Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 16, 2020

How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast

How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast

There’s a lot of confusion, mystery, and desperation around how to lose fat and gain muscle. We applaud body transformation pictures we see on Instagram, Facebook, and magazine covers but are never able to replicate the results ourselves.

Well, that mystery is over because I will tell you exactly how to achieve those results in this article.

The journey to getting there is straightforward but not easy. Most people give up too early in the game, when they stop making visible progress.

Keep reading to learn how to utilize your metabolism and the laws of muscle building to lose fat and gain muscle fast.

Skyrocket Your Metabolism to Lose Fat

Learning how to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time is one of the biggest misunderstandings of body transformations because they are opposite metabolic processes.

To lose fat, you must have calorie deficits each day, and to gain muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus, but you cannot do both at the same time.

When you look at pictures, it looks like it can be done simultaneously, but what is actually happening is a change in fat and muscle percentages.

If your weight stays the same through your journey, and you lose body fat, your percent of lean muscle mass automatically goes up by default. You didn’t gain any muscle, but your fat and muscle ratio percentages have shifted.

Calculating Your Calories to Lose Fat

There are many good calorie calculators out there that will give you an estimate on how much to eat to start losing fat for weight loss. You usually need to cut about 10 to 15% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calories to start the process.

You can find a visual explanation of TDEE below[1]:

Advertising

Use TDEE to learn how to lose fat and gain muscle.

    Remember that the calculators are just an estimate. It’s up to you to track your measurements and to adjust your caloric intake to ensure you’re getting the results you’re looking for.

    Metabolism calculators take into account four different ways your body burns calories to come up with your TDEE, or how many calories you burn in a day:

    • Resting metabolic rate
    • Thermic effect of food
    • Thermic effect of activity
    • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis

    Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

    This is your baseline metabolism at rest, or how many calories your body needs to survive if you spent the entire day lying in bed awake.

    RMR accounts for about 60 to 75% of your total daily energy expenditure. Your RMR is mostly determined by how much you weigh.

    A heavier person has a higher RMR than a lighter person, even if the lighter person has a higher lean muscle mass, because the metabolism of muscle only contributes to about 20% of your total RMR energy expenditure[2].

    Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

    You’ve heard that to lose weight and gain muscle, you should be eating lots of protein. This is true for a number of reasons:

    • Lowers your intake of other types of foods, like processed carbs.
    • Increases satiety, so you continue to feel fuller, longer.
    • The building blocks for your muscles are found in protein.

    About 30% of the calories from protein intake are burned off during the digestion process, which includes absorption and waste removal of it. Eating more protein as opposed to other macros increases the amount of calories burned during digestion. That’s why you feel fuller with a higher protein diet.

    Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA)

    The calories burned in TEA are relatively minor in your entire TDEE equation. TEA is any calories burned during official exercise, like going to the gym, doing an aerobics class, or going for a run. It covers any exercise you do outside of your normal activities.

    Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

    The calories burned in NEAT is the big game changer for most people and can vary up to 2000 calories burned per day between people with identical RMRs[3].

    For the majority of us, when we’re done with our workouts for the day, we don’t do much else for movement. We spend about an hour in the gym, and instead of using the other 15 hours awake as an opportunity to move and burn more calories, we spend it sitting.

    This is how there can be such a big difference between the amount of calories burned between two people who have the same RMR.

    Advertising

    Outside of your gym workout, any additional body movements count towards burning additional calories. The quickest way to add this to your day is to make everything you do as inconvenient for yourself as possible.

    Examples of inconvenient activities that count towards NEAT include:

    • Taking the stairs versus the elevator
    • Parking farther away
    • Getting up to change the TV channel versus using the remote
    • Pacing and walking while on a phone call instead of sitting down

    Increasing your NEAT goes a long way to helping your burn calories faster, leading to quicker fat loss. For more ideas on how to make life a little more inconvenient to up your activity level, check out this article.

