metabolism. Also, if you are skimping on protein in particular, you are not giving your body enough fuel to feed on.
Resistance training breaks down muscles and to rebuilds the same, so you need enough to build mass. The good thing is, you don’t have to keep a close tab on the calories and resort to calorie-counting. My word! That’s such a relief. Can you imagine counting every morsel you are eating? Well, I can’t. If you eat mindfully, eating nutrient-dense food (containing a balance of protein, healthy fats and minerals), you will remain satiated and achieve your body goals.
Yes, you need to up your protein intake for the right diet plan for fat loss and muscle gain. But you need to distribute the same throughout the day. Research suggests, this is what complements your muscle-building efforts.
So, how much protein do you need to consume especially on the days you strength-train? You can add at least 20 to 25 grams of protein 30 minutes prior to your workout. If that seems too difficult for you, don’t worry, you can always add enough protein throughout the day.
If you are looking for the best foods for fat loss and muscle gain, add lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, and tilapia; fish such as salmon and tuna; dairy; and eggs.
The beauty of protein is that it curbs your cravings, makes you feel full and hence you end up eating a lot less. Here’s a complete list of best foods for fat loss and muscle gain.
The easiest way to add high-quality protein to your meals is by adding eggs to your diet. Eggs contain large amounts of amino acid leucine, which helps in muscle gain. It also contains a host of other nutrients like B vitamins, choline and healthy fats.
Salmon is another protein-rich food for muscle building that also helps improve your overall health. Every 85 gram of serving contains 17 grams of protein. It also contains B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
Chicken breasts are a staple for gaining muscle and losing fat. Each 85-gram serving contains about 26 grams of high-quality protein. It is also rich in B vitamins, niacin and B6.
High-quality dairy is optimum for fat loss and muscle gain. Greek yogurt contains almost double the protein available in regular yogurt. Eating Greek yogurt is a good any-time snack to add either before your workout or before you sleep as it contains fast and slow-digesting proteins.
Tuna contains high amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins such as B12, niacin, and B6, besides adequate amounts of protein. Also, it contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which aids muscle health.
Beef is another high-quality protein that also contains B vitamins, minerals, and creatine. If you are watching your calorie intake, choose 85 grams of 95% lean ground beef, containing 145 calories and 5 grams of fat.
85-gram of shrimp contains 18 grams of protein. The best part is that it offers a clean source of protein without too many calories. It contains the muscle building amino acid leucine, which helps in optimal muscle growth.
86 grams of cooked soybeans or ½ cup of soybeans contain 14 grams of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and a host of vitamins and minerals. It is also a solid source of vitamin K, iron and phosphorus.
One cup or 226 grams of low-fat cottage cheese contains a solid 28 grams of protein. It also contains the essential muscle-building amino acid, leucine.
An 85-gram serving of turkey breast contains a generous portion of protein, as much as 25 grams of it and almost little to no fat or carbs.
Turkey is a good source of the B vitamin niacin, which helps process the essential nutrients both fats and carbohydrates in your body.
Whey protein is one of the most popular protein powders today. It consists of one of the two milk proteins, the other one is casein. Our body can easily digest whey protein and hence is the protein powder of choice for fitness enthusiasts who are trying to lose fat and build lean muscles.
Many studies have shown that when overweight or obese people supplemented with whey protein, they not only lost weight but gained muscle mass as well. Apart from the obvious benefits it also improves blood pressure, blood sugar control and also cholesterol levels. Whey protein helps decrease appetite and keep you full for longer hours.
You have cleaned up your diet, made it healthy, and started working out as well, so is there anything that you are missing out on? Well, you have guessed it right, supplements. Supplements help in muscle gain and fat loss, but how do you pick the right one from a set of best supplements for muscle gain and fat loss? Don’t worry, we will help you choose the right one. Take a look at some of the best ones mentioned here.
Experiencing post-workout muscle soreness and fatigue and the fat-loss results aren’t what you’d expect? If this is the case, then start taking BCAAs. People who take BCAAs before and after their exercise routine deal with muscle soreness. A Brazilian study also came up with the study that BCAA supplementation helped in reducing fatigue and burning more fat, especially in glycogen-depleted participants.
Creatine is another supplement that burns fat and builds lean muscles. Lifters who supplement with creatine, experience insulin-like growth factor-1 that increases by 20%. This helps in increased muscle mass. But one must take adequate care not to overdo on the amount as it has several side effects. 3 grams a day is an optimal amount.
