Feel balanced, improve your fitness, and increase your energy this July!
It’s the season for barbecues, nice weather, and beach days. Maybe it’s due to all that extra Vitamin D, but July is a month where people tend to focus on getting fit and feeling their healthiest for the duration of those long summer days.
The question then is how does one naturally go about building muscle and losing fat in a healthy and efficient way?
Building muscle while losing fat, also known as body recomposition, can be a tricky feat to achieve. The key to gaining success in this is by overcoming a chemical process in your body called protein synthesis.
Protein synthesis occurs when biological cells generate new proteins in the body to balance and make up for the degradation or loss of cellular protein.
When we workout or build muscle through weight lifting, we cause damage to the cells in our muscle fibers, and thus protein synthesis is accelerated. The process then adds cells to our muscle fibers to prevent that kind of damage from happening again, it builds up your muscles to make them stronger.
This issue with this is if we want to lose weight as well as build muscle we have to create a calorie deficit in our body. A calorie deficit does not mean starving yourself, it’s simply the idea of burning more calories than you take in. With a calorie deficit; however, there is a reduction in anabolic hormone levels, and most importantly, an impairment in protein synthesis.
Because of this, muscle growth while you’re losing fat tends to be slower.
It should already be clear that building muscle in an organic way involves the right kind of fitness and eating habits.
Let’s first start with a few tips and fitness goals to focus on for body recomposition.
- If you’re looking to build muscle, perform shorter intense workouts (an hour or less), rather than going to the gym for a few hours at a time.
- The key is progression and variety. Workout with different weight loads, increase speed as you do another rep, reduce rest time between reps, and move from isolated to compound movements.
- Get as much sleep as you can. Sleep deprivation can cause muscle loss, reduce testosterone levels, and decrease fat loss and important growth hormones that help maintain muscle mass. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- Try heat therapy such as relaxing in a sauna or a hot bath after workouts or on your days off from the gym. Heat therapy helps increase blood flow to working muscles.
- If you still want to include cardio in your fitness plan, make sure to do high-intensity interval training. This type of cardio burns more fat per minute and it preserves more muscle than regular-paced cardio.
In terms of your diet, there a few aspects to keep in mind.
- Focus on a balanced and healthy diet that keeps you in a slight calorie deficit.
- Eat protein heavy foods such as chicken, beef, salmon, lentils, tofu, eggs, and nuts. Mix up these classics with new protein alternatives such as peanut flour, smoked tofu, or black beluga lentils to add more variety to your diet.
- Start keeping a food journal to keep track of what foods you’re putting into your body, and how often you’re eating every day.
- Aim to drink a gallon or more of water and eliminate sugary drinks as much as possible.
- Load up on complex carbs for your first meal of the day as well as protein for your post-workout meal. Moderate to high carb intake is one of the most important parts of building muscle while losing fat.
- Try using daily supplements. Energy supplements such as Creatine improve strength and aid in building muscle even with a calorie deficit.
Most of these tips already boost and improve your performance. If you’re building muscle, your body doesn’t have to work as hard when you perform an activity, such as running. With an increase in muscle mass, there will be less stress on your joints, and you should feel an increase in your stamina.
It’s important to remember that your diet is just as crucial as your fitness schedule when it comes to obtaining optimal performance. Working out should give you more energy, and a healthy diet can make just as much of a difference for increased stamina and a boost in performance.
Balance is everything for diet and fitness, and when it comes to building muscle, losing fat, and boosting performance, there is no exception to this golden rule.