    The Laws of Building Muscle

    Congrats on reaching the stage where you want to tone and get some definition! Learning how to lose fat and gain muscle isn’t an easy process, so if you’ve taken it on, that’s a huge step.

    To build muscle, first you want to increase your calorie intake.

    Based on your TDEE, you want to add about 10% more calories as a starting point. This is enough calories to build muscle, and any excess can lead to fat storage if you’re not training hard enough or aren’t active enough.

    Again, be sure to track your measurements and adjust your calories if necessary.

    Second, follow a muscle-building program that you can sustain for at least 3 to 6 months.

    Consistency is key with building muscles because they need to be stimulated and broken down on a regular basis in order to build back up. You want to strength train at least twice a week for at least an hour each time to start getting results.

    Of course, more often is better but requires better planning and a more complicated body parts training plan. So, start simple if you’re a novice. It’s not necessary to train 6 times a week unless you’re training for a competition.

    Progressive Overload

    Muscle needs to be challenged in order to grow. You need to gradually and consistently increase the amount of load and volume you are lifting.

    Advertising

    Load means the amount of weight you’re lifting during weight training. Up to a certain point, it becomes unrealistic to keep adding pounds to each exercise every week, at which point you need to switch exercises and work on your weaker points to break that plateau.

    However, the goal with load is to keep increasing the amount of weight you lift.

    Increasing the volume you do is another method to progressive overload. Volume means the total number of reps for that specific exercise. If you’re doing 3 sets of 12 reps, it means you’ve done a total of 36 reps.

    But increasing volume doesn’t mean doing super high reps of 20+ unless you’re training your muscle for endurance versus strength.

    You want to use a challenging weight and be able to lift more of it each week through increased reps and sets.

    Here is a visual explanation of how you can engage in progressive overload[4]:

    PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD FOR MUSCLE MASS by @jmaxfitness - Visit the link in my bio to claim your free 1-week muscle bu… | Muscle, Gain muscle, Weight training workouts

      Training Intensity

      Paying attention to what you’re doing is required if you want to lose fat and build muscle because you want to build and improve the mind-muscle connection to optimize growth.

      A healthy mind-body connection means you’re able to better feel your muscles working during each lift.

      You know you’ve picked the right weight when the last 2 to 3 reps of your intended rep range is challenging. On occasion, you want to push past the burn and muscle fatigue for the last reps.

      This little bit of pushing past the discomfort is the difference between an average body and a body with more definition. Lifting almost to failure increases muscle recruitment, metabolic stress, and anabolic recruitment to grow muscles.

      Advertising

      Proper Recovery

      This is the most overlooked aspect of building muscles. We focus too much on pre/post workout meals, macro tweaking, and supplements, forgetting that we already have the ultimate tool for recovery: our own body.

      For best recovery practices, allow at least a day, but no more than 3 days of rest between workouts that stress the same muscle group. Overtraining results in diminished exercise capacity, possible injury, and illness.

      Remember, muscles are broken down in the gym and built outside of it during recovery.

      Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, and be mindful of your stress levels to optimize recovery time. A lack of sleep and excess stress will spike cortisol levels, leading to hunger cravings, decrease regulation of burning fat, and cause faster aging.

      You can learn how to lower your stress levels fast here.

      Stop Program Hopping

      Every day, there is new workout, new exercise, new program on a website, in a magazine, or in your social media feed. No wonder we’re tempted to try a little bit of everything!

      Frequent program hopping stops you from getting any results.

      When you change programs too often, you don’t make progress on each exercise. It becomes hard to gauge whether you’re getting stronger or even getting results because you’re not allowing enough time for your body to adapt.

      Strength is a skill that needs to be built and developed by practicing it consistently. If you’re changing the skill set too often, you won’t know if you’re improving, and, therefore, cutting yourself short of future muscle gains.

      Conclusion

      The steps to losing fat and gaining muscle are simple, but the journey to get there is not.

