Why it Works Better Than Cardio
Gaining muscle to lose fat. Have you ever considered it?
Here I am going to tell you why
The Best Way to Lose Fat is Gaining Muscle
...without spending a lot of money in personal trainers, books, online courses and especially...without having to go on crazy low-calorie diets that would do more damage than benefit!
I am going to tell you all the secrets I've learned in the last several years that I've been working out...because...I just want to share what I discovered.
I want to start with the best part, something that I didn't know when I started.
Gaining Muscle to Lose Fat
It is something that can save you from a lot of frustration, and that especially will give you better results, and faster.
Yes, the reason why 99% of those who try to lose fat give up is because they don't see results or because it is too hard.
The typical approach to burn fat is something like this:
- Go on a diet, very low calories, skip meals if possible: WRONG!
- Do hours of cardio every day, treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike...whatever you want but just keep moving: WRONG!
Why do people give up soon after? Because if their life is like that...it sucks!
Gaining muscle to lose fat is more fun than that, trust me!
Very Low Calorie Diet Doesn't Help You Lose Fat...
Despite what people think, going on a very low calorie diet does more damage than you can imagine.
Here's why I said you need to know how the body works...
If you cut down your daily calorie intake you make your body think that you're starving, and from that moment everything you eat is stored as fat.
Our body is not stupid, it always adapts to changes. If we starve, our body saves what we give it. And it saves it as fat.
Think of bears...they eat as much as they can because they know that for some months they won't eat anything during hibernation. Their body will use fat to supply the energy needed during those months.
Our body does the same. On such a diet, instead of losing fat...we build even more!
What you should do is follow a healthy diet, eat the right foods that make you burn fat. See How to Lose Fat for a list of foods that burn fat.
...And Too Much Cardio Burns Your Muscle
I am not saying that cardio makes you gain fat, far away from that.
What I am saying is that it's not the best way, especially if you're trying to build muscle at the same time.
If You Do Cardio, Do it Smart
In order to burn fat, always do low intensity cardio, for at least 20 minutes.
Why low intensity?
Because the best heart rate to burn fat is around 65% of your maximum!
What I didn't know, and I bet neither did you, is that depending on the intensity of your cardio activity you can burn more or less fat.
You must know that when you do cardio you burn, in order:
- Sugars (in fact they give you an immediate energy shot because they are burned first)
- Carbs (the main source of energy, burned after sugars)
- Fats (after sugars and carbs are gone, our body takes energy from our fat storage)
- Muscle (after everything else, there is no choice other than burning muscle)
I don't think that anybody wants to burn muscle, but that can happen when you do too much cardio.
Have you ever seen a marathon runner that has a muscular body? Never.
They're all skinny, it's true, and they run for hours every day.
This is only possible if you maintain low intensity, and if you give 100% you last only a couple of minutes.
This should make you understand why it's proven that the best heart rate to burn fat is around 65% of your maximum heart rate.
Lift Heavy Weights for Gaining Muscle to Lose Fat
For gaining muscle to lose fat you have to force your body to change.
Our body is very good at adapting to changes, in fact...
Our Body Always Changes to Adapt to Our Daily Activity
If you always lift the same weights then what? Your body doesn't need to build more muscle, what you have is already enough.
But if you start to lift heavier weights then your body has to respond to that change...and your guess is right. It responds by growing you muscle, so that next time it won't be unprepared again!
It's one of the requirements for gaining muscle to lose fat.
Muscle Building Highlights
This is probably the most important part of what I have to say for gaining muscle to lose fat.
I am not a bodybuilder, I am not a big guy...I've always been skinny and hardgainer. Despite that, I could build muscle, so let me tell you that is IS possible.
But there are several things that you need to keep in mind. More importantly, remember that for gaining muscle to lose fat you need to do the right things the right way:
- Start a weight training program.
- Do the right exercises. Focus on exercises that work more than one muscle group at the same time to stress more muscle fibres and force your body to produce more testosterone. These exercises are called compound exercises. I wrote a list of best exercises to build muscle fast, just look at the menu on the left column.
- Forget isolation exercises at the beginning. They are the exercises that involve only one muscle group and don't really stimulate your body to grow.
- Use free weights, especially if you are a beginner. Machines are comfortable but don't force you to use all the muscles that you would use doing the same exercise with free weights. I am talking about stabilizer muscles etc.
- Train hard at high intensity for short sessions. This is called HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Maximize your hormones response, studies revealed that when you start lifting weights your body starts producing more testosterone and it stops after 45 minutes to 1 hour. After that time your body produces cortisol, which is a catabolic hormone that "eats" your muscle.
- Do progressive overload. Every time you go to the gym try to do more than last time. This could mean adding weights or do more reps using the same weights.
- Do sets of 6-10 reps. If you do more reps you train your resistance, not your strength. 8 reps are ideal to build muscle mass.
- Sleep and rest a lot. Remember that your body grows while you sleep, not while you work out. Bodybuilders have to sleep at least 8 hours a night to recover and build muscle.
- Drink plenty of water. Our body is made mostly of water, we all know that. We need to keep hydration and especially if we work out. Drinking plenty of water helps us eliminate all the toxins and the lactic acid that we accumulate during the workout sessions. It's one of the fastest ways to burn fat.
- Eat healthy food. Junk food must become your enemy. Keep the correct balance between carbs, proteins and fats. A 40%-40%-20% is recommended. Remember that you need fats, healthy fats in your diet to produce more testosterone!
- Take the right supplements. Very often we simply can't get all we need from our diet. Fortunately there are good supplements out there to help us get the right amount of nutrients, especially proteins. My favorite places to buy supplement are definitely Bodybuilding.com and Amazon.
- Don't smoke
- Quit alcohol, it reduces your testosterone production and increase estrogens instead. Estrogen is the female hormone, responsible for belly fat and what is known as "man boobs".
- Maintain normal levels of testosterone. I recommend you to read What is Testosterone to find out the symptoms of low testosterone and how it affects your body. Don't panic if your levels are low, there are also ways to increase testosterone naturally.
Gaining Muscle to Lose Fat Gets You Double Results!
Ok, we are at the end of this big introduction.
This is the summary of what I said above: the best way to lose fat is to build muscle!
Here are some of the benefits of muscle building:
- Afterburn effect: this is unknown to most, but it's a great news for everybody. Strength training increases our metabolism for up to 12 hours after the workout. This means we burn calories even while we sleep. Instead cardio activity burns calories only during exercise!
- Increased testosterone: weight lifting helps you maintain your testosterone levels higher, with all the related benefits (increased muscle mass, reduced body fat etc.). You understand why gaining muscle to lose fat is key.
- Muscle replaces fat. This is the purpose of gaining muscle to lose fat. How awesome is that! Don't worry about gaining weight. It doesn't matter what the scale says. What matters is that you pounds come from lean muscle instead of fat.
- Naturally burn more calories. If we build muscle our body need to burn more energy to maintain it. Muscle is "expensive" for our body. It's like driving a sport car with hundreds of HP! To maintain that muscle our body has to burn more energy. Energy = calories, which means fat burn.
All this is explained throughout the website. I gave you plenty to read, I know, but it's worth it.
I helped many friends gaining muscle to lose fat with my advice and motivation, with very good results (even better than my own!), and now I just want to help as many guys like me as I can.
Internet is a great tool, I am so happy of all the things I learned that I can't just keep everything for myself, I HAVE to share...so...enjoy!