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Published on October 25, 2018

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 on around how to shed excess fat and put on lean muscle. We applaud body transformation pictures we see on Instagram, Facebook, and magazine covers.

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

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

Before I outline the steps on how to lose fat and gain muscle, I want to highlight the social and personal benefits you’ll experience once you’ve reached the other side in hopes that it’ll motivate you keep going till you’ve reached your desired results.

Social and Personal Benefits of Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

1. Boosting Your Confidence and Social Capital

Aside from seeing changes in the mirror, a boost in confidence is the biggest change people experience when they start lifting weights.

Instead of using clothes to hide their bodies, they start dressing differently. They become more comfortable with putting on clothes that are the right size for them and show off their hard earned muscles.

Many of us go through a phase of social anxiety and extreme insecurity during our school years that follow us through adulthood. But when we start lifting weights, that feeling of self-consciousness disappears and we notice that people start treating us differently in a good way.

Increased Discipline to Reach Our Goals

Body transformations don’t happen overnight.

You don’t get results by eating well just once a day or going to the gym once a week. When you commit to the journey, you understand the importance of building the right habits and having the discipline to follow through.

It’s not about willpower, but having the focus to develop a consistent set of actions that will get you closer to your goals. Once a habit has been developed, they go on autopilot requiring little to no willpower.

Consistent discipline is something that gets developed over the journey and what all successful people have in common.

A Source of Stress Relief

For those who love to workout, the gym is considered a sanctuary and outlet for relieving stress.

One of the reasons I fell in love with lifting weights is because I can completely focus on one thing at a time and experience a state of flow. It’s the place where I get to focus just on me and how I feel, forgetting my life outside of the gym.

Working out is one of the best ways to relieve stress while improving your health after having a bad day. No one has ever said I regret working out!

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Aesthetics

The best part of this journey and usually the primary reason we started is so we can love what we see in the mirror again.

Flabby arms transform to strong defined arms and shoulders that we love to show off in tank tops. Our soft muffin top turns to a toned, firmed midsection that we can show off on the beach.

We start feeling amazing about our bodies again!

Lifting weights makes you feel attractive and feeling attractive makes you feel confident. For the first time we start identifying ourselves as strong and feel sexy as hell!

Skyrocket Your Metabolism to Lose Fat

The ability 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 eat in a caloric deficit; 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 your body fat decreases, your percent of lean muscle mass automatically goes up by default. You didn’t gain any muscle but your fat and muscle ratio percentages just 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. Check out the ones here and here . Usually cut about 10 to 15% of your TDEE calories to start the process.

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 that you’re getting the results you’re looking for and modify your calories if you’re not.

Metabolism calculators take into account four different ways your body burns calories to come up with your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or how many calories you burn in a day. The four different ways are your resting metabolic rate, the thermic effect of food, thermic effect of activity, and 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.[1]

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:

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  • Increasing protein in your diet automatically lowers your intake of other types of foods like processed carbs.
  • Protein increases satiety so you never feel like you’re deprived when cutting back and eating less calories.
  • The building blocks for your muscles are found in protein. Animal sources of protein are a more complete source of protein versus plant protein. A diet of only plant protein will require eating a large variety of sources to get the equivalent nutrients found in animal protein.
  • Protein has a high TEF. About 30% of the calories you eat from protein are burned off during the digestion process which includes absorption and waste removal of it. Eating more protein as oppose 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, an aerobics class, or 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.[2]

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 1 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 (we sleep for 8 hours).

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

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

Best Practices to Track Your Measurements

During your journey, you also want to have the right tools to measure your fat loss such as calipers or more accurately getting a DEXA scan.[3] Include body part measurements as well.

Regular measurements keep you motivated because it can be frustrating if you don’t notice any changes in the mirror at first.

Measurements also make sure that you don’t fall off course during your journey.

The Laws Of Building Muscle

Congrats of reaching the stage where you want to tone and get some definition!

First off, 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 you’re not active enough.

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

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

Consistency is the 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 a minimum of 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 6X a week unless you’re training for a competition.

Law #1 – 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.

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

But 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 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.

Law #2 – Training Intensity

Paying attention to what you’re doing is required if you want to 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 want to focus on improving the eccentric and concentric contractions which lead to small muscle tears that will rebuild to stronger muscles.

You know you’ve picked the right weight when the last 2-3 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 extra and pushing past the discomfort is the difference between an average body and body with more definition. Lifting almost to failure increases muscle recruitment, metabolic stress, and anabolic recruitment to grow muscles.

Law #3 – 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.

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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, possibly injury, and illness.

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

Get 7-8 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, down regulation of burning fat, and faster aging.

Law #4 – Stop Program Hopping

Everyday, 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 on whether you’re getting stronger or even getting results because you’re not allowing enough time for your body to adapt.

Strength and building muscle is a skill set that needs to be practiced consistently to make progress. If you don’t stick with it long enough, you don’t have enough data to track your progress. Without enough information, you cannot tell what is working and not working for your body.

Novice weightlifters are able to stick with the same program for many months before needing to change it by following Law #1 – Progressive Overload.

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 results you’re after! Stay on the path and keep working toward your goal until you reach your destination with results you’re after. You got this!

Featured photo credit: FitNish Media via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Weyer C et. Al. Determinants of energy expenditure and fuel utilization in man: effects of body composition, age, sex, ethnicity and glucose tolerance in 916 subjects. Int J. Obes Relat Metab Disord. (1999) 23(7);715-22.
[2] Donahoo WT et. Al. Variability in energy expenditure and its components. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. (2001) 7(6):599-605.
[3] NHS: DEXA Scan

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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.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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