      Tracking and measuring your calories is the quickest way to lose fat, along with increasing your activity level outside of the gym. Having a stronger, more toned body can be yours when you follow the laws of building muscles consistently.

      Applying these methods will guarantee that you get the results you’re after!

      More on How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Klaver via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Cheat Day Design: What is TDEE?
      [2] International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders: Determinants of energy expenditure and fuel utilization in man: effects of body composition, age, sex, ethnicity and glucose tolerance in 916 subjects
      [3] Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: Variability in energy expenditure and its components
      [4] J Max Fitness: PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD FOR MUSCLE MASS

      More by this author

      Candace Rhodes

      Join Candace's course 7-Day Rapid Results teaches you everything you need to get started for a weightlifting lifestyle to be toned and strong.

      Muscle Building Diet: How to Eat to Lose Fat and Build Muscle How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast The Remarkable Benefits of Strength Training for Women 20 Healthy Eating Recipes Even the Pickiest People Will Love Fermented Foods for Better Digestive Health and Mental Wellness

      Trending in Exercise & Training

      1 15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine 2 Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? Here’s How To Break Through It 3 10 Best Exercises to Lose Weight and Burn Fat at Home 4 A Simple Muscle Building Workout Routine to Increase Strength 5 How to Gain Muscle Quickly and Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide)

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on February 25, 2021

      15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

      15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

      Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

      Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

      For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

      Benefits of Static Stretches

      Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

      Improved Flexibility

      If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

      Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1] And although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

      Prevent Injuries

      If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches  pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

      Think of it this way:

      When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

      Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

      Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

      Advertising

      For static stretching though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

      However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

      Improvement in Recovery

      If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

      Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

      Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

      Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

      Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

      • Improved relaxation
      • Increased movement efficiency
      • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
      • Reduction in muscular tension
      • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
      • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
      • Provision of relief from cramping

      15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

      Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

      1. Neck Stretch

        • While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head and place the other arm out to your side.
        • Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck.
        • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.
        • Repeat for the opposite side.

        2. Chest Stretch

        Advertising

          • Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks.
          • While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest.
          • Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

          3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

          Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

             

            • Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat.
            • Extend one arm to your front to shoulder height.
            • Grab the extended arm with your other arm and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight.
            • Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder.
            • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for the other arm.

            4. Triceps Static Stretch

              • Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow.
              • Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps.
              • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the other arm.

              5. Biceps Stretch

              Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

                 

                • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
                • With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you.
                • While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest.
                • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                6. Wrist Stretch

                  • While standing straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling.
                  • Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch.
                  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite arm.

                  7. Side Stretch

                    • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
                    • Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side.
                    • Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side.
                    • Maintain this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                    8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                      • Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up.
                      • While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs.
                      • Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                      9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                      Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan

                         

                        Advertising

                         

                         

                        • Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor.
                        • While keeping the right leg extended, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.
                        • Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back.
                        • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                        10. Knees to Chest

                        Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                           

                          • Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent.
                          • Hold your shins and pull up your knees toward your chest.
                          • This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back.
                          • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                          11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                          How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                             

                            • Stand right in a standard lunge position.
                            • Place your two hands on your hips.
                            • Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe.
                            • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                            12. Figure 4 Stretch

                            How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                               

                              • Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor.
                              • Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent.
                              • Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes.
                              • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

                              13. Standing Quad Stretch

                                • Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture.
                                • With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance.
                                • With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.
                                • Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps.
                                • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the other side.

                                14. Hamstring Stretch

                                Advertising

                                  • Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent.
                                  • Reach forward with your right hand and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.
                                  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg.
                                  • If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                                  15. Calf Stretch

                                    • Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you.
                                    • Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.
                                    • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg.
                                    • If you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                    Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                    Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                    When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                    Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                    This is because static stretches have a “cool-down” effect on the muscles and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                    That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out. Just do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body to prepare better for the work ahead.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running; you need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training. And that’s the whole point of static stretches.

                                    Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                    More Tips on Stretching

                                    Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

                                    Read Next