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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.

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

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

More About Boosting Memory

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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