Consuming protein before and after workouts is of paramount importance to stimulate muscle growth. But rustling up an adequate amount of protein pre and post workouts can prove to be a time-consuming affair. Also, having eggs every single day can get a bit tedious. So, for times like these, protein supplements such as powders and nutrition bars are ideal substitutes. Grab a quick protein bar post your high-intensity workout, ensure they are not overly processed with additives. You can also give your muscle a big boost with a protein shake.
Fats are fast becoming the nutrient to add to your meals, as it helps in fat loss. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) contains the omega fatty acids, the “good fat,” that helps you lose fat and retain the muscle tissue. Make sure you add adequate amounts of omega fatty acids to your diet.
Feeling the blues after a run-in with the weights at the gym? Glutamine can come to your rescue as it reduces inflammation and also helps you combat the risk of infection. At least, research from the University of Trieste in Italy has come up with its miraculous benefits. Glutamine stimulates muscle as it regulates glycogen within your body, which boosts performance and muscle growth.
In order to function at the optimum level, you need adequate doses of vitamins and minerals. If you have been training particularly hard you may run the risk of losing out on the all-important vitamins and minerals. Adding the right pills for fat loss and muscle gain can help fix the loss.
While we know that resistance training is one of the best exercises for muscle gain or fat loss, we are often left clueless, wondering which workout to add and which to leave out. Now, let’s get real, you may not have the luxury of sparing an hour daily for workouts. Yes, you may not, yet you may get the best out of your workouts if you add the following exercises to your circuits. Just ensure the pace is super-fast and intense for optimal results. The exercises mentioned below are a few of the best exercises that promises a lean body in quick time.
When in doubt, just squat it out! It is one superlative compound movement (it means it uses more than one muscle at one time). Squats are also an effective way to activate the knees, quads, hamstrings, glutes, ankles, and hip joints while they are being performed.
Since they use more compound movements, they burn more calories. This helps compound moves score over isolated movements. Squats are a great exercise to get a taut and toned body.
The deadlift is another super-effective exercise that should be included in the workout routine for fat loss and muscle gain. This is another compound exercise and it involves nearly every major muscle group in the body. It ensures a higher energy expenditure, which in its turn leads to a higher calorie burn. You can start with dumbells to begin with, and work your way to deadlift with a barbell.
Kettlebell swings are the perfect fat burning exercise. It is the best example of cardio and strength workout that activates your glutes and quads, also raising your heart rate. A study carried out at the University of Wisconsin showed that doing just a 20-minute kettlebell workout can raise a participant’s heart rates up to a neat 93% of their maximum rate and burns about 20.2 calories per minute. That’s a killer!
High-intensity interval training is the ‘it’ fitness fad to follow! If you haven’t been bitten by the HIIT fitness bug, then I guess you have been hiding under a rock! But do you know that you can perform intervals on the cardio machine too? Yes, alternating between sprinting on the treadmill and walking at a normal pace can result in a greater energy expenditure than slow steady state cardio. So, you burn a lot more calories in a shorter period of time. Next time you hop onto the treadmill or rowing machine, try interval training on them and see how your body changes for good!
‘I hate burpees,’ is a common sentiment, echoed in most gyms. It challenges you and hence it changes you as it has impressive calorie-burning features. It combines a number of body-weight moves such as plank, push up, squat and jumps. Whew! That’s quite a lot of exercises packed into one workout. A study done by the Journal of Strength & Conditioning on fat burning exercises found out that burpees were among the top exercises that revved up the metabolism the most.
The squats are not leaving this list anytime soon. This heart-racing one with a jump thrown in is an excellent workout at activating the fast twitch muscle fibers of the body. We need both of the slow and fast twitch muscle fibers in our bodies, they have an important role to play in different forms of exercising. However, we see more of the use of fast-twitch muscle fibers in short, fast and explosive movements and these burn a lot many calories in a shorter period of time.
Walking lunges is another calorie burning workout that combines resistance work with cardio and gives your metabolism a major boost. The heavier your dumbbells, the more energy you expend. So, go for a heavier option and it will help in greater fat burn.
Battle ropes are beastly but they are your ticket to a super-toned body. They build your shoulders and arms and also activate your core simultaneously. You can include this into your HIIT workouts and make the workouts fun, different and effective.
While you can include all these hacks to your everyday lifestyle, it won’t change your body overnight, so give your body the time to adjust and with consistency, you will surely get the results you want.
But, if you still aren’t getting the results you want, you can go ahead and consult a personal trainer and a nutritionist who will create a customized plan for you, catering to your specific goals.
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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